The project should be a roughly 20 page/per person research paper. You can work in groups of as many as three. Larger groups are not possible without extensive and extremely persuasive lobbying. Do you really want to manage an 80-page paper spread among four people? Papers with a technical/programming component are welcome, but they are not required. A substantial technical component can count for up to half of the "page" requirement, so a 3-person tem with a substantial programming component would be accompanied by a 30 page paper (not including programming documentation.) The page-length specification is a guideline, not a requirement.
The guidelines for projects from MIT course 6.805 are useful for us to, they state (in part, see their web page for details)
The final paper should be a substantial piece of work, not only in length, but also in quality. However, we'll judge the papers by their quality, not their length.
We expect to see high-quality work with good writing, thoughtful commentary, and clear themes.
We are certainly interested in your opinions and ideas. But you should treat this paper as research and analysis, not just venting or making unsubstantiated assertions. On the other hand, we do expect you to have opinions and a point of view on your topic -- not to just write a book report or a summary of what other people have said.
Your paper should have a thesis, i.e., an idea, claim, or argument that you are putting forward and defending in the paper. We expect that your paper will start out by stating the thesis in the first one or two paragraphs, and that you will proceed to support the thesis in a focused and coherent way.
Your group should be prepared to make a five minute presentation on what your project is about. This is a high-level description, not a detailed outline. The audience should know what it is you're trying to analyze and should be able to judge the scope of your analysis. You will turn in one-to-three pages that corresponds to your presentation and what you're doing.
You must submit a final, draft version of your final paper by the beginning of class on Wednesday, April 26.
Groups may submit a final version of the paper by 9:00 pm on Sunday, April 30. No papers will be accepted after this time without a severe penalty, see below. Please email your paper and all supporting documents to Prof. Astrachan as one email with attachments, or with the documents in a zip file as one attachment.
Final projects/papers are due Sunday evening. I'll be checking email until 11:59 pm Sunday. Papers arriving after 9:00 pm and before midnight will get a raised eyebrow, but no other penalty. Papers arriving between 11:59 Sunday and 11:59 Monday will earn a + penalty, so an A turns into B+, B+ turns into B. Papers received by 2:00 pm on Tuesday will receive a full letter grade penalty. After 2:00 pm papers will not be accepted.
Any topics can be proposed
You could look at WIPO, our patent office and policy and examine differences. You could look at the issues surrounding the recent kerfuffle about Google and censorship in China. Other aspects of Globalization are possible.
Survey digital watermarking, web-based copyright-infringment protection based on watermarking. Survey anonymity tools. Perhaps using Infranet as a starting point, analyze censorship, anonymity tools, and steganography. Deploy Infranet and/or analyze it's strengths and weaknesses.
See the TOR site for details. TOR is based on onion routing and allows for anonymous Internet communication. There's also an effort to make TOR usable, e.g., by developing front-ends for it.
Architectures and Languages for DRM, e.g., XrML, ODRL, OASIS, See XML Coverpages as one jumping-off, starting-off point.
For example, see the project from 2001, MIT 6.805.
The MIT paper is a good overview and survey paper, but the authors didn't use (or build) the tools they discuss. It's also certainly dated at this point.
Peer-to-Peer systems are everywhere, and Bittorrent and related systems account for a large percentage of all Internet-traffic (according to some). How easy is Bittorrent to use? Can you envision a Why Johnny Can't Download? paper? Are p2p systems worth analyzing or discussing?