Research Seminar in Computer Science
CS 384/694-01 • Fall 2015 • 1 Credits

In this course, students will explore research topics in Computer Science. Students will read academic papers, independently learn tools and technologies related to the area, present research findings, lead tutorials on relevant tools, and participate in group discussion.

The research topic for Fall 2015 will be data visualization. Topics include, but are not limited to: techniques, perception, evaluation, design, and interaction. The course may also cover other research-related topics such as how to read an academic paper, how to prepare a curriculum vitae, and how to be successful as a student researcher.


Thursdays 2:40pm to 3:55pm
Lo Schiavo Science, Room 307


Sophie Engle
sjengle@cs.usfca.eduHarney Science Center, Room 531/532

Office Hours:
Mondays 5:00pm to 6:30pm, Thursdays 1:00pm to 2:30pm
and by appointment


You must be a graduate student -or- have completed CS 112 Introduction to Computer Science II with a grade of C or better.

Required Materials

There are no required books or materials for this class. However, students are encouraged to bring laptops to class if they have them.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand how to read academic papers in Computer Science.

  • Prepare and deliver a presentation demonstrating understanding of a paper, new tool, or piece of technology.

  • Analyze results and shortcomings of others' work in group discussion.

Students are expected to attend class every week, complete participation exercises and actively participate in discussion, and deliver at least one presentation or lead one discussion during the semester.

Time Requirements

This is a 1 credit course. Lectures will be approximately 50 to 75 minutes long, and will primarily consist of instructor-lead discussions on one or more papers related to the research topic. Students should spend approximately 2 hours per week outside of class reading papers, preparing paper summaries, or preparing presentations.

Grade Requirements

Undergraduate students enrolled in CS 384 will receive a P (Passing) or F (Failing) letter grade. Graduate students enrolled in CS 694 will receive an A, B, C, or F letter grade. The breakdown is as follows:

CS 384 CS 694 Requirements
P A (4.0)
  • Must meet the requirements of a B letter grade, and....
  • Must deliver at least one presentation or lead one discussion.
P B (3.0)
  • Must meet the requirements of a C letter grade, and....
  • Must actively participate in class discussions.
P C (2.0)
  • Must not have more than 2 unexcused absences, and...
  • Must not have more than 2 incomplete participation assignments.
F F (0.0)
  • Fail to meet the above requirements.

Please note that +/– letter grades will not be assigned, and graduate students may not receive a D letter grade (in any class).

Attendance Requirements

Students are expected to attend all lectures and arrive on-time. Students that exceed more than 2 unexcused absences throughout the semester will fail the course.

Participation Requirements

Students are expected to actively participate in class discussions. To help facilitate these discussions, students must read one paper per week and prepare a brief summary describing that paper. These assignments are due before the start of class each week.

Presentation Requirements

To receive an A letter grade, graduate students must prepare at least one 30 minute presentation on a paper, tool, or technology related to data visualization, or lead at least one of the scheduled 60 minute paper discussions. Students that wish to complete this requirement must consult with the instructor to have a topic and date approved.

Undergraduate students are also welcome to complete this requirement to make up missed lectures or incomplete assignments.

The following are the policies specific to this course. The policies for this class are strict, but students concerned about their grades are welcome to inquire about extra credit opportunities.

Late Submissions

It the responsibility of the student to turn in assignments before (not at or after) the deadline provided. Late assignments will not be graded.

Exceptions to this policy are made only in the case of verifiable medical or family emergency. Extensions must be arranged prior to the original deadline unless in case of extreme emergency (such as an emergency room visit).

Honor Code Violations

All students are expected to know and adhere to the Academic Honor Code of the University of San Francisco. See the "University Policies" section in this syllabus for more information.

You must never represent another person's work as your own. Examples of violations include (but are not limited to): copying and pasting text without attribution from a paper or the web, copying from another student, and having anyone other than yourself complete your assignments. It also includes working too closely with another student. Unauthorized collaboration or discussion that results in the same or very similar submissions indicates that you have not placed enough independent work into your submission and is a violation of the honor code.

Flagrant or repeat violations of the honor code will result in an F in the course, a report to the Academic Integrity Committee (AIC), and a report to the Dean. At the discretion of the instructor, a less severe penalty may be imposed for minor or first offenses. This is at the sole discretion of the instructor and any violation may result in an F in the course.

The following policies apply to all students at the University of San Francisco. Visit the General Catalog at for more information.

Academic Integrity

As a Jesuit institution committed to cura personalis—the care and education of the whole person—USF has an obligation to embody and foster the values of honesty and integrity. USF upholds the standards of honesty and integrity from all members of the academic community. All students are expected to know and adhere to the University's Academic Honor Code. Visit for the full text of the honor code.

The policy includes standards of "honesty and integrity" that cover cheating, plagiarism, and academic fraud. This includes the use of unauthorized materials, participating in unauthorized collaboration, copying without attribution work from the web or elsewhere, sharing your work without authorization on the web or elsewhere, and in any way representing the work of others as one's own.

Visit for more details. The course-specific penalties for violating the academic honor code are described in the "Course Policies" section of this syllabus.

Student Conduct

All students are expected to behave in accordance with the Student Conduct Code and other University policies.

Open discussion and disagreement is encouraged when done respectfully and in the spirit of academic discourse. There are also a variety of behaviors that, while not against a specific University policy, may create disruption in this course. Students whose behavior is disruptive or who fail to comply with the instructor may be dismissed from the class for the remainder of the class period and may need to meet with the instructor or Dean prior to returning to the next class period. If necessary, referrals may also be made to the Student Conduct Process for violations of the Student Conduct Code.

Please visit the Office of Student Conduct, Rights, and Responsibilities (OSCRR) at or the Student Handbook at for more information.

Mandatory Reporting

As an instructor, one of my responsibilities is to help create a safe learning environment on our campus. I also have a mandatory reporting responsibility related to my role as a faculty member. I am required to share information regarding sexual misconduct or information about a crime that may have occurred to a USF student with the University. Here are other resources:

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Tuition Reversal

Students who wish to have the tuition charges reversed on their student account should withdraw from the course(s) by the end of the business day on the last day to withdraw with tuition credit (census date) for the applicable course(s) in which the student is enrolled.

Please note that the last day to withdraw with tuition credit may vary by course. The last day to withdraw with tuition credit (census date) listed in the Academic Calendar is applicable only to courses which meet for the standard 15-week semester. To find what the last day to withdraw with tuition credit is for a specific course, please visit the Online Class Schedule.

Visit or call (415) 422-2020 for more information.

The following are general resources available to students at the University of San Francisco. For more information, please contact the relevant office.

Student Disability Services

If you are a student with a disability or disabling condition, or if you think you may have a disability, please contact Student Disability Services (SDS) within the first week of class, or immediately upon onset of disability, to speak with a disability specialist. If you are determined eligible for reasonable accommodations, please meet with your disability specialist so they can arrange to have your accommodation letter sent to the instructor.

Visit or call (415) 422-2613 for more information.

Learning and Writing Center

The Learning and Writing Center (LWC) provides assistance to all students in pursuit of academic success. Peer tutors provide regular review and practice of course materials in the subjects of Math, Science, Business, Economics, Nursing and Languages. Other content areas can be made available by student request. Log-on to TutorTrac at to schedule an appointment. Students may also take advantage of writing support provided by Rhetoric and Language Department instructors and academic study skills support provided by Learning Center professional staff.

Visit or call (415) 422-6713 for more information.

Counseling and Psychological Services

The diverse staff at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers brief individual, couple, and group counseling to student members of our community. CAPS services are confidential and free of charge. Call (415) 422-6352 for an initial consultation appointment. Having a crisis at 3am? CAPS is still there for you. Telephone consultation through CAPS After Hours is available between the hours of 5:00pm to 8:30am; call the above number and press 2.

Visit or call (415) 422-6352 for more information.