George Mason University

Department of Computer Science

CS-800: Computer Science Colloquium

Fall 2009 --- Prof. Ami Motro

This course introduces PhD students to research topics in computer science. Students are required to attend colloquia including talks by distinguished guest speakers, faculty candidates, and Mason faculty. This course can be taken twice for credit.


Admission to CS PhD program.

  1. Orientation meeting. This class is listed as meeting on Friday 1:30-4:15 in ST1-122. However, this is only a GMU formality. We shall only meet once - this Friday, September 4. The purpose of this meeting is to introduce ourselves, to explain how this course works, and to answer all your questions. The meeting will start at 1:30 and will last about 30 minutes. Please make every effort to attend.

  2. CS-800 is a required course. The Computer Science Department considers attending research seminars an important part of your doctoral studies, and it thus requires every PhD student to attend research seminars, by enrolling in its colloquium course, CS-800, for two semesters.

  3. Required number of seminars. CS-800 is a 1 credit-hour course, and thus requires you to attend a 1 hour seminar each week, for a total of 14 research seminars. The seminars are in a wide range of subjects, and are usually offered in the middle of the day (the starting hour is usually between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm). The frequency is not regular: in some weeks there may be 2 or even 3 offerings, whereas in other weeks there may be no seminars at all. But overall, there should be sufficient offerings to meet the minimum requirement. Making allowances for two occasions in which a student will not be able to attend for personal reasons, I have set the number of required seminars for Fall 2009 at twelve (12).

  4. Eligible seminars. This is a computer science course, and only computer science seminars are eligible. Seminars offered by other departments generally are not acceptable, and exceptions should be authorized in advance. In general, the eligible seminars will be given by accomplished researchers (i.e., seminars given by graduate students are not eligible).

  5. Procedure. You should print the attached attendance form. During the course of the semester you will receive periodic notifications of upcoming seminars. Each notice will include the name of a faculty member who is hosting the seminar. If you choose to attend, you should present the attendance form at the end of the seminar to this faculty member for a signature. At the end of the semester, I will collect the attendance sheets. A passing grade will be awarded to students who attended the minimum number of seminars.

  6. Start early. Because of the irregular frequency of seminar offerings, you are strongly encouraged to start attending seminars as early as possible, so that you will not find yourself in shortage of seminars at the end of the semester!

  7. Web calendar. The CS web site maintains a calendar of events and seminars, which may be consulted for upcoming events.

  8. Final words You should use this colloquia series to help you choose a research area, or to expand your knowledge in your chosen research area, or simply to keep in touch with recent developments in computer science. You might also learn good presentation techniques. Don't be discouraged if you are not able to understand every detail of a presentation; even experienced researchers are sometimes "lost" in a difficult and unfamiliar subject. Yet, undoubtedly your research experience will be enriched.