Fall 2011
ICS Research Practicum
CSCI 7412/7422 | EDUC 6506/6516 | LING 7415/7425 | PHIL 7415/7425 | PSYC 7415/7425

Wed 12:00-14:00
Muenzinger D430


Professor Michael Mozer
Department of Computer Science
Engineering Center Office Tower 7-41
(303) 492-4103
Office Hours:  Wed 14:00-16:00

Course Objectives

The goal of this course is to support Ph.D. students in Cognitive Science as you develop the skills you need to conduct interdisciplinary research. I want to emphasize the word support. This course is intended to help you along your research trajectory, not to impose arbitrary hurdles or busy work. The course will give you the opportunity to talk about your research to other cognitive scientists, to help crystalize the specific hypotheses you want to explore and the methodology you will use to pursue your goals. The course will also emphasize the difficult challenge of communicating with an interdisciplinary audience--in writing journal articles, conference papers, extended abstracts, thesis proposals, grant proposals, and speaking at professional meetings.

Research goal

In order to best advance your graduate career, it is your responsibility to come into the class with some notion of a research goal for the semester. Students may have distinct goals for Practicum I and II, or they may declare a year-long goal with milestones for each semester. The expectation is that achieving this research goal will help you move forward toward your Ph.D. degree. Typical goals chosen by students are:

What is cognitive science research?

I have a pretty loose notion of what constitutes cognitive science research.  A significant step toward becoming a cognitive scientist comes from the mere fact that you are in a class with students from quite diverse intellectual backgrounds, that you will need to explain your ideas and work to these students, and that they will undoubtably suggest relevant ideas from other fields to explore. My expectation is that each student's goal will include the exploration of methodologies from a discipline other than their main discipline. For students in LING, PSYC, PHIL, and SLHS, a key aspect of cognitive science research is taking a computational, mathematical, or mechanistic perspective on your problems. For students in CSCI, PHIL, and LING, understanding experimental data and methodology is often critical to interdisciplinary research.

Course requirements

The course will be graded on the following criteria:
  1. articulating and achieving a research goal
  2. writing a brief article about your research or proposed research area for a general cognitive science article, for possible inclusion in the ICS newsletter
  3. presenting a poster at the ICS poster session at the end of the academic year (spring semester only)
  4. participating in class and engaging with other students.
In the fall, the grading breakdown for these criteria will be 70/10/0/20.  In the spring, the grading breakdown will be 60/10/10/20.

Class schedule

Date Activity Presenters
8/24 course overview, student introductions all
8/31 student presentations I: overview of problem, outline of approach (30-45 min per student) Keith, Ashwini
9/7 Jin, Ramesh, Dean
9/14 Will, Steve, Jenna
9/21 Lindsay, Miranda
9/28 Blu, Lucas
10/5 ICS review discussion Mozer
10/12 student presentations II: brief progress reports Blu, Keith, Ashwini
10/19 Lucas, Will, Ramesh
10/26 Jin, Dean
11/2 Jenna, Steve
11/9 student presentations III: final progress report before completion of project Lindsay, Miranda
11/16 Lucas, Blu
11/30 see milestone 2
12/7 see milestone 2


Milestone 1 (due 8/29/11 at 5 p.m.)
Milestone 2 (due 12/14/11 at 5 p.m.)

Additional information for students (click to read)