6.831 • User Interface Design and Implementation

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Fall Semester, 2006

General Information


6.831 introduces the principles of user interface development, focusing on three key areas:

Course material will include lecture notes and assigned readings, generally from research papers accessible on the Web.

Credits: 3-0-9 = 12 units of graduate H-level credit
6 Engineering Design Points
Satisfies either the Computer Systems concentration or the Artificial Intelligence & Applications concentration
Prerequisites: 6.170 (or equivalent undergraduate software engineering experience)
Grading Scheme: Based on
  • problem sets,
  • in-class quizzes, and
  • a term project.
The project will be to design, implement, and evaluate a user interface. Students may work in groups of two or three.
When: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1 - 2:30 pm, starting on Thursday, September 7th (full calendar)
Where: building 32 (the Stata Center), room 141


The largest contribution to your grade will be the course project (40%), in which you will work in small groups to design, implement, and evaluate a user interface.

Problem sets and homeworks will be assigned periodically, and will constitute 30% of your grade.

There will be two quizzes, given during class time, which together count for 20% of your grade. See the Course Calendar for the dates. There will be no final exam.

This is a graduate class, and we will be reading and discussing research papers. Preparation, attendance, and participation in class will also be a factor in your grade (10%).

Course project  40% 
Problem sets and homeworks  30% 
Two quizzes 20%
Class participation 10% 


Email Phone Office Office hours
Instructor Robert C. Miller rcm at mit.edu x4-6028 (617-324-6028) 32-G716 Email for appointment.
Teaching Assistants David F. Huynh dfhuynh at mit.edu x3-0452 (617-253-0452) 32-350 Email for appointment.
Max Goldman maxg at mit.edu x3-3406 (617-253-3406) 32-G707 Email for appointment.
Course Secretary Sally Lee sally at csail.mit.edu x3-6837 (617-253-6837) 32-G846

Mailing Lists

We provide 3 mailing lists (@lists.csail.mit.edu):

Recipients Purpose and Details
6831 all students and teaching staff

This list is available for class-wide announcements and discussion. Everybody who attends the first day will be subscribed to the list by default. New students can subscribe using this link: http://lists.csail.mit.edu/mailman/listinfo/6831

If you don't want 6.831 email, you can unsubscribe yourself using the web interface, too.

To see the collection of prior postings to the list, visit the 6.831 Archives.

6831staff teaching staff only This list is for students to ask the teaching staff questions or give comments. For example, if you encounter problems in debugging your programming assignments and group project prototypes, we encourage you to use this list rather than email only one of the teaching staff. Emails to this list are not publicly accessible.
6831handin assignment inbox This list is for submitting your assignments (it is managed by the TA Max Goldman). Note that for each assignment you must include its code in the subject (e.g., HW1 for homework #1). Emails to this list are not publicly accessible.

Course Materials

Readings, lecture notes, and assignments can be obtained from this web site: http://courses.csail.mit.edu/6.831/


There is no required textbook. However, readings will be assigned for every lecture, generally from research papers accessible on the Web.

Recommended books:

Good references:

Other books we like:

Books about statistics and experiment design:

Collaboration Policy

You may freely discuss assignments with other people, but you are expected to be intellectually honest and give credit where credit is due. In particular, for the individual problem sets (PS0-6 and HW1-2), you should write your solutions entirely on your own; you should not share written materials with anyone else; and you should list all your collaborators (everyone you discussed the assignment with) on your handin.