Do I have to read every Slack post?
There are relatively few posts in Slack, typically much less than 10 per week. If you were taking a live class I am sure you get also 10+ tips and comments from the instructors. Slack is a mechanism for us to communicate to the entire online class.
Use SLack to discuss things. You can also use it to discuss issues in your projects with other class mates openly.
I see something mssing or wrong in this FAQ. How can I correct or add it?
If you see something missing that we shoudl add, please edit this web page and create a pull request with your changes:
Where to get help?
Please use Slack.
Do I have to work weekly on the project?
Please plan to set aside a significant time every week for your project. We include your weekly progress in the grade. This is because you will fail if you do not set sufficient time aside and start your project in the week before the deadline.
When are updates due?
Updates are due every week from the time that the project has been announced. The updates will be committed by you to github.com. TAs will be reviewing your updates The weekly progress will be check by the TA’s while looking at the GitHub insights page.
TAs or instructors may make comments to your repository. It is your responsibility to make sure to stay in sync with the content in the repo. Best is to use a tool such as a command line tool or a GUI tool to stay in sync with the repo.
How do I define a project?
Please take a look at the class content and select a topic that interests you. Your project needs to be related to big data and provide an analysis of the data. You may choose a topic that is only explained later on in class. In this case, you can explore the topic ahead of time before it is explained in class. Previous class material is posted for all topics. If you have a question, work with the TA’s and instructors.
Please remember this is not just an AI class to demonstrate a specific AI method. Your project must have a section or an explanation of how your project relates or could relate to big data.
However, it is not required to use a huge dataset for this class.
The class has also the ability to do projects related to cloud infrastructure. In that case, please contact Gregor directly to assess if you have enough qualifications and can succeed in the project.
The following is the best structure for your project
project/project.md# your project report. This is a must.
project/project.bib# your project bib file if you use jabref
project/plan.md# for final submission move your Plan section here
project/images# place all images in this directory
Move your python code or notebooks here.
Your project must not have (large) data in GitHub, instead you must have a program that downloads the data. best is to add project/data to your .gitignore file See more information on the data section.
Make sure you create in your paper citations and references to your own code and GitHub directory.
Filenames must be precise, and we recommend using lower case file names in most cases (some Python class files may also contain capital letters). Filenames must not have spaces included in them. We will not review any information included in a file that contains spaces or characters that are not in [a-Z0-9] and the _ and - characters. We will return your project without review and assign an “F” as those files cause issues.
All image file names must be lower case.
Her an example of an image file name that is wrong in many ways:
project/images/THIS IS Gregor's Image.PNG
Images in reports must use the download link that is used in github as the link that you use to refer to it. If you see the word “blog” in it you have the wrong link. Take a look at our project example and carefully compare.
- contains spaces contains
- capital letters
- contains ' which is not allowed ever
- has an ending with capital letters
This is a snapshot of your final project. You do not have to use the words I or plan simply write it as if you already decided to do the project and make it look like a final paper’s snapshot. Your paper must follow a typical research paper outline. The project ideally provides a novel feature that has not been presented by others. Just replication what others in the community did may not be lead to the best result. If you have not researched if others have done your project, It also will not lead to your best result.
A sample of a report is provided at
- Raw: https://raw.githubusercontent.com/cybertraining-dsc/fa20-523-312/main/project/project.md
Sections that must be included
- Related Research Identify similar projects and describe what you do differently
- Data Write about which data you choose
- Analysis Write about your intended analysis
- Plan Provide a plan that lists what you do every week.(This plan is to be removed before the final submission at the end of the semester. You can move it into a file called project/plan.md in case you like to preserve it
Please make sure that the refernce section is the last section in the document.
Reports without programming
It is possible for undergraduates, but not for graduate students to do a report that does not include programming. You will automatically get a half grade point deduction, and the best grade achievable will be an A-. The report will typically be 25% to 50% longer than a project with programming. It must be comprehensive and have a more in-depth background section. Proper citations are a must. Citations are typically much more in reports due to the nature of it.
In case you chose a report, your directory structure will look like this
- report/report.md # your project report. This is a must.
- report/report.bib # your project bib file
- report/plan.md # for final submission move your Plan section here
- report/images # place all images in thsi directory
It is our strong recommendation that you use jabref for assisting you with the management of your references! You will save a lot of time while using it and assure that the format will be correct, which is important for reports!
They shall not use the word “I” in the report.
We do allow, however, the words we, you, or the author
- Do not use first-person pronouns (“I”, “me”, “my”, “us”, etc.). …
- You must not use contractions such as don’t or ’ve …
- Avoid colloquialism and slang expressions. …
- Avoid nonstandard diction. …
- When using an abbreviation, it must be defined before its first use in brackets): Artificial Intelligence (AI) … Avoid the creation of unnecessary abbreviations. It is better to say big data instead of BD
- Avoid the overuse of short and simple sentences.
- Avoid the overuse of very long and complex sentences.
A colon is :
- They shall not use a space before a colon ever.
- They shall not use colons in section headers.
- They shall not use “quoted quotes” to highlight.
- They shall use italic to highlight
Quotes are reserved for citations and must be followed by a citation that is included in your reference section.
Update and check the submission
Once you submit your paper, you need to dow the following.
modify the README.yaml file and update the information of your project in it. Keep it up to date in case authors or title changes. We use this information to mine all Gitrepos, and thus it must be up to date all the time. In case you are in a group, make sure you preserve the authors' order in the list among all group members. The person that has the repo for the project must be the first author.
Example for single author: https://github.com/cybertraining-dsc/fa20-523-312/README.yaml
Check every week if your report renders correctly and if your report is listed at https://cybertraining-dsc.github.io/report/ Click on your paper link, your student link, and your edit link to ensure they all work correctly. If not, please correct them via a pull request (you can edit that page and see how we do it for other students).
We no longer accept any document format that is not markdown. We use proper markdown that must not include any HTML tags. submissions with HTML tags will be rejected without reviews. You must look at our template in raw format to see what features of markdown we use. Your file may not be properly rendered in GitHub (e.g., abstract and table of content, as well as references look differently), but it will be on our Web site.
References and citations
You must have a reference section from the get-go. We use footnotes to showcase the references as GitHub does not support proper references in markdown. However, we use footnotes in a straightforward and specific way that requires you to be careful with the dot at the end of the sentence. The footnotes must not be after the dot, but they must be within the dot. The reason is that at one point, we will automatically replace your footnotes with a [number] theme. You do not have to do this; we will do this. This is simpler than it sounds for you, so we give an example:
When you use the citations, you MUST for us do them before the dot that
closes the sentence that you cite in or refers to. They do require you
[^1] before the dot
This is a sentence with reference.[^1]
This is a sentence with reference [^1].
Simon says "Hallo".[^1]
The reference section must be the last section in your report
## 8. Refernces [^1]: This is where you put the citation information.
See, there is no space before the :
Please make sure that different refernces are separated by an empty line.
As with any class, you need to know what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. If you need more information, check out our notes in the book “Scientific Writing with Markdown”. Make sure you know how to cite and use proper punctuation after the citation. E.g.
This is a wrong citation. 
 This is a wrong citation.
This is a correct citation .
Note the position of the . and the 
Also in most cases, we do not care who said what, while in Engilsh, business, or psychology you emphasize this leading often to complex sentences.
Once upon a time, there was a scientist called von Neuman that introduced a computing machine for weather predictions while being a researcher at Institute XYZ .
Instead, it is often better to just write:
Computers were used for weather prediction early on .
Please note that there is quite a difference between these citation styles. Shorter is often better.
Format of References
Although we use footnotes in markdown, we will use the propper IEEE format style for citations. Please google it. The easiest way for you to get IEEE references is to use jabref and manage your references there and just copy the rendered content from jabrefs display window into your markdown reference section. Make sure to remove all HTML tags. If you use jabref, please submit your references as project.bib file
URLs in the text
In case you use URLs in the text, they must be followed by a citation with it being referenced in the reference section by a label.
References that are not cited in the text
You must not have any references that you have not cited in the text
Images that you copied
In case you copied an image from the internet, it must have a citation in the caption and be referenced in the reference section.
If you use figures, check carefully with our template, do not invent your own method. We will reject your paper without review if you do it wrong.
How to include images
We have provided a clear example. Do not invent your own method or use relative links. Images must be cited with a link to the raw image in GitHub. See our example!
You are allowed to use python notebooks or python programs. All of which must be checked into GitHub in your assigned repo. Sometimes notebooks have a cache that is too big for GitHub, this you need to make sure to always clear the cache before you check it into GitHub.
Please add a “download” data function that downloads the data from the
source. Do not store the actual data in Github.
The download function must have a logic that does not download the
data when it is already downloaded. Python makes this easy with
python requests. We recommend you use python requests
urllib. You can share the download function openly with each
Images from Programs
You can create png files of graphics so you can include them in your project.md. Make sure you add a save image function and do not just create screenshots. Matplotlib and other graphics frameworks have an API call for this.
There are many good and even specialized graphics libraries that you can use, examples are
If you copy the image from somewhere, you must create a citation in the caption. If you did this figure yourself, you do not have to do that. See Plagiarism rules.
Your program must use cloudmesh benchmark. It includes a convenient StopWatch and benchmark print function.
Here are the relevant URLs to them, which you naturally can find from our report web page. But as some of you have not visited the web page at
See that githib does not quite render it properly, but it will by ok for a superficial view and editing.
Make sure to check your report at
which will be updated weekly