This page summarizes the goals of each case study, followed by a table presenting student work on the cases.

In Assignment 2, students proposed ideas for case studies. About 1/3 of these proposals were selected for further work, and assigned to teams of students with a faculty advisor. The presentations and reports on this page are courtesy of the students, and used with permission.

Project Information (PDF)

Case Study Goals

Usage Patterns of Planetary Data

We hope that in addition to looking at the patterns of data use from the technical point of view that you will also look at social aspects, such as the institutional affiliations of the scientists or perhaps where they got their advanced degrees. That is, we hope that there will be some social network analysis as well as other types, so that some correlation can be investigated. Maybe sources of funding will reveal patterns or co-authorships resulting from data usage.

PJM Electric Grid

We are taking Kate Martin's offer of her data (as she works on another project) and are looking for a deep model of one grid system rather than a broad model of several grids, unless data acquisition and sorting turn out to be very easy. The current Western Power Grid model has no detail on kinds of nodes or arcs, so we see the potential of the PJM as providing an improvement in that sense. Superimposing the economic information from energy trading or other market operations will also be important to include. Understanding the system's behavior under breakdown conditions might require deep circuit and load analysis and will require some discussion with us before you proceed.

Air Transport

The goal here is similar to those of the other infrastructures being studied: to develop a more detailed model of the U.S. air transport system than currently exists. The possibility of modeling the "woven set of networks" in new and useful ways should be explored as well as trying to assess the utility of various models and representations in assessing and guiding new air transport systems for the U.S. Time series data describing the Air Transport system structure and capacity could be particularly important in understanding past evolution of the system as well as constraints on future evolution or redesign.

Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)

The goal here is similar to that of other infrastructures: to get some depth in the model and to understand how the abilities were built into it. Some contact with the PJM, Air Transport and Communication groups might be useful, especially if a portion of the PSTN covering the related geographical areas can be modeled in detail, as well as to compare designed and grown infrastructures.

ROOFNET Wireless Communication Network

Using data from the ROOFNET project in CSAIL and papers by its developers in order to study the behavior of this Cambridge-based network. Possible areas of emphasis are: quality of service, flexibility, and cost in relation to topology/architecture.

MAPK Pathways

This extensive dataset allows one to trace relationships at the genomic level over 9 species. With other knowledge of the evolutionary relationships among the species being studied, specific functions may be traced over time. Looking at gene motifs may be particularly useful but in general the hope is that the rich data may allow us to learn a lot more about potential patterns that result from biological evolution.

Team Structures in Climate Change Research

Team structure theories particularly with respect to lean organizations will be applied to the IPCC citation data to examine if lean structural concepts can be applied in this global context and also to see how this data set could be used to test such theories.

Centralized and Decentralized System Structure and Evolution

The purpose of this project is to attempt to learn something fundamental about the structure of systems and the structure of the organization that controls or develops them. Wikipedia vs. Encyclopedia Britannica and the evolution of local transport systems may provide rich case studies for making such fundamental strides.

Student Projects

Usage Patterns of Planetary Data Mark Avnet
Kate Martin
Whitney Phase 1 (PDF)

Phase 2 (PDF)

Final (PDF - 1.9 MB)
(PDF - 1.6 MB)
PJM Electric Grid Karen Tapia-Ahumada
Jehanzeb Noor
Katherine Steel
Whitney Phase 1 (PDF)

Phase 2 (PDF - 1.9 MB)

Final (PDF - 2.1 MB)
(PDF - 4.3 MB)
Air Transport Philippe Bonnefoy
Roland Weibel
Magee Phase 1 (PDF - 3.0 MB)

Phase 2 (PDF - 2.3 MB)

Final (This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.PDF - 4.2 MB)
(PDF - 1.6 MB)
Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) Jijun Lin
Dan Livengood
Chintan Vaishnav
Whitney Phase 1 (PDF)

Phase 2 (PDF)

Final (PDF - 1.2 MB)
(PDF - 1.1 MB)
ROOFNET Wireless Communication Network Derek Rayside
Jennifer E. Underwood
Yingxia Yang
Moses Phase 1 (PDF)

Phase 2 (PDF - 1.5 MB)

Final (PDF - 2.0 MB)
(This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.PDF - 4.7 MB)
MAPK Pathways Gergana Buonova
Michael Hanowsky
Nandan Sudarsanam
Magee Phase 1 (PDF)

Phase 2 (PDF)

Final (PDF - 2.1 MB)
Team Structure in Climate Change Research Travis Franck
Robert Nicol
Jaemin Song
Moses Phase 1 (PDF - 2.0 MB)

Phase 2 (PDF - 1.6 MB)

Final (PDF)
(PDF - 1.0 MB)
Centralized-decentralized: Wikipedia vs. Encyclopedia Britannica Joao Castro
Nirav Shah
Robb Wirthlin
Magee Phase 1 (PDF - 2.7 MB)

Phase 2 (PDF)

Final (PDF)
(PDF - 1.9 MB)