CSC 9025 Grand Challenges - Topics

The identification of an interesting, well defined, doable topic is possibly the most important step towards the successful completion of a Grand Challenges (GC) project. There is no such thing as a standard GC project, though there are general categories:

Information Synthesis

The project's goal is to investigate a particular topic in-depth. It may involve a large amount of literature review. The final report should not just repeat what was found in the literature. It should integrate the information found there in new ways to provide original insights. It can, and probably should, include personal conjectures, opinions, and predictions. This type of project is especially useful for someone who is going to pursue our thesis option, as the GC can act as the precursor to the thesis. Example abstracts:

Software Design/Development

The project revolves around the hands-on application of particular technologies to specific problem domains. The development of software (a mobile app, a web site, a program) to demonstrate the underlying premise of the project is often the main deliverable on these types of projects. The final report is an explanation/evaluation/comparison of the technologies involved, the problem areas addressed, and the software development process used (specifications, design, test results, cost). Example abstracts:


The project could be based on a classic experimentation structure in which hypotheses are asserted, data is collected, statistics are computed, and conclusions are drawn. Alternately it might be an experimentation/investigation of a new technology, technique, package, library or some combination of such things. The final report is a discussion of all phases of the process. Example abstracts:

Problem/Algorithm Investigation and Analysis

The project identifies a problem, reviews previous work on solutions, and suggests and analyzes alternate approaches. Example abstracts:

Internship Supplementation

Many students take the GC course in parallel with a paid internship with a local company. It is possible to frame a project around such an internship for example by
  • submitting regular reports reflecting on the internship, what is being learned, what could be done to improve results in the upcoming weeks
  • identifying, reading, and reporting on literature related to the internship
  • undertaking a related project that adds value to the internship, perhaps learning a new technology that can be used at work

Please note - a GC project represents the culmination of your graduate degree and therefore it should be a serious, beneficial study. It is NOT sufficient to just

  • Create a web site
  • Create a report that simply repeats publically available information
  • Work at a job