Every week, you must turn in a one-page writeup (OP) on an assigned topic.
Use a maximum of 500 words for the body of your writeup; in the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." OPs require in-depth consideration of the assigned materials, along with good technical writing. We will select one favorite writeup every week and post it here, unless the author disagrees. In order to get a sense of what we consider a good OP, you can take a look at some favorite OPs from previous years (2011, 2009).
OPs will be reviewed both by the staff and your peers. We will practice double-blind reviewing, which means that the identity of the authors is concealed from the peer reviewers and vice-versa. Your OP should therefore include nothing but the body of the OP—no title, no names, etc. Your submission must in PDF 2.0 and consist of one single-spaced A4 page, including all figures, tables, and references. References should be hyperlinked to electronic versions of the papers being cited, whenever possible. The OP should be single-column and use Times New Roman font with 11-point type or greater. Not respecting these rules (e.g., using 501 words, using 10-point font) will result in a zero score on the OP.
Submit your OP through the POCS submission system. It must be received by 9:00 o'clock on the day it is due; the submission site closes down at 9:00 sharp, so it will be impossible to submit late OPs, and you will receive zero credit. Your lowest-grade OP will be ignored when determining the final grade; this should allow you to easily accommodate unforeseen circumstances, without embarrassing yourself by begging the staff for extensions, dispensation, or other forms of mercy.
Before submitting your first OP, you have to create an account on the system. Registration is very straight-forward: simply enter your email address and choose "I'm a new user and want to create an account using this email address". System will shortly send you an email with instructions on how to complete your registration. Once you register, you should fill in the new paper form. Please prefix your title with the number of the OP, that is use the format "OP1: title" for the first week's titles, upload your OP in the pdf format described above, add yourself to the author list and fill the abstract field arbitrarily. Once you upload your PDF, make sure to run the format checker, since only the correctly formatted OPs will be graded, the rest will receive zero score. Keep in mind that you can update your submitted PDF as many times as you want before the deadline, so please register and test the system as soon as possible.
You are not allowed to discuss the topic of the OP with anyone else, the OP must be 100% your own work.