Presentation exercise

DAT315 The Computer Scientist in Society

By now, you should have chosen a paper to focus on, studied it carefully, and read one or more of the preceding papers and ones that build on your chosen paper. The next step is to prepare, and give, a short presentation about this paper and its context.

Before you start

Before starting to prepare your own presentation, you should:

·         Watch Simon Peyton Jones’ talk on How to give a great research talk.

·         Read through Derek Dreyer’s slides on How to give talks that people can follow.

·         If you need a reminder, here is a video of me giving a similar talk to the lecture.

You’ll notice the advice is not entirely consistent—you will have to decide for yourself whose advice to follow!

If you read Swedish, I can heartily recommend Praktisk Retorik by Göran Hägg. This isn’t particularly focussed on technical presentations—but it is both hugely enjoyable to read, and hugely influential on all presentations you will make afterwards! The paperback is out of print, but it is available as an inexpensive e-book, and as a sound book:


Your presentation

Prepare a fifteen minute presentation to explain the key idea of the paper you have chosen. Make sure you include in your talk a brief discussion of the papers that came before and after the one you are presenting, to set it in context. Your presentation should be aimed at an audience of your peers—your fellow students on the Masters programme. You will be giving your presentation to a small group, but you should prepare slides suitable for a large room—i.e. without too much information on each slide, and using fonts larger than the default (in Powerpoint, use a minimum font size of 20 point, preferably 24 point). The first slide of your presentation should include the title of the paper you are presenting, your name, your email address, and the room and time slot you have booked to give your talk (see below). The last slide of your presentation should include references to all of the papers you refer to in the talk. (This last slide is just for reference—you don’t have to present it, and the font size doesn’t matter).

Fifteen minutes is quite a short time to present a paper in—you will need to be ruthless in deciding what to include and what to exclude. Make sure you practice your talk with a stopwatch, so you can be certain you can give it within the time limit.

Your slides should be prepared as either a Powerpoint presentation, or as a PDF that can be displayed full-screen.

Don’t forget to book a presentation slot (see below)!

Giving your presentation

You are expected to give your presentation to a small group of fellow students and a teaching assistant. Each presentation will be part of a two-hour session consisting of up to five presentations. You are expected to attend the entire session that your presentation is a part of (and you are welcome to attend other sessions). As well as the other students in your session, you will be giving your presentation to one of the course assistants, who will give you feedback on your presentation at the end of your talk.

Two hours is quite a short time for five presentations, so we will start promptly (on the hour in the morning, quarter past the hour in the afternoon), and there will be no break in the middle. Also, to avoid wasting time connecting laptops to the projectors, all the talks will be projected from the course assistant’s laptop. The course assistants will gather the presentations in advance, so that we can move quickly and smoothly from one to the next.

You will need to book a presentation slot using one of the Doodles below. There is a separate Doodle for each course assistant. Note that sessions are limited to five presentations, so book your slot early if you need a choice of times.

Max Algehed

Simon Robillard

Agustin Mista


The available slots are:


Course assistant and room

Time slots

Thursday, 22 Nov

Agustin Mista, 5213

8-10, 10-12, 13-15, 15-17

Monday, 26 Nov

Max Algehed, 5213

8-10, 10-12, 13-15, 15-17


Simon Robillard, 5215

8-10, 10-12, 13-15, 15-17

Tuesday, 27 Nov

Max Algehed, 5213

8-10, 10-12, 13-15, 15-17


Simon Robillard, 5215

8-10, 10-12, 13-15, 15-17



Submit your presentation through the Fire system, here: The deadline is midnight on November 21st, no matter when your presentation slot is. When you submit your presentation, you must select a “reviewer”; make sure you choose the course assistant who will be running the presentation session you have booked!