CS 490 Design Exhibition

Spring 2017
Fridays 10:30 am - 1:10 pm
Robinson B 106

Course Description:

This course provides computer science majors with an opportunity to work on a semester-long project or research paper that is more substantial than the projects or papers assigned in other CS classes. To achieve this creative goal, students may work in teams or individually. CS faculty members can also serve as mentors of the project or research paper, and the effort will be coordinated by the course instructor.

Milestones throughout the semester must be met for successful completion of the course. These include submission of initial design specification documents, bi-weekly progress reports and presentations, development of assessment criteria to measure student success, final project/paper report with accompanying software artifacts, and a formal presentation of the project/research paper at the end of the semester.

For BS CS students, this course can be used as both a CS-related and CS-Senior elective. For ACS majors, this course can be used to satisfy the ACS CS 400-level course requirement for all concentrations.

Course Outcomes:

(1) Students will complete an original scholarly or creative project by:

    - articulating and refining a scholarly question by following ethical principles
    - choosing an appropriate discovery process for scholarly inquiry
    - gathering evidence appropriate to the question
    - applying scholarly conventions appropriate to inquiry and reporting
    - assessing the vailidy of key assumptions and evidence
    - and situating the inquiry within a broader context

(2) Students will communicate knowledge from an original scholarly or creative project


C or better in CS 321 (Software Engineering) and CS 483 (Analysis of Algorithms); two other CS 400-level courses; and senior standing. Students may also take this course with permission of the instructor.

Completion of CS 390 prior to taking this class is highly recommended.


Prof. Pearl Y. Wang
Computer Science Department
Office:  Nguyen Engineering - ENGR 4300
Phone:   703-993-1530
E-mail:   pwang at cs.gmu.edu
Office Hours (CS 490):   Fridays 9 am - 10:15 am;  other times available by appointment

Course Requirements & Grading:

Please note that students will only receive a final grade of C or better in this class if a project or the research paper is completed. Late coursework will not be accepted. The course grade is based on three components:
(1) Class participation: 20%
Bi-weekly progress reports, demos and/or presentations; attendance is mandatory.

(2) Deliverables: 60%

20% - Project design/research plan documents, including bi-weekly document revisions (see Timetable)

40% - A final project report including documented software and/or project-generated artifacts if a project is to be implemented. For a research paper, a final document that shows evidence of an original contribution that includes comparison to previous work in the literature must be submitted.

(3) Final presentation: 20%

Students in the class must give a final presentation of their projects to the public.
All coursework must be performed in accordance to Mason and CS Department Academic Integrity and Honor Code Policies at http://cs.gmu.edu/resources/honor-code/. These policies will be strictly enforced.
If you have a documented learning disability or other condition that may affect academic performance you should: (1) make sure this documentation is on file with the Office of Disability Services (SUB I, Rm. 4205; 993-2474; http://ods.gmu.edu/) to determine the accommodations you need; and (2) talk with the instructor to discuss your accommodation needs. All academic accommodations must be arranged through Disability Services.

Tentative Schedule:

Dates Topics Deliverables
 (Submit to MyMason) 
 Jan 27     Course Introduction & Project/Research Development Methods  Homework 0 
 (In Class) 
 Feb 3  Student Project/Research Plan:
 Short Proposal Description & Presentation
 Homework 1 
 Feb 10  Library Resources, Success Metrics, and Evaluation Criteria  
 Feb 17  Student Project/Research Plan:
 Design/Report Document & Presentation
 Homework 2 
 Feb 24  Evaluation/Feedback Discussions  
 Mar  3  Student Progress Report  Homework 3 
 Mar 10  "  
 Mar 17  Spring Break  
 Mar 24  Student Progress Report  Homework 4 
 Mar 31  "  
 Apr  7  Student Progress Report: Preliminary Demos  Homework 5 
 Apr 14  "  
 Apr 21  Practice Run: Presentation, Demo, and Results  Homework 6 
 Apr 28   "  
 May  5  Last class:
 Public Presentations & Demos (Part I)
 Final Reports
and Software
 May 12  Exam Week:
 Public Presentations & Demos (Part II)


Student privacy is governed by FERPA. Students must use their MasonLive email account to receive important University information, including communications related to this class. The instructor will not respond to messages sent from or send messages to a non-Mason email address.

Useful Student Resources:

Library Infoguide for CS 490
University Libraries (Ask a Librarian)
University Policies (See Mason Catalog- General Information)
GMU Academic Calendar
Student Support on Campus [Counseling, writing, career services, etc.]

Important Dates:

Last day to add:  January 30, 2017
Last day to drop: January 30, 2017 (no tuition penalty)
Final day to drop: February 24, 2017
Last day of selective withdrawal: March 31, 2017

Spring break: March 13 - 19, 2017
Last day of classes: May 6, 2017

Final Examination: May 12, 2017

Created: 18 January 2017
P.Y. Wang