University of California, Berkeley

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department

Computer Science Division


Computer Science 39 K: Information Technology Goes to War

Professor Katz, Spring 2005




Research Theme, Due 9 May (Last Class Day!)

Your last assignment for this semester is to perform independent research into the topic of this class, and to write a paper describing your findings. You may choose any topic related to information technology, past/present/future warfare or national security, or governmental approaches for fostering research and development for national needs.


Your paper may be as long or as short as you want and need it to be, to make your point (no more than 10 pages please!). It is the instructor’s earnest desire that you choose a topic you find both personally interesting and highly motivating, and that you use the justification of this class assignment to unleash your energy in its pursuit.


Your paper should be an authoritative essay, first stating a hypothesis (e.g., “Ship-to-ship radio would have revolutionized naval warfare in the First World War”), and backing up your thesis with arguments based on your analysis backed up be research citations from the literature (e.g., how naval tactics might have changed, based on being able to operate more effectively at night). While it is fine to use the World Wide Web as a research source (your instructor certainly does!), be forewarned that you can’t believe everything that you find there, and books and journals in the library provide more trustworthy (although not infallible) sources.


Some Ideas for CS39K Research Papers


It may be a little difficult for you to identify a suitable topic. Please do not hesitate to speak with the instructor about possible ideas for your paper. I would like to know your proposed topic by 25 April (one week to think about it, two weeks to research and write it up). You can send me an email briefly describing your proposal before the next class meeting.


To give you some ideas of the scope and range of topics, I provide a suggested list below. This is only for guidance! A topic that you find personally interesting is more important than any of the ones listed below.