For the course project, you will work in teams (see Teams below). The goal of the project is to identify, design, and implement a research project that studies a relevant research problem in data privacy or privacy-aware computing (see Project Ideas below). The relevance of the selected research problem is determined based on

  • Related to the topics covered in class
  • Have the potential for substantial research and technical contributions
  • Completable by the end of the quarter (in under 10 weeks)

There are many opportunities for feedback on the projects throughout the quarter (see Deliverables below) and students are expected to make good use of them.


Create your own teams of 2-3 students. Working alone or in groups of >3 is generally discouraged; however, I (i.e., your instructor) may allow certain exceptions depending on the situation. Everyone on your team will get the same project grade. Your final report (see Deliverables below) should include a section called Individual Contributions that describes what each team member did. Please reach out to me if your group is having problems with the distribution of work in the chosen project.

Project ideas

I encourage you to choose a topic of interest, read a few related papers, and think of possible extensions. If there’s a topic that interests you in your own research, feel free to build it into your project! To help you get started, here are some high level project ideas.

  • Analyzing a dataset for privacy leakages
  • Designing a policy model for a scenario and building a simulator based on it
  • Studying a privacy regulation article in detail and formalizing compliance
  • Developing a website for showcasing a privacy technique
  • Developing privacy-aware computing workflows
  • Extending a research paper
  • Implementing an existing research project in another language
  • Testing a research tool with a different dataset
  • Reproducing results from a research paper
  • Analyzing a website/mobile app/smart device and identifying privacy concerns
  • Survey of privacy research papers
  • Survey of privacy tools


Please see the class schedule for when each of these are due. Submit them by due dates for consideration for full points. The percentage grades in brackets next to each deliverable are based on the total grade of the class.

Team information (2%)

Complete this Google sheet(requires you to be logged with your PSU email account to access it) with team members, team name (optional), and tentative project idea (optional).

Project proposal with discussion (8%)

A short presentation (3-5 slides) with the following information

  • Introduction and motivation of the research project
  • Any relevant prior work
  • Brief description of the planned approach (including details of datasets, tools etc.)

Each group will present in the class for 2-3 minutes and will answer questions regarding the research project. Upload the presentation the midnight before the day of presentation.

Mid-quarter Report (10%)

The mid-quarter report should between 2-4 pages and include a more concrete definition of the project and describe the progress your team has made since the proposal. You can also outline any of the challenges identified and your plans to address them. The report should contain the following sections

  • Problem Motivation
  • Related Work (partial, complete it for the final report)
  • Challenges identified
  • Objectives of the project
  • Approach along with implementation plan
  • Tools and Methods
  • Preliminary results (if any)

The report should be written in LaTeX (Learn LaTeX in 30 minutes) and the generated PDF should be uploaded to Canvas. I recommend you use Overleaf for this purpose. You can use the template used for Proceedings on VLDB Conference. The report will be graded for completeness, correctness, clarity of expression, and grammatical accuracy.

Final presentation (15%)

The final presentation should be between 15-20 minutes in length followed by 3-5 minutes of questions and discussion. The talk should follow a similar format to that of presenting a research paper. Upload the presentation the midnight before the day of presentation.

Final report (25%)

The final report should be between 4-8 pages and should include all the sections that are common in a research paper.

  • Title with authors
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Related Work
  • Overview
  • Approach
  • Results
  • Discussion of limitations
  • Challenges and opportunities for future work
  • Conclusion
  • Individual Contributions

Similar to midterm report, this should be written in LaTeX too.

Note: You are encouraged to expand the project into a publishable research paper beyond the class but the final report has to be submitted according to the timeline above.

This project document is inspired by the Project Guidelines in CSE 582: Ethics in Artificial Intelligence.