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Paper Presentations

Each in-class paper discussion be approximately 20 minutes long and will be led by 1 or 2 students (depending on class enrollment). The discussion session serves two purposes. First, it should provide a nice summary of the paper and point out the key contributions and takeaways of the paper for those who did not read the paper. Second, it should involve an in-depth discussion about the paper in terms of its strengths, limitations, and future work.

The discussion leads have full liberty to decide how they want to run the session, however we strongly suggest following this format:

  1. In the first slide, in addition to the title of the paper, include the authors of the paper and the presenters’ names.

  2. Start the presentation with a single guiding question. We want to outline the most important question that we expect the audience to be able to answer after the presentation. The intention is to have the question capture the high-level ideas and key takeaways of the paper. In general, the question should not be too simple or trivial (e.g., I should not be able to answer the question by simply reading the title of the paper), and it should not be too detailed (e.g., target specific technical details or evaluation details of the paper). Your ultimate goal is to help the students gain an understanding of the big picture of the paper.

  3. Spend 12-15 minutes for presentation. Organize the presentation to roughly follow the outline below:
    • Problem and Motivation: What is the problem? Why it is important? Why should I care about this problem?
    • Challenges: Does there exist any naïve solutions? What is the state-of-the-art? Why is it not solved already?
    • Proposal: What is the high-level idea and key insight? Any appreciable technical details? Is it technically sound? Why it is better than the state-of-the-art? Any alternative designs?
    • Evaluation: What are the most important evaluation experiment(s) to support the proposal? What is the takeaway from the evaluation? Given the limited time we have for the presentation, we should not aim to cover all the evaluation results, but should only pick the ones we think are important.
    • Potential Impacts and Limitations: Can we do better? Does the work inspire new directions or ideas?
  4. At the end of the presentation, bring back the question listed in the beginning of the presentation. We then suggest you poll the audience for their answer to the question.

  5. Spend the remaining 5-7 minutes having interactive discussions with the class. Among the list of student-provided discussion questions, select 2-3 questions to discuss. We suggest to pick the questions that are the most popular, open-ended/likely trigger further discussion, or those you personally find interesting. Try to reframe the question so it is succint enough to read. Put one question per slide so that the whole class can go through them together.

Many papers, if published in recent years, have slides or presentation video available online. Feel free to search for slides online (potentially on conference websites or authors’ home page) or reach out to the authors for presentation slides. This will likely save you some time.

To help the discussion session run smoothly, we suggest the discussion leads email their presentation slides to Mengjia 24 hours before the class. Mengjia will provide feedback to the presentation slides and may suggest some discussion questions.