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University of Pittsburgh    
2020-2021 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
    
 
  Jun 23, 2021
 
2020-2021 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog

Intelligent Systems, PhD


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Requirements for the PhD


The student’s adviser must be a member of the ISP faculty. New students are generally assigned to the ISP Director for their first year in the program.

To obtain a degree, a student must be in good standing and at full student status (not provisional). To remain in good standing, a student must make sufficient progress on their degree requirements and attend all but two (2) of the scheduled AI Forum talks per term. In case of extenuating circumstances, the student should communicate the possible absence to the ISP director and administrator. Failure to meet this requirement may affect application for various fellowship candidacies, GSA positions, travel grants and other internal opportunities.

Students pursuing the Doctor of Philosophy degree in ISP must adhere to the SCI requirements for graduation and complete a minimum of 72 credits as outlined below. Students must earn a grade of B- or better in each of the courses in the appropriate ISP curriculum (the general track or the Biomedical Informatics track) and maintain a QPA of at least 3.0

Course Requirements


Students are expected to have the pre-requisites needed to take the courses necessary to obtain the PhD degree in ISP. These may be required if not already taken.

General Intelligent Systems Track


First-year students

  • ISSP 2020  - TOPICS IN INTELLIGENT SYSTEMS
  • INFSCI 3005  - INTRODUCTION TO THE DOCTORAL PROGRAM
  • ISSP 2030   - ADVANCED TOPICS IN INTELLGENT SYSTEMS

Core

AND Choose Two of the Following:

Theory

Applied or mathematical statistics.  Choose one of the following:

  • BIOST 2041  - INTRODUCTION TO STATISTICAL METHODS 1
  • BIOST 2042  - INTRODUCTION TO STATISTICAL METHODS 2
  • BIOINF 2118  - STATISTICAL FOUNDATIONS OF BIOMEDICAL INFORMATICS
  • STAT 2131  - APPLIED STATISTICAL METHODS 1
  • STAT 2132  - APPLIED STATISTICAL METHODS 2

Theory of computation, algorithms. Choose one of the following:

  • CS 2110  - THEORY OF COMPUTATION
  • CS 2150   - DESIGN & ANALYSIS OF ALGORITHMS

One additional course required. Any of the theory courses listed above are acceptable.

Advanced courses

Four ISSP advanced lecture courses, numbered 2000 or higher and approved by the PhD adviser.

Biomedical Informatics Track (ISP/MI)


This assumes that a student already has training in a health care field; if this is not so, then the faculty will select a set of courses that teach the student basic medical knowledge, and the student may take these courses as electives.

First-year students

  • ISSP 2020  - TOPICS IN INTELLIGENT SYSTEMS
  • INFSCI 3005  - INTRODUCTION TO THE DOCTORAL PROGRAM
  • ISSP 2030  - ADVANCED TOPICS IN INTELLGENT SYSTEMS

Core

Then choose:

One of the following:

AND choose one of the following:

  • CS 1510  - ALGORITHM DESIGN
  • CS 2150  - DESIGN & ANALYSIS OF ALGORITHMS
  • CS 3150  - ADV TOPCS DSGN & ANALYS ALGORTHM

AND choose one of the following:

  • BIOST 2041  - INTRODUCTION TO STATISTICAL METHODS 1
  • BIOST 2042  - INTRODUCTION TO STATISTICAL METHODS 2
  • BIOINF 2118  - STATISTICAL FOUNDATIONS OF BIOMEDICAL INFORMATICS
  • STAT 2131  - APPLIED STATISTICAL METHODS 1
  • STAT 2132  - APPLIED STATISTICAL METHODS 2 

AND choose two of the following:

Advanced Courses

Three (3) advanced lecture courses, numbered 2000 or higher, relevant to ISP and approved by the academic adviser.

TA

TA any biomedical informatics (BIOINF) course that is cross listed as an ISSP course.

MS Project and PhD Preliminary Examination


For this requirement, the student must complete a research project, approved by the student’s preliminary evaluation committee, involving (1) significant research, design, or development work, (2) a written report, and (3) an oral presentation. Students must form a MS project committee (MS) or a preliminary evaluation committee (PhD) consisting of three faculty members, two of whom must be ISP faculty. The student’s adviser chairs the committee, and must be an ISP faculty member.

Preferably, the research project is completed by the end of the summer term of the second year. Students who have not defended their research project by end of the fall term of their third year in the program will be placed on provisional status in the program, unless extenuating circumstances warrant an extension. 

Although not a requirement, it is strongly suggested that the student submit the project report for publication in a refereed journal or conference. Thus, the scope of the research project is intended to be at the level of a paper that is of publishable quality in a peer-reviewed AI journal or conference.

The steps to completing the project are as follows:

  • Submit a project proposal to your committee for its approval.
  • Perform the work, and write a project report.
  • Submit your project report to your committee at least two weeks in advance of your oral presentation of the work.
  • Present your work in a talk given to your committee. As a guideline, you should give about a 30-minute talk and leave about 30 minutes for questions and discussion. The ISP faculty should be invited to the oral presentation. General questions relating to the field of AI are appropriate at this examination. The oral presentation may take place in an open forum, such as the ISP AI Forum, followed by a closed session with just your committee and any other ISP faculty members who wish to be present.

The committee will evaluate the project and presentation. The following criteria should be considered: The project and presentation should represent independent research, design, or development work. They should be technically sound and relevant to the ISP. The student should display breadth of knowledge as well as understanding of the significance and motivation of the work. The committee will combine that evaluation with a review of the student’s progress in coursework to arrive at an overall assessment.

  • Pass at the PhD level.
  • Provisional pass at the PhD level: Must complete additional requirements specified by the committee in order to obtain a pass.
  • Pass at the MS level: Student obtains a terminal MS degree, once all course requirements for the MS are completed.
  • Fail.

Students who pass will need to have the Report on Examinations form signed by their committee and submitted to the SCI Records office and the ISP Administrator. All paperwork concerning courses, graduation, and milestones etc. can be found on the School Forms section of the SCI Current Students webpage. Should you have difficulty finding what you need, please contact the ISP administrator (paum4b@pitt.edu).

PhD Comprehensive Examination


For the PhD comprehensive examination, students should follow these steps:

Form a comprehensive examination committee consisting of at least three faculty members, two of whom must be ISP faculty. The student’s PhD adviser chairs the committee and must be an ISP faculty member. The faculty on a given student’s comprehensive examination committee are often the same as the faculty on that student’s preliminary evaluation committee, but they need not be. Choose three major subareas of AI. One of these areas is flexible; the other two should be chosen from the ISP list of sub-areas below. The flexible area must be unanimously approved by the student’s committee (but does not need to be approved by the director). Biomedical Informatics students should choose “Biomedical Informatics” as one of the subareas.

  • AI and Business/Accounting
  • AI and Law
  • AI and Medicine
  • AI and MIS
  • Bioinformatics
  • Case-based Reasoning
  • Cognitive Architectures (or Subsymbolic Approaches)
  • Connectionist Approaches
  • Statistics and Evaluation Methods
  • Expert Systems
  • Intelligent Interfaces
  • Intelligent Tutoring Systems
  • Knowledge Representation
  • Machine Learning
  • Biomedical Informatics
  • Natural-language Processing
  • Planning
  • Reasoning About Uncertainty
  • Robotics
  • Vision

Work with the committee to finalize the reading for the three chosen subareas. Have the committee approve the list. 

Work with your committee members to set the following dates for the examination: 

  • The date and time the written examination is distributed to you.
  • The date and time you return the examination, which by default is nine days after receiving it. Your committee can designate an examination period of fewer or more than nine days, and through your adviser you may request that they do so.
  • The date and time you orally defend your examination answers before your committee. You should schedule two hours for your oral exam defense, although typically less time will be needed.

Your committee will provide a list of written questions. Unless an exception is made by your committee, you will have nine days to provide the written answers to these questions. At the end of those nine days, you should distribute your answers to each of your committee members. Be sure to check that each has received your answers.

An oral examination will take place after the comprehensive committee has read your answers; the committee should be given a minimum of three days to read your answers before the oral examination. Only the ISP faculty will be invited to the oral examination. You will be asked questions by your committee concerning your answers on the written examination,and more broadly about  your knowledge of the material in the three areas of concentration you have chosen.

At the end of your oral examination, your committee will evaluate your performance as one of the following:

  • Pass. 
  • Provisional pass: Must complete additional requirements specified by the committee in order to obtain a pass. 
  • Fail. 

An evaluation by the comprehensive examination committee of “fail” will be considered by the ISP faculty at large, who will make a determination about the status of the student in the ISP, including whether the student is allowed to re-take the examination or whether he or she is terminated from the program.

Students who pass will need to have the Report on Examinations form signed by their committee and submitted to the SCI Records office as well as the ISP Administrator. All paperwork concerning courses, graduation, and milestones etc. can be found on the School Forms section of the SCI Current Students webpage. Should you have difficulty finding what you need, please contact the ISP administrator (paum4b@pitt.edu).

PhD Dissertation


In pursuing the PhD dissertation, students should follow these steps:

  1. Find a dissertation adviser and form a dissertation committee. The composition requirements for the Doctoral dissertation committees are detailed in SCI Catalog page; see the Doctoral Committee section  for information.
  2. Write a dissertation proposal. Present the proposal to your committee. Your committee must approve your proposal and sign the Report on Examinations form.
  3. Carry out the research. Write the dissertation. 
  4. Announcement of your dissertation defense must appear in University Times and Pitt Chronicle. Send information to the ISP administrator at least five weeks before your oral defense date. This information will be sent to the University Times and Pitt Chronicle. The announcement includes the student name, the title of the dissertation, and the time and place of the defense.
  5. Have an oral defense that is open to the University at large.
  6. Students who pass will need to have the Report on Examinations form signed by their committee and submitted to the SCI Records office as well as the ISP Administrator. All paperwork concerning courses, graduation, and milestones etc. can be found on the School Forms section of the SCI Current Students webpage. Should you have difficulty finding what you need, please contact the ISP administrator (paum4b@pitt.edu).
  7. Credit for doctoral research is ordinarily obtained through the course ISSP 3000  - RESEARCH AND DISSERTATION PHD. Students who have completed all course requirements, passed the PhD comprehensive examination, completed 72 credits of graduate student, and are working full-time on their dissertations are encouraged to register for FTDJ 0000  - FULL-TIME DISSERTATION STUDY

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