6.831 • User Interface Design and Implementation

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Spring Semester, 2008

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, three, or four people.
When: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 12 - 1 pm, starting on Wednesday, February 6th (full calendar)
Where: building 26, room 152


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.

Preparation, attendance, and participation in class will also be a factor in your grade (10%). To prepare for each class, you will be expected to read the lecture notes in advance, and submit a short "reading memo" about what you read. These memos will contribute to this grade, as will your participation in class activities.

Course project (GR1-6)  40% 
Problem sets (PS1-5) and homeworks (HW1-3)  30% 
Two quizzes (Q1-2) 20%
Class participation 10% 


Email Phone Office Office hours
Instructor Prof. Rob Miller rcm at mit.edu x4-6028 (617-324-6028) 32-G716 Email for appointment.
Teaching Assistants Michael Fitzgerald mikefitz at mit.edu none none Wednesdays, 2-4pm, 32-G 7th floor lounge
Tiffany Wang tiffanyw at mit.edu none none Fridays, 2-4pm, 32-G 7th floor lounge

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 Tiffany Wang). Note that for each assignment you must include its code in the subject (e.g., HW1 for homework #1, L3 for the reading memo for lecture 3). 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.

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 assignments (PS1-5, HW1-3, and the reading memos), 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.