CSE 501: Introduction to Graduate Study in Computer Science & Engineering (Fall 2019)



Teaching Staff

Instructor: Dimitrios Koutsonikolas, Associate Professor
                  Office: 311 Davis Hall
                  Office Hours: W, 2:00 - 3:00 PM, or by appointment
                  Phone: 716-6454733
                  Email: dimitrio [at] buffalo

Time and Location

Lectures: T/Th, 2:00 - 3:20 PM, Davis 113A

Course Description

The course provides guidance about graduate studies in CSE for incoming Ph.D. students. Registration and attendance are required for all new Ph.D. students. Topics include: academic integrity, the nature of research, good teaching and TA skills, writing skills, presentation skills, and resources available for graduate study in computer science. The course will include appropriate written assignments and oral presentations.


This course is open only to Ph.D. students.

Required Textbook

There is no required textbook for the course. If you need a reference book for writing, "The Elements of Style", 4th edition, by Strunk and White is a classic. The "Handbook of Writing for the Mathematical Sciences," 2nd edition, by Nicholas Higham might also be useful.


(Tentative and subject to change)

This is a one (1) credit course with an S or U grading. To get a satisfactory (S) grading you will have to satisfy three components:
  • Attendance
  • Report
  • Class presentation

Course Structure

Regular attendance is required. You must come to class, and you must come on time. Please be courteous: The class starts at 2 PM, not at 2:10 PM. You will be asked to sign up at the beginning of each class.
To get a satisfactory (S) grade, you need to attend at least twelve (12) classes.

You will submit three reports during the semester. The report MUST be in PDF -- any other format is not acceptable. Here some more logistics:
  • Each report must contain a one (1) page summary of any talk you attended as part of CSE 501 in the last month. Your report must have three sections:
    • Overview of the talk. This includes the title of the talk, the name of the speaker, time and date of the talk, and a summary of the content of the talk.
    • What you liked about the talk. Give a summary of what you liked about the talk. This could technical content and/or presentation of the talk.
    • How could the talk have been improved? Anything you did not like about the talk and how it could be improved.
  • The reports must be emailed (dimitrio@buffalo.edu) by 23:59 PM on the follwoing dates:
    • October 1: Talks in August and September.
    • November 5: Talks in October.
    • December 3: Talks in November.
  • Each report will be graded as follows:
    • 0 points: no submission or a submission that clearly had no effort go into it.
    • 0.5 point: A not-so reasonable attempt.
    • 1 point: A reasonable attempt.
    • 2 points: A well written report.
  • To get a satisfactory (S) grade, you need 3 points in total.
Class presentation
You will give a 10-minute presentation (7-8 min talk plus 2-3 min Q&A) in class on a technical topic (related to CSE) of your choice. The presentations will be on the last two lectures, i.e. Tuesday, December 3 and Thursday, December 5.
  • The presentation will be graded as follows:
    • 0 points: no presentation or a presentation that clearly had no effort go into it.
    • 1 point: A reasonable attempt.
    • 2 points: A well done presentation.
  • To get a satisfactory (S) grade, you need 1 point.

Course Policies

  • Late policy: All assignments are due on the day and time posted. Late submissions will not be graded.
  • No extra work in the next semester will be given to improve your grade.
  • An incomplete (I) grade will only be assigned under extreme circumstances. Please discuss with the instructor.

Academic Integrity

  • No tolerance on cheating!
  • Attendance: Please refrain from signing up on behalf of other students if they are not in class. Doing so will be considered an academic integrity violation.
  • Reports: Reports have to be written individually. You are not allowed to use any online material for a report.
  • Class presentations: You are free to include any material found online (except for slides from past offerings of CSE 501) in your presentations provided that you acknowledge the source.
  • Students who do share their work with others are as responsible for academic dishonesty as the students receiving the material. Students are not to show work to other students, in the class or not. Students are responsible for the security of their work and should ensure that printed copies are not left in accessible places, and that file/directory permissions are set to be unreadable to others.


If you have a diagnosed disability (physical, learning, or psychological) that will make it difficult for you to carry out the course work as outlined, or that requires accommodations such as recruiting note-takers, readers, or extended time on exams or assignments, you must consult with the Office of Disability Services (60 Capen Hall, Tel: 645- 2608, TTY: 645-2616, Fax: 645-3116, http://www.buffalo.edu/studentlife/who-we-are/departments/accessibility.html.
You must advise your instructor during the first two weeks of the course so that we may review possible arrangements for reasonable accommodations.

Dimitrios Koutsonikolas