6.881 Optimization for Machine Learning


A major component of 6.881 is the class project. This project is supposed to be research oriented, ideally spanning both theory anad experiments. The culmination of the work will be to produce a high quality project paper. To ease the time burden, the 6.881 class project can overlap with the student's research agenda. However, if the class project overlaps with another class project of the student, it cannot be exactly the same project: you have to clearly delineate how the 6.881 part of the project is substantial in its contribution and justify the overlap.

Project suggestions


The whole project has several parts listed below. Please read each part carefully.


Each project should be ideally done in a team of 2-3 people. It is important to team up so that you can learn how to collaborate. One person projects are allowed, though not particularly encouraged for this class.

Projects will roughly fall under the following five broad areas: (i) theory; (iii) algorithms and modeling; (iii) applications; (iv) literature review; and (v) software. The last two types of projects are not recommended, unless you have convincing arguments for pursuing those.


This part requires you to submit a 1 page outline of the project topic, names of team members, and a brief description of how you plan to solve the problem. Include background information, and references.
DEADLINE: 22 Feb, 2021


This report is due on: It includes a 3 page writeup that includes a clear problem statement (mathematical model), and some initial results. This report will be reviewed by your peers.
DEADLINE: 25 Mar, 2021


Each project team will have to review a midterm progress report submitted by another team. You'll provide clear, constructive feedback (anonymously), of max 1 page length, and this feedback will be sent to the other team.
DEADLINE: 06 Apr, 2021


A final project report / paper written in standard conference paper style should be submitted. Discuss this with your instructor or TAs in case you have any questions. Maximum length of main paper 6 pages; feel free to provide an online supplement to your paper (the supplement will not be graded, but will help you maintain complete details of your project for future reference).
DEADLINE: 20 May, 2021

NOTE: The deadline corresponds to the latest date by which you may submit the project. If you finish before this deadline, that is perfectly fine too.


Please use the Neurips 2019 stylefiles for typesetting your project. The final project should fit in 6 pages of main text (which will be graded), and any number of pages taking up references and technical appendices.