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A project at LASEC




This guideline explains the steps a student needs to take in order to receive a project from LASEC, and expected outcome from the student.


TL;DR

The goal of a project is not to teach the basics of crypto to students, as the 7-credit COM-401 course already serves for this purpose. We rather hope to deepen the student's knowledge in crypto beyond what is taught in COM-401 and COM-501, and introduce him/her to the fresh research problems. The requirements of projects are clearly specified on the available projects' page.


Choosing a subject, Enrolling for a project

Finding a suitable project for a student is not easy task for the student, and neither for the project administrator. It is mostly a matter of knowing what the project requires and whether the student's background fulfills them.

Suppose Alice wants to take a project, here is how getting involved in a project typically goes:

  1. Alice reads this guideline, and then checks the pool of projects. Alice finds the project X (or couple of projects) interesting, so using the given references she reads a little bit about the problem.
  2. Alice sends an email to the project administrator, mentioning her background and her interest in the project X.
  3. The administrator sets up a meeting to have a face-to-face discussion with Alice. He explains her more details about the project X, as well as how doing a project in LASEC goes, and what are the general expectations. He also confirms whether Alice is suitable for the project X.
  4. Alice takes a couple of days to think whether she actually wants to take the project X. Usually she exchanges couple of emails to ask further details etc.
  5. The project administrator sets up a meeting for Alice the supervisor of the project X (who is the researcher who proposed the idea in the first place).
  6. Alice signs up for the project course on IS Academia, and chooses Prof. Vaudenay as the supervisor. She also sends final confirmation to both the project administrator and the supervisor.


Tools/Room Availability

On demand, LASEC allocates desks to students in the room INF 220 for their studies throughout the semester.

The key to INF 220 can be obtained from Ms. Martine Corval (LASEC secretary - INF 237) and must be returned soon after the presentation day at the end of the semester.

LASEC has a library (INF 216) featuring books on mathematics, cryptography, security and computer science (computer programming, algorithmic, complexity, etc.). Students who wish to borrow a book must complete the e-form available from the library web site.


Supervision

Each project is supervised by a supervisor clearly identified at the start of the project. The function of the supervisor is to help students by following the progress of the project work and making sure students do not get stuck on particular aspects of the topic by giving them advice and directions. Students are strongly encouraged to see their supervisor on a weekly basis.
It is important to point out that a student who is in difficulties during his project and who will not be able to achieve the required work, must react as soon as possible and ask to his supervisor to reframe the project.


Implementation

If the project involves implementations, then the source code must be thoroughly commented. One must keep in mind that all code written may be re-used or modified at a later date for a different purpose. Code written by the students must be clearly identifiable from code coming from another source.


Submitted documents

Documents which must be submitted to Loïs Huguenin-Dumittan a few days before the presentation day:

Documents which must be provided to Loïs Huguenin-Dumittan the day of the oral presentation at the latest:

Electronic copies of documents should be sent to Loïs Huguenin-Dumittan by email or provided on a flash disk if too large.


Report

Format

The project report must be word processed, written in English. Students may use the word processor of their choice but they are encouraged to use LaTeX.

The report must be bound and must comprise of a title page giving the following information:

In order to help you, you can use the LaTeX templates file.

Content

The report must contain (this list is an indication only and is by no means complete):


Oral presentation

The oral presentation duration is roughly 40 minutes: it comprises of a presentation part of roughly 30 minutes, and 10 minutes of questions. The jury is the members from LASEC, i.e. the PhD students, postdocs etc. Students are encouraged to attend presentations from their fellow students.

If the project is shared between several students then they should all commit to play an equal part in the oral presentation.

A video projector is available, but a laptop is not supplied.

Extensions for the submission of documents or the oral presentation will only be given under exceptional circumstances, according to EPFL guidelines.


Evaluation

Project evaluations will take place at the end of the semester, generally the week following the 14th project week. Students will be informed of the exact day a few days before.

A unique mark will be assigned to each project. It is therefore important that the workload is distributed evenly between students working on the same project.

Here is the semantic for the grades:

6.0   perfect
5.5very good, could have been better to be perfect
5.0good, all milestones completed
4.5acceptable, but missing results
4.0minimally acceptable
3.5insufficient
3.0output with too many mistakes
2.5severe mistakes
2.0did not understand anything
1.5outrageously bad
1.0was present at the defense, did not work at all
0.0did not show up


This evaluation takes into consideration the work carried out, documents submitted on completion of the project and the oral presentation. The following list summaries the criteria taking into account for project evaluation.

Work carried out.

Documents submitted.

Oral examination.


Motivations

Doing a project at LASEC allows to gain knowledge and competence in the field of security and/or cryptography which can be very valuable to the eyes of a potential employer.

Also, excellent projects may be cited or be part of a publication - scientific or not - or even give rise to a publication dedicated solely to the project if it is justified from an innovation point of view.


© 2020 EPFL, Last Modified: April 02, 2020