Project Types

Your project can be of three types -- a literature survey, an implementation project or a research project.

For a literature survey project, you are expected to read a few papers on a coherent topic, and present an overview of the literature in the area. Some suggestions for papers and topics are provided below. Keep in mind that the papers provided below are seed papers, and in all likelihood, you would need to read more papers than those on the list for each topic. For literature survey projects, I expect you to form your own opinion of the existing work -- how the literature fits together, where the gaps are, and so on. During your presentation, I reserve the right to ask you questions from any of the papers that you read.

For an implementation project, you are expected to implement some machine-learning algorithms and apply them on some datasets, with a view towards connecting them to the underlying theory. For example, you could try to compare the performance of some algorithm against theoretical performance bounds, to see the extent to which they agree. A very good type of implementation project is to test whether certain assumptions commonly made in theoretical analysis, actually hold for actual data. You should also provide a list of datasets that you plan to use.

A research project involves theoretical research. You could decide to attack an existing research problem; in this case, I expect you to explain how current approaches to the problem fall short, and how you would like to overcome these shortcomings. Alternatively, you could also come up with a new model, presumably an extension of earlier models. In this case, you need to motivate your model, explain why the existing models are inadequate, and how your model overcomes the issues. Your ideas and your approach should be novel; I expect to see a section in your report and your talk on a literature search which indicates that your model or your approach has not been tried before.

Keep in mind that research projects can be very hard; while you do not have to produce new results, you should provide a list of approaches that you tried, motivate these approaches, and explain why they didn't work.

If you decide to do an implementation project or a theoretical research project, please make an appointment to see me as soon as possible.

Project Milestones

The project will be done in groups of two to four students. Your project group may be different from your homework group. The project will be graded based on a final report and an in-class presentation. There are four milestones associated with the project.

Project Ideas

Below are a list of topics, along with a couple of recent references on each. For more topic ideas, consult the recent proceedings of COLT, NIPS or ICML. For literature survery projects, I would expect you to read more papers than just these.

Classifiers that abstain

Privacy-preserving Classification

Distributed Machine Learning

Privacy and Streaming Computation

Contextual Bandits

Selective Sampling

Models of Clustering

Spectral Learning

MultiClass Classification