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CPT 105 · Franklin College · Erich Prisner · 2002-2007

You have to write one research paper of about three pages length on a  subject related to computing. Each student is assigned a topic from the list below. You have to tell me which topic you have chosen, give me a first draft two weeks after you have chosen the topic, and the paper two more weeks later, so overall you have four weeks for the whole project. 

For most of the topics you need sources. Please cite and quote correctly and completely, also internet sources. A good but brief introduction for writing research papers (based on the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers) can be found here

List of topics available:

A level

  1. Critics of Microsoft claim it uses a so-called "Embrace, extend and extinguish" strategy. Describe what this means, and investigate whether this strategy can be seen in internet technology (HTML, CSS) or Java.
  2. Eric Steven Raymond's discusses on his famous 35 pages paper "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" what he considers to be a new paradigm in software engineering. Explain his main thesis about the superiority of the "bazaar" model over the "cathedral" model, and critically evaluate it. 
  3. Parallel Computing. Describe the concept and the difficulties. What are the advantages. Find out where existing parallel computers are used. Do you think parallel computing is worthwhile and should be pursued further?
  4. Java. What is it, who invented it, why is it important?
  5. Artificial Intelligence.
  6. Compare ASP and PHP (server-based technologies for creating dynamic websites)
  7. Problems in Chip Design.
  8. Webpage test. What is webpage usability. Compare three e-commerce websites.

B level (easier, but maximum of B can be achieved here)

  1. Compare different technologies available to create small home computer networks.
  2. An overview over the antitrust lawsuit "USA versus Microsoft.
  3. The concept of open source software.
  4. The Browser War (Internet Explorer versus Netscape Navigator).
  5. What are the most recent trends in web page design beyond HTML?
  6. Charles Babbage and his contributions to computing..
  7. The future computer. What do you think a computer might look like in 10 years? Base your opinion on information you find on the internet.
  8. The new economy. Will it recover? What are the reasons for failures of some of these new economies?
  9. Software test. Compare two similar programs like spreadsheet programs, databases, graphics programs, or .... It is important that you have access and some experience with both.
  10. Which of the components, storage, CPU, memory, software, ... has advanced computers the most in the past? What is your opinion on which of them will influence computers most in the future?
  11. The three most important inventions in computing (according to you).
  12. Progress in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Roboting
  13. Unicode and cultures (What is Unicode, and in what way can and does it help to protect small cultures?)
  14. Opinion Topic: My uncle avoids all newer versions of software and still sticks to Windows 95 and old office versions, claiming that newer versions bring too few advantages, compared with the money for upgrading. Compare features of older and most recent versions. Are there ways software companies try to convince us that the products that were "perfect" just a few years ago have to be replaced?  

The grading will be based on