The Umeå Student Conference in Computing Science (USCCS) is organized annually as part of a course given by the Computing Science department at Umeå University. The objective of the course is to give the students a practical introduction to independent research, scientific writing, and oral presentation.
A student who participates in the course first selects a topic and a research question that he or she is interested in. If the topic is accepted, the student outlines a paper and composes an annotated bibliography to give a survey of the research topic. The main work consists of conducting the actual research that answers the question asked, and convincingly and clearly reporting the results in a scientific paper. Another major part of the course is multiple internal peer review meetings in which groups of students read each others’ papers and give feedback to the author. This process gives valuable training in both giving and receiving criticism in a constructive manner. Altogether, the students learn to formulate and develop their own ideas in a scientific manner, in a process involving internal peer reviewing of each other’s work and under supervision of the teachers, and incremental development and refinement of a scientific paper.
Each scientific paper is submitted to USCCS through an on-line submission system, and receives reviews written by members of the Computing Science department. Based on the review, the editors of the conference proceedings (the teachers of the course) issue a decision of preliminary acceptance of the paper to each author. If, after final revision, a paper is accepted, the student is given the opportunity to present the work at the conference. The review process and the conference format aims at mimicking realistic settings for publishing and participation at scientific conferences.
USCCS is the highlight of the course, and this year the conference received eight submissions (out of a possible 11), which were carefully reviewed. As a result of the reviewing process, four submissions were accepted for presentation at the conference.