DCS860A Emerging Information Technologies

Instructor: Chuck Tappert   Email: ctappert@pace.edu   Website   SurveyMonkey

This course covers a variety of emerging information technology topics selected so as not to duplicate topics from the concurrent seminars or from the first year's course material. Topics covered typically include the technological life cycle, pervasive computing, small computing devices (handheld and wearable computers), communicating with machines in human modalities (voice, handwriting, and natural language applications), wireless communication, security informatics with emphasis on biometrics, and pattern recognition. The course goals are to understand the technological life cycle, the emerging information technologies, their issues and potential impact, and to write a team project proposal (basically a dissertation proposal) and an individual research paper (for example, the background material or an extended idea paper for a dissertation) relating to an emerging information technology. Although we cover many topics, each year we emphasize some more than others, and this year's emphasis and textbooks are on biometrics and natural language processing.

An extensive course Website presents the course information: course requirements and grading system, current grades, syllabus, negotiated options, student and team information, and links to websites, to papers in PDF, and to related conferences.

This course provides many opportunities to learn about the emerging information technologies, and particularly those areas requiring further research that could become a dissertation topic. The guest speakers will bring you to the frontier of current work in their areas of expertise and present possibilities for further work. The course assignments also provide other opportunities to investigate topics for potential dissertation work.

Guide to Biometrics, Bolle, et al., Springer (2004), ISBN 0387400893
Speech and Language Processing, Jurafsky and Martin, Prentice (2000), ISBN 0130950696

Other recommended but not required books

Classroom etiquette: please turn cell phones off during class time.

Graded Events and Grade Scale

Student evaluations are based on the following graded events and grade scale. Note that the possible points attainable exceeds the 100% level of 1000 points.

Ten quizzes (each with 20 minute time limit) are to be taken via Blackboard. The quizzes are designed not only to check that you read the assignments but, more importantly, to increase your capability to quickly process and comprehend IT material. The student receiving the highest quiz score total will receive a prize at the end of the semester.

The team assignment is any appropriate team deliverable related to emerging information technologies. The usual deliverable is in the form of a 10-20 page Word-for-Windows document, and each team member should spend about 10 hours on this assignment. For this assignment the references should be in alphabetical order by first author and numbered sequentially, per the DPS dissertation format (see link to the Dissertation Guide on the "Dissertation" page of the DPS internal website).
   One possibility for the deliverable is a proposal for government funding that relates to emerging information technology. A proposal for funding is basically the same as a dissertation proposal so this will give you practice with proposal writing as a team, which may be easier than writing one individually. This assignment may also uncover topics and ideas for dissertations. For details see Team Project Proposal, and for example proposal papers from the class of 2006 see Wearable Computers and Automobile Recognition.
   Since basically all DPS dissertations are related to emerging information technologies, another possibility is a team-generated dissertation idea paper or proposal, where a dissertation proposal is an expanded idea paper. This will also give you practice with proposal writing as a team. For other possibilities, please obtain instructor's approval.

The individual research paper focuses on an emerging information technology topic. It is submitted in the form of a 10-20 page Word document. To prepare you for your dissertation writing, this paper must use the DPS dissertation format (see link to the Dissertation Guide on the "Dissertation" page of the DPS internal website); for example, the references must be in alphabetical order by first author and numbered sequentially. You should spend at least 20 hours on this assignment. The purpose of this assignment is to give you the learning experience of researching a topic and writing a technical paper with appropriate references. Perhaps more importantly, the research paper could serve as material for a dissertation, be expanded into a dissertation, or get you started to think about dissertation possibilities. Ideally, you should design the research paper to be related to your dissertation -- for example, an extended idea paper, a proposal, or a start on the early chapters (background, state-of-the-art, etc.) of your dissertation. If you are having difficulty finding a suitable topic for your research paper, see Research Paper Possibilities or Suggested Research Topics.

There are a number of possible instructor negotiated options. The purpose of these options is to provide an opportunity for students to obtain additional points to improve their grade. These options allow students to pursue topics of their interest and to do so in the manner of their choosing. Possibilities include: product evaluation, highlights from a conference, short research paper/project/presentation, etc. Option items are to be negotiated with your instructor. While most negotiated options are individual, they can also be two-person options, team options, etc., but the more people involved the better the expected product. The negotiated option points are limited to 100 points per individual.

Incompletes: in order to be fair to those students who complete the course in a timely manner, my policy is to reduce the grade of those students taking an incomplete by a letter grade for each semester, or portion thereof, that the incomplete is in effect.

Graded Events
Event Possible points per person
Quizzes (10 * 20 points) 200 points (min 100)
Team Project Proposal 300 points (min 200)
Individual Research Paper 500 points (min 400)
Instructor Negotiated Options variable (max 100)
Totals max 1100 points

Grade Scale
1000 points = 100%
Grade Assigned Score Definition
A  93-100% 930 or more points Dominates the Material
A-  90-93% 900-929 points Masters the Material
B+  87-90% 870-899 points Good Understanding
with Flashes of Stellar Work
B  83-87% 830-869 points Good Understanding
B-  80-83% 800-829 points Aptitude for the Subject
Less than 80%
below 800 points Weak for Graduate Work