CPS 701: Introduction to Graduate Studies

Instructor: Kamesh Munagala 

   Fall Semester, 2014

The purpose of this course is to introduce you to research in computer science, and to your new roles as a graduate student and as a scientist/technologist. This course is required for all entering Ph.D. students in computer science.

Lectures:  1:25-2:40 pm on Wednesdays, LSRC D344

The email address cps701s@cs.duke.edu reaches everybody in the class as well as the instructor. Only announcements, questions/answers, and comments of general interests should be sent to this address. Specific questions should be directed to the instructor. Please check your emails regularly, as important announcements and information will be sent via email.

Some of the slides and links below are due to the previous DGS, Jun Yang.




Aug. 27
Graduate School Essentials
Sep. 3
Ron Parr, Chair


Sep. 10

Ph.D.  Requirements (sigh!!!)
On being a Scientist: Handling data, Skepticism, Reproducibility, Authorship, Conflicts


Sep. 17

Technical Writing (slides from MIT)
The Science of Scientific Writing

How to give good talks. See also this


Sep. 24

Student Presentations


Oct. 1

Jeff Chase
SAFE Logical Trust. Papers: This and this


Oct. 8

Benjamin Lee
Economic Mechanisms for Managing Risk in Heterogeneous Datacenters
Papers: This, this and this



Pankaj Agarwal
Oct. 22
Landon Cox
Dynamic information flow analysis
Oct. 29
Alex Hartemink
Nov. 5
Xiaobai Sun


Nov. 12

Jun Yang


Nov. 19

Student Presentations

Assignments:The Wednesday class meetings will consist of a combination of presentations by the instructor and guests, as well as discussions led by students. There will be (unscored) assignments and no exams. Grades are based on class participation and satisfactory completion of assignments.

You will be assigned material that you will have to read in advance, so that the discussion in class can be fruitful
. We will split the class into groups of  students each, and you can work on an assignment in a group. However, please write up the assignment independently of your group members.

General Note: Several faculty members helped me choose the papers below. I would encourage you to find examples from your own domain of expertise, and substitute them below!

Lecture 1: The following paper is one of the most highly cited in computer science. Other examples of high impact papers: *, *, *, *, *. Discuss what is it that makes these papers have such high impact?
Choose a paper (or set of papers) for Lecture 5; these can be from your own area of interest.

Lecture 3: The following two papers: * and * present different explanations of the same observed data. For another example, see this survey paper. An example of a paper that has generated controversy and made researchers rethink their approach is *. What can you learn from these papers that you can apply to your own research?

Lecture 4: The following are some examples of well-written papers: *, *, *. Discuss the techniques used by the authors to make their work widely accessible. 
Prepare your own webpage. In the least, include your resume on it.

Lecture 5: Present a 10 minute summary of a paper (or set of papers) you recently read. Why is the problem important? Why is the solution concept novel? What are further questions that can be asked? One or two slideswill help.

Lectures 6 - 12:  Prepare a one-page summary of the material presented in class, with critical emphasis on open questions and research directions. (choose any 4 lectures.)

Lecture 13: Present a 5 minute pitch on the research area you want to work on for the next year. How would you convey to a broad audience why the problem is important?

Additional Material: