CMSC210 (Fall 2003) Mini Project
Due Dates

Phase 1: At the beginning of Module B evaluation workshop
 Phase 2: At the beginning of Module C evaluation workshop
 Completion: At the beginning of the final evaluation workshop
Background and Objective
Every computer scientist knows that discrete
math is an essential and extremely useful topic. However, due to its
mathematical nature, the learning process is often very dry. Many discrete
math instructors recognize this problem. In addition, many textbook
authors claim that their texts address this problem. Unfortunately,
very few texts actually demonstrate the usefulness of discrete math in a
way beginning students can be convinced. In this course, we try to
break this barrier. We have already discussed a few examples that demonstrate the usefulness
of discrete math for representing realworld problems. In this mini project,
you will find your own realworld problem that can be represented using
discrete math. By doing this project, you are expected to understand
the usefulness of discrete math and demonstrate your competency in this
topic.
Here are examples of mini projects from Fall 2002 (Example 1, Example 2) and Spring 2003 (Example 3, Example 4).
Note that the requirements for these semesters were different from
the ones for this semester. Thus, these examples will not get full credit under this semester's requirements.
Approach
This is not a project for which you spend a number of hours in the library.
Instead, you keep thinking about the topic for an extended period, while
doing laundry, doing an exercise, listening to music, etc., and try to think
whether your activity (physical/intellectual/spiritual) can be represented
by using discrete math. As soon as you have some idea, try to put it in writing.
Requirements/Instructions
Theme of this semester: Logical specification of a realworld object/phenomenon.
Phase 1
 Choose an object/phenomenon that interests you. Your project must be unique,
i.e., substantially different from the examples in class/exercises,
other students' projects, and the posted sample projects.
 If your object/phenomenon is not widely known, you must describe it so that any one can understand it.
 Informally describe the logicstructure connection involving the object/phenomenon, cf. examples discussed in class/exercises.
 There is no length
requirement. Your mini project must be wordprocessed (except for special symbols/diagrams/schematics,
if any). Note that most math symbols are available in the font "Symbol."
 Selfevaluation (must be included at the end of the submission):
Make sure that your submission satisfies the above requirements. Give
1 pt if it is the case, 0 pts if not.
Phase 2
 Your Phase 1 must be complete.
 Respond to the feedback of the instructor on Phase 1, if any.
 Formally define the structure of your object/phenomenon. Also try
to define the structure components as much as possible
 Write up your logical specification as clearly as possible. You
may use FirstOrder Logic formulae; but that is not required. However,
it would be good if you try this because that would force you to write up
your conditions clearly.
 Explain how the structure would satisfy the logical statements. Examine
whether unintended structures would also satisfy the logical statements.
 There is no length
requirement. Your mini project must be wordprocessed (except for special symbols/diagrams/schematics,
if any).
 Selfevaluation
(must be included at the end of the submission): Make sure that your submission
satisfies the above requirements. Give 1 pt if it is the case, 0 pts
if not.
Final report
 Your Phase 1 and 2 must be complete.
 Respond to the feedback of the instructor on Phase 2, if any.
 Technical requirements
 Theme: Your project demonstrates the logicstructure connection.
 Uniqueness: Your project must be unique.
 Complexity: Your problem must be reasonably complex. That
is, a problem that appears too simplistic may not receive full credit. On
the other hand, you may simplify a very complicated problem as long as you can justify the process.
If you are not sure about the complexity level, check with the instructor.
 Completeness: All the essential aspects of the problem must
be represented. If this becomes unreasonably complex, you may omit
certain aspects as long as you can justify the process. You must try to eliminate unintended structures.
 Correctness: Your project must be convincing and the use of discrete math must be correct.
 Connections:
You must compare your structure with others (e.g., those discussed
in class/exercises) with respect to similarities and differences.
 Clarity: Your project must be understandable by other students and the instructor.
 Your project must be your own work. Upon submission, you may be asked
questions (either oral or written) about your project. Be prepared
to answer questions.
 There is no pagenumber requirement (neither minimum nor maximum).
However, a single paragraph would probably be insufficient to deliver the
content required here. On the other hand, you do not need to write a
10page paper (this is not a full term paper). Your mini project must
be wordprocessed (except for special symbols/diagrams/schematics, if any).
 Selfevaluation (must be included at the end of the submission): Evaluate your work with respect to all of the above
requirements and include it at the end of your project. Assign a grade
between 3 and 0 depending on how well your project satisfies the above requirements.
Grading
The project grade consists of the following phases:
 Phase 1: 1 point based on whether all the requirements are met

Phase 2: 1 point based on whether all the requirements are met
 Final evaluation: 3, 2, 1, or 0 points based on the instructor's review of your selfevaluation
The total project grade is the sum of the above components. Since
this is a customized project, the grading criteria must be customized as
well. Even if your selfevaluation gives full credit, it is possible
that the instructor reviews it differently, based on the course standard.
In order to make sure that you can evaluate your work in accordance
to the course standard, you should discuss your project with the instructor
multiple times in a timely manner. You may rewrite your project as
many times as you wish until you receive the highest project grade, as long
as there is sufficient time for the instructor to grade and give feedback
(allow sufficient time to get feedback).
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