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Department of Computer Science and Technology


Candidates for Part II of the Computer Science Tripos are required to carry out a substantial piece of project work, and to submit a dissertation of about 10,000 words describing the project. The dissertation counts for a quarter of the available marks in Part II.

The objectives of the project are as follows:

  1. To display a range of Computer Science skills involved in the design, implementation and testing of a significant computer system. Usually this is a piece of software but it could be a piece of hardware, the assembly of a knowledge base or a mechanically-assisted proof.
  2. To demonstrate your ability to plan and carry out a large project in a coherent and effective way, demonstrating the principles of good design, quality and project management.
  3. To show an understanding of the context in which your selected project lies. This includes the relationship of the task to the broad surrounding areas of Computer Science and other project-specific fields as well as an awareness of known results and the literature that support your particular specialist area.
  4. To select (and justify your selection of) suitable techniques, algorithms, tools and data structures as well as convince the Examiners that you can learn new ones as necessary.
  5. To plan and organise the collection and presentation of evidence that will show that the end result behaves in the way intended.
  6. To prepare a formal report (the dissertation) in clear and concise expository form which will convince its readers that objectives 1-5 have all been achieved.

The project provides an opportunity to conduct a fairly detailed investigation of some area within Computer Science that particularly appeals to you. As long as the project meets the above formal criteria, you are free to suggest any project.

You don’t carry out the project in isolation.  You will be expected to find a Supervisor, who will meet with you regularly and who will guide you through the project work.  The Lab will also appoint two Overseers for you, who will provide impartial advice during two stages of the project: at the start, when you draw up your project proposal, and approximately halfway through, when you submit a progress report and give a short presentation on your work.

These pages provide guidance about the selection, planning, execution, documentation and assessment of the Part II Project. They explain the arrangements that the Department makes to support and regulate project work, and provide further details on what the Examiners expect to find in the dissertation.

Lectures and briefings

The department provides a briefing and a lecture to support project work. These are:

The precise time and location of these lectures can be found in the important dates.