Digital transformation is the next step of the digital revolution: Information and Communication Technology (ICT), after having essentially been a means to optimize existing business processes, is becoming today the vector of profound transformations, even brutal disruptions. In addition, ICT being a market of innovation, today’s technological breakthroughs tend to become commodities very quickly, often in just a few years.
For this reason, being able to closely monitor,understand and critically assess innovations in computer science is an essential skill for any organisation or manager willing to keep up with its competitors, or even better, to get a competitive edge. Here however, merely reading executive summaries and professional journals reporting what other companies are doing is not enough, especially if one has the ambition to be the disruptor rather than the disrupted.
The goal of this course is precisely to address this challenge, by teaching students the basis of the computer science research methodology, i.e., how the research community in computer science is ideating, developing, testing and validating new ideas and concepts. Through this course, students will learn to identify and read relevant research papers with a critical view, to extract and understand key innovations from those papers and to evaluate the scope and validity of those innovations. This course is also an introduction to research in computer science for students who consider pursuing their curriculum with an academic master thesis and/or doctoral studies in ICT.
The course is structured around a set of fundamental questions related to computer science research and associated methodology, some of which are listed hereafter.
- What is research? Why do it in universities? What is the basis of the scientific method?
- What is specific about computer science research? What is its methodology?
- What is the notion of state of the art and why is it important in research?
- What is a scientific publication and what is the process to produce one?
- How is research in computer science evaluated? Where is it published?
- How is the computer science research community organized?
- What are some key research areas in computer science?
This course follows a seminar style.
First, the students will build up some fundamental knowledge about the research culture and methodology in general and about the research in computer science in particular. This will be done interactively by asking the students to gather information about those subjects before the class and by discussing and consolidating the related knowledge during the class. A collaborative document will result from this first knowledge-building phase.
Then, the students will be asked to put this knowledge into practice by reading and presenting actual research papers, chosen from a list of papers on key research areas in computer science. In doing so, they will have to put the paper into context, explain its contributions and assess its validation methods. Students are expected to elaborate their own understanding and critical view of the chosen paper, not to merely paraphrase it.
The course will take place every two weeks, in order to let students prepare the discussions and presentations that will structure the content of the course. Hereafter is a detailed schedule.
|Thursday||March 4, 2021||Zoom Session | 9:30 – 12:00|
|Thursday||March 18, 2021||Zoom Session | 9:30 – 12:00|
|Thursday||April 1st, 2021||Homework Submission|
|Thursday||April 15, 2021||Zoom Session | 9:30 – 12:00|
|Thursday||April 22, 2021||Zoom Session | 9:30 – 12:00|
|Thursday||May 6, 2021||Zoom Session | 9:30 – 12:00|
|Thursday||May 20, 2021||Zoom Session | 9:30 – 12:00|
An interest in ICT and basic knowledge of maths and computer science, e.g., algorithms and their complexity and basic statistics.
The evaluation is continuous, so there will be no final exam. The 5 points that a student can gather are distributed as follows:
- 1 point based on the participation of the student in the collaborative document resulting from the first knowledge-building phase,
- 4 points based on the oral/written presentations of research papers chosen by the student.