Spring 2016 CS543/ECE549 Projects

Proposals due March 12, progress reports due April 16, final reports due May 8

Rembrandt, The Alchemist in his Study, 1652

The goal of your project is to try something new and, perhaps, to contribute something to the field of computer vision. Most projects should be done individually or in groups of up to three people. Please contact Lana ASAP if you wish to work in a larger group. Feel free to use the "Search for Teammates" topic on Piazza to form teams. There is also a "project" tag for discussing project ideas. And of course, feel free to discuss your ideas with Lana or the TAs during office hours. Here are some ideas for getting started on projects:
  • Select a paper from the computer vision literature, implement and test the approach described in that paper.

  • Take some publicly available code, apply it to an interesting dataset and explore various extensions and modifications. You may also want to compare two or more systems. Merely running existing code on the data provided by the authors is not sufficient.

  • Design and implement a solution to a problem that interests you. It is fine to pick a problem related to your RA or dissertation research, but be sure to formulate a clear short-term goal and desired outcome for the class project. Ideally, you should use the class project as an opportunity to try new techniques that you might not consider or have a chance to use otherwise.

  • Find a competition or dataset on Kaggle.
For inspiration, you may want to take a look at the list of topics from the last several years of this class.

Proposal: due Monday, March 12, 11:59:59PM

Your proposal should consist of two to three pages and address each of the following:
  1. List of group members.
  2. Project description and goals: Describe the problem you plan to solve and give a basic outline of what you propose to implement. You can change later as you go along, but try to think this through as much as possible in advance. Identify the desired final outcome and pose maximum and minimum goals.
  3. Member roles: Indicate which project component each group member will be responsible for and how the group will interact.
  4. Resources: Specify what data you plan to use -- include examples of images and any required annotations. What is your implementation platform? Do you plan to use any outside code and how do you plan to build on it? Be specific and give pointers to all relevant resources.
  5. Reservations: Try to anticipate which part of the implementation or testing may prove the most difficult. Possible stumbling blocks shouldn't necessarily prevent you from attempting a more ambitious project, but you should make sure that you have a realistic "minimum" goal that can be accomplished.
  6. Relationship to your background: Describe how your proposed project relates to your background or level of knowledge. Which techniques, software packages, etc., are you already familiar with, and which ones will be new to you? If the project is related to your dissertation or RA work, describe the relationship and the amount of overlap. Grading of your project will be relative to your background. That is, we will take into account not only the absolute outcomes of your project, but how much new material you have had to master and how successfully you have mastered it.

The proposal in PDF format should be uploaded on Compass by one designated group member (but make sure that everybody's names are on the document). The proposal is not graded separately, but late submission will incur a 10% per day penalty on the final project grade.

Progress report: due April 16, 11:59:59PM

The progress report should be two-four pages and should contain the following:
  1. An updated statement of the project definition and goals. If there are any changes, discuss them specifically, together with the reasons for these changes.
  2. Current member roles and collaboration strategy. Who is responsible for what? How are the code and data shared/maintained? How does the group interact -- e.g., are there regularly scheduled meetings?
  3. Proposed approach in the form of a detailed outline, pseudocode, or prose description. Be specific about how you plan to implement each step with references, pointers to external code, etc. One or more references are required at this stage.
  4. Data: specific description, including number of images, type of images and annotations, URL (if applicable), etc. Examples of your actual data are required.
  5. Initial results: brief description of which steps (if any) from #2 above you have already implemented. As a minimum, you should have collected your data (or have the collection process well underway) and compiled and tested any external code.
  6. Current reservations and questions (if any).

The progress report should be uploaded on Compass by one designated group member (but make sure that everybody's names are on the document). The report will not receive a separate grade, but its content and quality will contribute holistically to the overall project grade at the end of the semester. Late submission will incur a 10% per day penalty on the final project grade.

Final report: due May 8, 11:59:59PM

The final report should be submitted in PDF format by one designated group member on Compass. It should be (the equivalent of) at least six pages (single-spaced, 10 point font) and mimic the style of a research paper. Here is an outline to follow for the report:
  1. Introduction: Define and motivate the problem, discuss background material or related work, and briefly summarize your approach.
  2. Details of the approach: Include any formulas, pseudocode, diagrams -- anything that is necessary to clearly explain your system and what you have done. If possible, illustrate the intermediate stages of your approach with results images.
  3. Results: Clearly describe your experimental protocols. If you are using training and test data, report the numbers of training and test images. Be sure to include example output figures. Quantitative evaluation is always a big plus (if applicable). If you are working with videos, put example output on YouTube or some other external repository and include links in your report.
  4. Discussion and conclusions: Summarize the main insights drawn from your analysis and experiments. You can get a good project grade with mostly negative results, as long as you show evidence of extensive exploration, thoughtfully analyze the causes of your negative results, and discuss potential solutions.
  5. Statement of individual contribution: Required if there is more than one group member.
  6. References: including URLs for any external code or data used.
In addition to the report, please submit a zip file of your source code. We are looking for only the most important code that you wrote yourself for the project, not any external libraries. We do not plan to run the code, but want to see it to be able to verify that you actually did the work you claim to have done.


Grades will be based on the quality of the project (originality, thoroughness, extent of analysis, etc.) and the clarity of the written report and presentation. Ideally, you will try something new or apply ideas from class to your domain or research. More will be expected of larger groups. You can still get a good grade if your ideas do not work out, as long as your presentation and report show evidence of extensive analysis and exploration, and provides thoughtful explanations of the observed outcomes.