Literature Survey exercise

DAT315 The Computer Scientist in Society


The purposes of this exercise are to

·         Familiarize you with researching a topic in the scientific literature,

·         Make you an expert on one topic, which will form the basis of later exercises.


You will read a number of papers for this exercise, at varying levels of detail. To prepare yourself, first find and read

S. Keshav. 2007. How to read a paper. SIGCOMM Comput. Commun. Rev. 37, 3 (July 2007), 83-84

Reading this paper first will save you a great deal of time in this exercise. A few comments in the paper are specific to networking (the author’s own area), but most are highly relevant to reading a paper in any field.

Now, choose a paper that interests you, with >100 citations. This will be the main paper you will work with during this course. You may wish to scan (see Keshav) several papers before making your choice. I suggest choosing a paper that you expect to be relevant to your own Masters’ thesis. If you have difficulty finding a suitable paper, you can consult the lists of suggestions below.

Read your chosen paper thoroughly, and make sure you understand it. Expect this to take 4—5 hours (see Keshav).

Select at least one (and preferably more) older paper from the list of references in your chosen paper, and read it (1 hour, see Keshav). Try to choose a paper that is itself highly cited, and which your chosen paper builds on directly.

Select at least one (and preferably more) later paper which cites your chosen paper, and read it (1 hour, see Keshav). Try to choose a highly cited paper that builds directly on your chosen one.

Your goal is to understand your chosen paper thoroughly, and also to understand its significance in a broader setting—how it relates to what came before, and what came afterwards.

This exercise should be done individually.

There is nothing to be submitted for this exercise, but don’t delay: the next exercises in the course, with tight deadlines, build directly on this one. Don’t underestimate how long it will take you to find and select the papers you want to read in detail; this exercise involves several days’ work, and can’t be done the day before the deadline. Aim to complete it before the next lecture.


Lists of suggested papers


·         List of the 100 most cited articles in Computer Science, according to CiteSeer in 2015.

·         Wikipedia’s list of important publications in computer science.

·         Peter Damashke’s suggested papers from 2016.

·         “Great works in programming languages”, collected by Benjamin Pierce in 2004 (and later).

·         The ten most cited papers on Haskell, according to the Haskell wiki.