Final Project

The objective of the final project is to explore topics in decision making under uncertainty in greater depth than is permitted in class. The choice of topic is up to you, but it should be related to the general themes of the course. As part of the project you should:

  • describe an approach (existing or newly developed),
  • apply the approach to a problem of interest (which may or may not be related to aerospace), and
  • analyze the performance of the approach according to a set of metrics.

Your topic may be related to your graduate research or another class project (so long as permission is granted by the instructor of your other class); however, you must make the relationship to your other work clear in your proposal and final paper and describe how you have extended this research for this class.

Your final project may be done in any programming language, and you may use any libraries or software available to you. If you have difficulty finding an appropriate topic, feel free to talk with the course staff during office hours or post to Piazza. Example problem domains can be found here:

As all research projects will be graded with the same standard regardless of the number of people in the group, you are encouraged to work in groups of 2-3 with everyone in the group taking the same number of units (unless prior approval from the instructor is given). You can still choose to work individually if you want to.

When working in groups, please clearly detail the contributions of the individual group members.

You are welcome to refer to past project titles.


The purpose of the proposal is to have you think about the types of problems we hope to solve in this class. In one paragraph or more, describe at a high level the problem that you would like to solve for your final project, why you believe it is a decision-making problem, and any sources of uncertainty. We do not require any discussion of how you plan to solve the problem, but the more details you include the more feedback we can provide. Note that you are free to change your project between the proposal and the Final Project Status Update.

Required Files

  • Write-up
    • Must be in PDF format
    • Must be named proposal.pdf

The proposal is limited to two pages and should be submitted to Canvas in PDF format. The proposal is worth 5% of your grade. Please choose and join a group with your group mates (found in People -> Groups -> Choose Final Project Group X) and then submit your assignment as per normalPLEASE DO NOT CREATE YOUR OWN GROUPS! Note that every group member has to join the group individually! Only one group member needs to submit the proposal.

Note: If you are working on the project individually, you should still join a group in which you are the only member.

Final Project Status Update

You will provide a 1 page status update partway into the quarter. Please re-introduce the problem, outline what you have been able to accomplish, and provide a revised timeline to completion. Please have ONE group member submit your status update on Canvas.

Required Files

  • Write-up
    • Must be in PDF format
    • Must be named update.pdf

The status update should be submitted to Canvas in PDF format, and is worth 5% of your grade.


Write a 4-6 page paper describing your research. It should follow the typical conference style with an abstract, introduction, etc. State the problem you are trying to solve, introduce your approach, and review the relevant literature. The experiments should be described in sufficient detail so that someone with a reasonable background in the area could reproduce your results. Show your results and discuss the conclusions that can be drawn. You can use the AAAI, AIAA, NIPS, or IEEE paper templates (the LaTeX version looks better, but Word will be accepted)—or you can use the template of another conference of your choice.

If you end up using LaTeX, we recommend using the biblatex package to manage references, pgfplots for plotting data, and tikz for drawing figures—but you are free to use whatever you want.

The final grade will based on the following criteria:

  • Significance of contribution
  • Structure of paper
  • Writing quality
  • Appropriateness of the approach
  • Clarity of drawings, graphs, and tables
  • Appropriateness of abstract
  • Quality of discussion and conclusions
  • Adequacy of references and discussion of prior work

In addition, if you are in a group please include a section after the conclusions that explains how each group member contributed to the project. Students who are registered for 4 units are expected to spend 30 additional hours on the research component and will be graded according to this expectation. The paper that is produced should be ready for submission to a peer-reviewed conference. Please have ONE group member submit your status update on Canvas.

Required Files

  • Write-up
    • Must be in PDF format
    • Must be named final.pdf

The final paper should be submitted to Canvas in PDF format. The paper is worth 10% of your grade. In a comment along with your submission, please indicate whether you are willing to have your report be publicly viewable on the course website.

Peer Review

Peer review is an important part of science and engineering. Understanding the review process will make you a better writer. As part of this class, you will be randomly assigned two student papers to peer review in the spirit of a real conference or journal article review. The task of the referee is outlined in this article by Alan Jay Smith. Although you will not be making recommendations for or against publication, you will need to answer the questions listed in Section 4 of Smith’s article.

Go to Assignments > Final Project – Paper > Assigned Peer Reviews to find the papers you are supposed to review. Each person has to do 2 reviews. Each of your reviews will be 1 page. You will be graded according to the quality and constructiveness of your review. Your reviews will be provided anonymously to the authors, so please do not include your name in your review.

Required Files

  • Write-up
    • Must be in PDF format
    • Must be named review1.pdf and review2.pdf

The peer reviews should be submitted to Canvas in PDF format. Please submit your completed reviews in the following TWO locations:

1. Attach the PDF documents as comments on the submissions you were assigned to review. This will allow the authors to directly receive the feedback. The TAs may use a rubric for grading. Do NOT fill this rubric out.

2. Submit the documents to the Final Project – Peer Review assignment on Canvas. The TAs will look here for your submission when grading. If you do not submit your peer reviews here then you will receive no points for the assignment.

The reviews are worth 5% of your grade.