DCS860A Emerging Information Technologies I

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

The Emerging Information Technologies two-semester course sequence presents a variety of topics not fully covered in the other DPS course material. The basic materials covered in the first course (book readings and most quizzes) are chosen by the instructor, with additional topics presented by the teams and the guest speakers. The basic materials covered in the second course (readings and most quizzes) are chosen by the students to increase the diversity of topics and to better align them with student interests, with additional topics covered in presentations by the guest speakers. In covering these materials and in all presentations, many dissertation research possibilities will be mentioned.

Topics covered this semester 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, biometrics, and pattern recognition. The course goals are to understand the technological life cycle, to learn about the emerging information technologies, their issues and potential impact, and to become aware of various dissertation research possibilities. Although we cover many topics, each year we emphasize some more than others, and this year's emphasis and textbooks are on biometrics and text entry systems.

An extensive course Website presents the course information: course requirements and grading system, syllabus, negotiated options, student and team information, current grades, and links to Blackboard, to external 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 bring you to the frontier of current work in their areas of expertise and present possibilities for further work. The course assignments also provide opportunities to investigate topics for potential dissertation work.

Guide to Biometrics, Bolle, et al., Springer 2004, ISBN 0387400893
Text Entry Systems, ed. MacKenzie and Tanaka-Ishii, Morgan Kaufmann 2007, ISBN 0123735912

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 30 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, for a recent actual proposal see Microsoft Tablet PC Proposal - Nov 2006, and for some 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.

Five presentation evaluations allow you to develop critical evaluation skills. We usually have about ten presentations on a variety of topics during the semester, roughly two in each of our five Saturday sessions. About half of these will come from outside speakers. Some of these speakers might be researchers from local companies, such as IBM, who will talk about their research or the research of their group. Some might be Pace University professors who will talk about their research interests. And others are former or current DPS students who will talk about their dissertation research. The remaining presentations will come from your instructor. Your task in this assignment is to critically evaluate five of these presentations by completing the Evaluation Form. Although not limited to a single page, an evaluation should not exceed three pages. A tentative list of presentations follows:

  1. Session 1: Dr. Tappert's presentation on the technological life cycle, Kurzweil's Law of Accelerating Returns, and related dissertation ideas (this sequence of topics is considered one presentation)
  2. Session 2: Dr. Nalini Ratha's presentation on Biometrics
  3. Session 2: Dr. Tappert's presentation on the relationship between research and projects, and some dissertation possibilities
  4. Session 3: Dr. Mary Villani's presentation on her dissertation on Keystroke Biometric Identification Studies
  5. Session 3: Dr. Tappert's presentation on Pattern Recognition and related dissertation ideas
  6. Session 4: Dr. Li-Chiou Chen's presentation on her areas of Security Research
  7. Session 4: Alex Tsekhansky's presentation on his ongoing dissertation research
  8. Session 4: Dr. Tappert's presentation on Online Handwriting Recognition, Pen Computing, and Shorthand Alphabets; and related dissertation ideas
  9. Session 5: Dr. Ron Frank's presentation on Quantum Cryptography and Computing

Finally, there are a number of possible instructor negotiated options. The purpose of these options is to provide additional opportunities for students to expand their knowledge and to obtain additional points for improving 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 50 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
Five Individual Presentation Evaluations 500 points (100 each)
Instructor Negotiated Options variable (max 50)
Totals max 1050 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