Information Technology Projects
Information Technology Projects (Projects) offers students real-world
experience understanding and solving Information Technology software and
system problems. The course involves a set of projects at clients such
as local corporations and other institutions. We organize students in teams
of about four. Each team undertakes one IT project that lasts the semester.
In the classroom we study project management and network software. The
project issues include project specification, consulting project management,
technology planning and training, and communicating to management. The
network software issues include distributed system design, software standardization,
and technology trends.
Course home page: http://www.cs.nyu.edu/cs/faculty/artg/itp/S98/index.html
Update history: Dec. 23, 1997, Feb. 2, 1998
Time: Mondays, 5:00 to 8:00 PM, plus about one day a week at
Place: Room 402, Warren Weaver Hall
Email beacon: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email: email: email@example.com
Office: 715 Broadway, Room 711
Home page: http://www.cs.nyu.edu/cs/faculty/artg/
Office hours: Meetings by appointment only
We recruit local corporations and other institutions to provide interesting
projects. We will select projects that teach students about technologically
important systems. We seek problems which involve widely used technologies
of growing influence. These technologies include the Internet, the World
Wide Web, Intranets, Java, Lotus Notes, and parallel programming. To increase
the resources available to students, we also try to obtain projects which
use technologies that are available in our campus computing environment.
We will consider projects involving other important technical areas of
mutual interest to students and clients.
Clients for Spring 1998
We're engaged in 5 projects.
The Gertrude Stein
Repertory Theatre and Bell Labs
ILX Systems, Inc.
The Hypertext Neurological Knowledgebase
In the past three years we've worked with the following clients and completed
the following projects.
Morgan Stanley: Evaluation and Design of Real-time Network Text Talk Tools.
Internet Relay Chat (IRC) enables people to exchange messages with groups
in real-time over an Internet. However, the content disappears.
We've examined, designed and implemented means to preserve chats in NNTP
stores, such as Netscape Collabra.
Morgan Stanley: Secure Web Server Performance. Morgan Stanley uses
secure servers to communicate with its clients. We've enhanced Prof.
Goldberg's Web Performance measurement tools to measure and monitor the
performance of secure servers.
Price Waterhouse: Internal LAN and VLAN Performance. Like many organizations,
Price Waterhouse is migrating their internal computer networks from SPX/IPX
to IP. To help understand the capacity needs of the current and future
network, we've measured and analyzed network layer activity in the IT department's
New York headquarters.
THyNK: Twenty thousand pages of Neurological Information on the Web Dr.
Joseph Masdeu is directing a team of 120 academic neurologists to build
on the Web the Hypertext Neurological Knowledgebase (THyNK), a comprehensive,
up-to-date information resource for clinical neurologists. We've
designed and prototyped a database that supports easy creation and viewing
of this medical information.
Andersen Consulting, LLP: Evaluate and select an Intranet based shared
Home Box Office (HBO): Design DB scheduling for www.hbo.com and for film
The Hypertext Neurological Knowledgebase (THyNK): Design infrastructure
for a Web site containing 20,000 pages of information about neurology.
ILX Systems, Inc.: Produce GIFs of stock prices and analyses of late programming
Lehman Bros.: Analyze the speed performance of Lehman's Intranet.
Union Bank of Switzerland: Design and build NetChat, a combination of Netnews
and Internet Relay Chat, for use by traders.
Andersen Consulting: Configure and install network management software
Cybersurfer Dream Team Studios: Build entertainment code for www.restaurantcity.com
ILX Systems: Design and develop Java code for distributing real-time market
Simon & Schuster: Develop intranet interfaces to product and phonebook
United Neighborhood Houses: Develop and deploy an intranet phonebook system
ComputerWorld quoted a student and Prof. Goldberg discussing this course
in the Fall 96 Campus edition, saying:
Andersen Consulting: Evaluate operations software for the Financial Ideas
Citicorp: Assist HR with technology and policy issues related to connecting
to the Internet
Republic National Bank: Evaluate and test tools for converting legacy documents
Sony: Evaluate tools for an entertaining Web site
"It was very easy getting used to work. I knew it would be," says Sandhya
Gabbur, a New York University Business school graduate who started working
in the IS field as part of a college course. Gabbur is now an assistant
Java programmer at ILX Systems, Inc. in New York, the financial services
firm where she worked during college. She develops Java-based charging
applets for calculating market data.
Arthur Goldberg, a professor at NYU's Stern School of Business, agrees.
"My experience has been that workers in corporations work mostly on projects
with teams under certain deadlines and students needed to get those experiences
in school" to limit stress once in the workforce, he says.
In exchange for our assistance, our clients are required to provide adequate
resources for students to learn and to succeed on the project. A client
technical manager will spend one half to one a day a week supervising students.
The client is also required to provide facilities, such as computers, software
and office space for students to make significant progress during the course.
Interactions with clients may provide opportunities for full-time employment
following the course. Four students have obtained jobs during the last
Some clients will be donating significant money to NYU in recognition
of the work we do in the course.
Students will work in teams composed of CS and "MS in IS" students. At
the first class meeting each student will rank each proposed project's
desirability on a scale from 1 to 10. Prof. Goldberg will assign students
to teams by the second class. He will try to maximize the class's total
satisfaction, assign students to projects for which they're skilled, and
allocate some CS and some MS in IS students to each team. Each expertise
and talent will support the other, so CS students with relatively modest
management and/or English experience can feel comfortable, as should MS
in IS students with less technical experience.
We encourage clients to break projects into 1 and 2 person tasks so
team members can work fairly independently.
In the Spring of 1998, the Projects course can accommodate at most 20 students
in 5 projects.
To work productively on a project a student must possess sufficient technical
and/or managerial skills. These skills can be obtained by academic training
and/or experience. In particular, for CS students, the Software Engineering
course is a pre- or co-requisite.
As the set of skills cannot be precisely specified, interested students
should contact Prof. Arthur Goldberg (firstname.lastname@example.org) for permission to
register. Email a resume or short biography.
Admitted students will be emailed a 4-digit access code. Register for the
course as "Advanced Laboratory in Information Systems" (G22.3812). Stern-based
MSIS students should follow through with their usual registration procedures
for Courant courses; Courant-based students may call TorchTone (995-4747)
Students who work must consider whether participating in a project--and
interning for a Projects course client--will involve a conflict-of-interest
with their employer. Prof. Goldberg has checked, and none of our clients
consider it a conflict if a student intern works elsewhere, as long as
the employer does not compete with the client. Students should obtain
their employer's approval to intern, if they feel it is necessary.
At some clients, students will access proprietary information protected
as trade secrets. Student interns at these clients may be asked to sign
a legal document called a non-disclosure which promises that they will
not communicate trade secrets learned at work outside the client. If you
indicate interest in a particular project, we assume that you're willing
to sign a non-disclosure for that client. Prof. Goldberg will sign the
non-disclosure too. Students who work should obtain their employer's authorization
to sign the non-disclosure, if they feel permission is necessary.
Projects, like all graduate CS courses at NYU, demand significant effort.
Doing a good job requires about 10 hours of work a week; doing a great
job requires more.
We meet as a class 10 out of 14 weeks. The tentative semester schedule
is below. Class attendance is mandatory, as class meetings include technical
and operational lectures by both students and Prof. Goldberg.
Most clients are corporations which work "regular business hours". Projects
involve coordination among students, and between students and the client.
Students and clients are strongly urged to arrange a mutually convenient
weekday on which students will work weekly at the client site. Some clients
may work weekends and/or evenings, and may be able to schedule the regular
meeting outside of business hours.
Students who are full-time employees
Some students who work full-time want to take Projects. They may do so.
Students unable to work at client sites during "regular business hours"
should apply for projects whose regular meetings occur outside of business
hours or at NYU. Prof. Goldberg will attempt to assign them accordingly.
However, no student can be guaranteed assignment to a project that works
outside regular business hours.
Resources for running special individual projects are not available.
Semester project schedule
To complete the projects during our 14 week semester, Projects is scheduled
tightly. The Spring 1998 schedule follows:
January 23: Prof. Goldberg enrolls a selected group of students.
By January 23: Prospective clients submit project proposals. Proposals
will be published on NYU's Web to advertise the course to students.
January 26: At the first class, students rank proposals. The projects
which really excite the students get staffed. In past years, Prof. Goldberg's
been able to assign 95% of students to projects that they rank 9 or 10
out of 10. Winning and losing clients are notified immediately.
January 29: Students are told their project assignments by email.
January 29 through January 30: Liaisons schedule kickoff meetings
at clients. One student, designated the liaison, is responsible for
scheduling the kickoff meeting and for scheduling a mutually convenient
weekly time at which the client's project manager(s) and the student team
can meet and work together at the client's site. The meeting should be
scheduled as early as possible.
February 2 through February 13: We hold a 3 hour kickoff meeting at
each client. The student team and Prof. Goldberg meet the client's authorizing
and project manager(s). The client explains the set of projects we could
work on in much greater detail than the proposal. Together, we select a
mutually satisfactory subset of projects to pursue. We identify each student's
particular responsibility. Each student leaves with the beginnings of a
clear understanding of the project they will work on.
February 2 through May 4: Each team works for about 10 weeks with their
client. Students meet weekly with their project manager. Prof. Goldberg
supervises and teaches the class at a weekly meeting at NYU. We study technology,
project management and presentation skills.
Week of March 9 to 13: We hold a 2 hour mid-course correction meeting
at each client. The student team and Prof. Goldberg meet with the
client's project manager(s). We evaluate the project's progress and set
clear goals for the rest of the work.
May 5, 5 - 8 PM: At our "DemoShow" at NYU all teams present their results
to all clients, interested faculty and other students.
May 5 through May 8: At a 2 hour wrap-up meeting at the end of the semester
the team and Prof. Goldberg meet with the client's authorizing and project
manager(s) at the client. Students present their results and hand-off their
work to clients.
Class Meeting Schedule
Both students and Prof. Goldberg will speak in class. The schedule will
be revised as the semester progresses.
Student Responsibilities and Evaluation
Each student is primarily responsible for working on their project, making
progress towards its goal, and transferring their results to the client
at the end of the semester.
In the classroom, each student will make three presentations to the
class: an overview of the technology involved in their project, a discussion
of their project and its progress, and a final presentation of their accomplishments.
These presentations serve several purposes: Motivate you to become more
skilled in the software you'll be using; give you practice delivering presentations;
and teach the rest of the class.
Each student will describe their work orally and in a brief written
summary which will be delivered at the DemoShow and to the client at the
WrapUp meeting at the end of the semester.
Student evaluation is distributed as follows:
Three in-class presentations (technical, progress, Demo Show) 30%
Emailed progress reports 5%
Accomplishment in the project 40%
Final report 25%
Whenever possible, clients will provide computing resources. In addition,
the CS department will provide.
Unix machines - Prof. Goldberg will have accounts created and disk space
allocated on Warren Weaver Hall machines as needed.
PCs - The course owns one Pentium 100 MHZ, 1.6 G, CD-ROM, high speed video
card, multimedia PC. It will be located in a public place. We'll use it
to test and develop software. It runs Windows NT 3.51.
Email and the email beacon
All students and client supervisors must read and respond to Internet email
daily. All students should join the email@example.com
class mailing list. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with
in the message body. Prof. Goldberg will use it to multicast email
to the class. Each project will form its own mailing list, named "projects_<project_name>.
Team Web Page
Each project will need a Web page. The page will contain
One student, called the Project Webmaster, will have primary responsibility
for maintaining the Web page. Everyone else will be able to contribute
to it. We will make the page visible to students in the course and
the client, but invisible to the rest of the world.
A description of the project
Names and contact information for students working on the project
Names and contact information for the project's manager(s)
Pointers to Web resources of use in the project
Copies of presentations students have delivered about the project
Other materials produced in the project, including
Each team needs a team liaison responsible for organizing interaction
with the client. The liaison's job includes
If you want to be your team's liaison, please volunteer.
Schedule initial and final meetings with team, client and Prof. Goldberg.
Schedule first couple meetings between client and team.
Each student must send Prof. Goldberg a weekly email progress report
on Thursday before class. While this sounds bureaucratic and impersonal,
but it's the only way I can efficiently track all the students in the course.
Spend 5-15 minutes composing the progress report (so if you work 8 hours/week
on the class the report takes at most 3% of class time). Writing the report
will help you evaluate how you're doing. The report contains:
Please email the report with a subject line of:
Description of the week's goal(s)
Description of progress towards the goal(s)
Description of obstacle(s) making progress difficult
List of ways, if any, Prof. Goldberg could help progress
Projects; "client name"; "week number"
where weeks are numbered starting with January 26, so Prof. Goldberg's
software can parse and organize reports.
This document and associated materials were authored or compiled by
Arthur Goldberg. This compilation and supporting electronic teaching materials
may be freely used for non-commercial use provided any electronic or print
version includes this notice. All rights reserved. Copyright Arthur P.
Goldberg, 1996, 1997.