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 --- and submit written reports. This course provides no credit, but all PhD students are required to enroll in this course for two semesters.
Admission to CS PhD program.
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. This course is mandatory for PhD students, but carries zero (0) credit hours.
Required number of seminars. The seminars are in a wide range of subjects, and are usually offered in the middle of the day (the starting time is usually between 10:00 am and 3:00 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. We have set the number of required seminars for Spring 2022 at eight (8).
Eligible seminars. This is a computer science course, and generally only computer science seminars are eligible. Seminars offered by other departments generally are not acceptable unless they appear in the list of approved seminars, and exceptions should be authorized in advance (send the instructor an e-mail). In general, the eligible seminars will be given by accomplished researchers (CS PhD defenses are eligible). The bottom line is that the seminar is eligible only if it appears in the approved seminar list.
Procedure. During the Spring 2022 semester, we are expecting that some
seminars will be organized in-person, while some others will be
online (unfortunately we have no way of knowing how many will be
online and in-person in advance; because those will be determined by the
organizers considering multiple factors, including the university's
pandemic-related restrictions at the event time).
You have to
attend at least eight (online or in-person) seminars during the
There is a list of attended seminars form that you can download (either in pdf or MS Word format) from the Contents area on the Blackboard. For every seminar you attend and summarize, put the relevant information on the list of attended seminars. At the end of the semester you will have to submit the list of attended seminars form along with all the seminar reports to the instructor.
On the list of attended seminars form, there is a line for "Organizer's Signature". If the seminar is held in-person, you have to get the organizer's signature on that field at the end of the seminar. That will be your proof of attendence for in-person seminars. IMPORTANT: You have to follow university's safety guidelines during the pandemic when attending in-person seminars. In addition, it is expected that in-person seminars will have additional restructions, such as limiting the number of attendees and requiring RSVPs. Make sure to follow those rules when attending the in-person seminars.
For online seminars, simply put "Virtual" on the signature field. At the online seminar time, make sure that you connect to the virtual meeting using your full name, including first name and last name (for instance do not use "M. Smith" instead of "Michael Smith"). This is important for us in order to check attendance. Lastly, regardless of whether the talk was online or in-person, you must prepare a report summarizing the talk -- see below for details.
IMPORTANT: You can include a seminar in your list of attended seminars from and summarize it only if you attend a seminar (almost) in its entirety. If you are late to a seminar due to unforeseen circumstances by more than 10 minutes, you should not include it in your end-of-semester reports. Failure to follow this simple rule will be considered as an Honor Code Violation, and the Honor Code Violation procedures will be initiated without any exception.
Reports. At the end of the semester, in addition to the list of attended seminars, each student must submit brief reports of all eight (8) seminars attended. Each report should be between 400 and 500 words. It should summarize the subject of the seminar in no more than 100 words. The rest (300-400 words) should be personal review: What were the strong and/or weak points of the research and the presentation; how in your opinion it could be applied; how it could be expanded; etc. Reports must be typed and written in a professional style. In order to have a passing grade, you must attend eight seminars in their entirety and also submit reports about all eight at the end of the semester.
Each report should include the title of the talk, the name of the speaker, the date of the talk, in addition to the summary and personal evaluation/review sections. Keep in mind that the bulk of each report (at least 300-400 words) should be your evaluation; the summary should be limited to 100 words. Submitting a report that violates those requirements will make it invalid; and as a result you may receive an unsatisfactory grade. Before submitting your reports at the end, verify the compliance with these requirements.
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!
CS Web Site. The CS web site lists upcoming seminars and events at http://cs.gmu.edu/events, which may be consulted for upcoming events. However, recall that the event must appear in the approved seminar list to be eligible for CS 800.
Blackboard site. On the CS 800 Blackboard site you will find additional announcements, the attendance form (in both pdf and MS Word format), and a list of all the seminars that have been approved so far.
Email. We will be sending our messages to the GMU address that you were assigned. It is your responsibility to check this mailbox periodically, and to ensure that mail is not rejected due to exceeded quotas.
A link to the current approved list of seminars can be found in the Blackboard's content area.