For this badge 2015, I’ve got two Computer Science students who has chosen their Extended Essay in Computer Science. The topic they have chosen was both about Computer Security issues, which I believe quiet popular to the teenagers nowadays. I’ve written some of the consideration regarding their essay in my blog related with each criterion

FIRST ESSAY
“THE EMERGING THREAT OF THE BLOGGING COMMUNITY: BOTNET”

A. RESEARCH QUESTION
“Although the aim of the essay can best be defined in the form of a question, it may also be presented as a statement or proposition for discussion. It must be:
specific and sharply focused
– appropriate to the particular area of computer science being explored
– centered on computer science and not on peripheral issues such as the history of computing or the social implications of technology
– stated clearly early on in the essay.”
From my opinion, the research question is fairly focused. The students has chosen the security issues of the computer science, and he has been focusing on the issues that happened in blogging community, hence, focusing on a specific item that caused this. However, the research is actually can made to be more extended by focusing or specifying on which kind of threat that botnet caused. or specify the type of blog that used for investigation, such as WordPress.

B. INTRODUCTION
“The extent to which introduction makes clear how the research question relates to existing knowledge on the topic and explains how the topic chosen is significant and worthy of investigation. The introduction should relate the research question to existing subject knowledge, putting it into context. Basic computing knowledge can be assumed and it is not expected that students write lengthy sections explaining theory that is common knowledge or part of the syllabus of the computer science course.”
The student has started the introduction with some summary of blog and its common flaws, continued with the description of Botnet itself with some information about its variants, so it is quite clear enough with the information, yet I think the student has spent too many word for the introduction. But, the good thing is, using the examples and some closing sentences has made this topic is worth enough of investigation.

C. INVESTIGATION
“The range and type of sources available will be influenced by various factors, but above all by the topic chosen. For example, if runs of a program are carried out to test an algorithm for efficiency against an alternative one then the data must be adequate. Any statistics collected should be reliable and relevant to the research question. It is also important to consult a large number of sources. Particular care should be taken in such a rapidly changing area to ensure that all sources (books, magazines and internet sites) used are up to date.”
As the part of the essay body, the student has used the data effectively and has made some good investigations related with the research question. However, the student should be able to explain more technical issue while doing the investigation by obtaining the data from the server log. Instead of explaining the process of the brute force, he may construct an algorithm that can explain from the technical side. For example, an algorithm of the brute force attack or a flowchart that described a Distributed Denial of Service that related with the data, is really good to make this part more extended.

D. KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING OF TOPIC STUDIED
“The student is expected to be capable of coherently discussing the topic, hence demonstrating a sound knowledge of computing within the chosen area and an ability to explain academic concepts to a degree that shows a full understanding. The knowledge and concepts should go beyond those called for in the current Computer science guide.”
In my opinion, the student has done his research and has written down some of the knowledge about the protection method and used some of the computer security terminologies. The discussion of some issues of WordPress are quite clear, even though is not deeper. Some of the terminologies has used without any further explanation, such as Nginx, AJAX, .htaccess, .htpasswd, etc. It would be good if before including these terms into part of the essay, the student has given short description about these terms first. But, in short, the student has mastered some understanding from this part.

E. REASONED ARGUMENT
“Students should be aware of the need to give their essays the backbone of a developing argument. Personal views should not simply be stated but need to be supported by reasoned argument or experimentation to persuade the reader of their validity. Straightforward descriptive or narrative accounts that lack analysis do not usually advance an argument and should be avoided.”
The students has shown a fair analysis according to what I’ve seen. He has shown several methods to overcome the weakness of the blog, however he has not made a good and deep analysis to explain more about it. For example, a comparison of each method can be made, followed with the analysis of the benefits and/or drawback of each method. The usage of the real data obtained from the real case is also recommended, so the analysis will be more accurate. So it will answer some questions, such as why Nginx should be used in order to prevent attack, or how effective .htaccess and .htpasswd file can be used to secure the website etc.

F. APPLICATION OF ANALYTICAL AND EVALUATE SKILLS APPROPRIATE TO THE SUBJECT
“A computer science extended essay demands that the student applies logical, critical and creative thinking to a specific topic, as well as showing an appreciation of the consequences arising from technological development.”
For this criterion, I have seen some efforts has made, but it’s only small portions of it. This criterion will assess the application of analytical and evaluate skill of the student, which in this case, require the student to apply to the related case. I have read that the student has tried to explain some methods in accordance preventing the attack, however the analysis was not deep enough, as well as some of the terms were not clearly explained.

G. USE OF LANGUAGE APPROPRIATE TO THE SUBJECT
“The effective use of computer science terminology includes the appropriate use of technical vocabulary. Layman terms for computer parts and systems should NOT be used.”
As mentioned, some of terminologies has used,  but it’s not clearly explained, thus it will show that the student has lack of skill or understanding in his effort to explain the terms.

H. CONCLUSION
“Consistent is the key word here: the conclusion should develop out of the argument and NOT introduce new or extraneous matter. It should not repeat the material of the introduction; rather, it should present a new synthesis in light of the discussion. It should be evident from the conclusion that the student has fully understood the implications of the topic and is able to make a clear, independent evaluation.”
From what I’ve seen, the student has somehow give some brief introduction in the first paragraph of his conclusion. Later, the student has tried to make a conclusion from what he has been researching, the evaluation should be made as a closing of the conclusion that indicates the student has fully understood about his research. A new synthesis has appeared in the last paragraph, however it seems not relevant with the evaluation that has made.

I. FORMAL PRESENTATION
“This criterion relates to the extent to which the essay conforms to academic standards about the way in which research papers should be presented. The presentation of essays that omit a bibliography or that do not give references for quotations is deemed unacceptable (level 0). Essays that omit one of the required elements—title page, table of contents, page numbers—are deemed no better than satisfactory (maximum level 2), while essays that omit two of them are deemed poor at best (maximum level 1). Program code should generally be placed in an appendix. Where it needs to be included within the body of the essay, each line of code should count as two words when calculating the length of the essay, while any internal documentation of a program fragment should be ignored.”
The documentation has met all of the requirement.

J. ABSTRACT
“The extent to which the abstract states clearly the investigated research question, how the investigation was undertaken and the conclusion of the essay. The abstract is judged on the clarity with which it presents an overview of the research and the essay, not on the quality of the research question itself, nor on the quality of the argument or the conclusions.”
The abstract clearly states all the elements listed above.

K. HOLISTIC JUDGEMENT
“Qualities that are rewarded under this criterion include the following.
– Intellectual initiative: Ways of demonstrating this in computer science essays include using sources other than the internet and printed resources to gain information that could not have been found otherwise.
– Insight and depth of understanding: These are most likely to be demonstrated as a consequence of detailed research, reflection that is thorough and well-informed, and reasoned argument that consistently and effectively addresses the research question.
– Creativity: This can be shown in many ways, for example, by using an unusual but effective approach, by taking a controversial, but credible, stance or by extrapolating an extra logical step when forming a conclusion.”
In student’s essay, I don’t see any demonstrating skill which belong originally to the student, we can see the student has fair understanding about the topic and no creativity skill appeared as expected.

 

SECOND ESSAY
“HOW DOES QUANTUM CRYPTOGRAPHY WORK THAT IS FEASIBLE TO REPLACE THE CONVENTIONAL CRYPTOGRAPHY METHOD, ESPECIALLY IN INFORMATION SECURITY?”

A. RESEARCH QUESTION
“Although the aim of the essay can best be defined in the form of a question, it may also be presented as a statement or proposition for discussion. It must be:
specific and sharply focused
– appropriate to the particular area of computer science being explored
– centered on computer science and not on peripheral issues such as the history of computing or the social implications of technology
– stated clearly early on in the essay.”
Actually it’s an interesting topic. The Research question has focused on another method of cryptography which is involving physics to create hard-to-break algorithm. However, the implication could be too large, cause the student didn’t make a focus on a particular industry, such as financial and banking or other company.

B. INTRODUCTION
“The extent to which introduction makes clear how the research question relates to existing knowledge on the topic and explains how the topic chosen is significant and worthy of investigation. The introduction should relate the research question to existing subject knowledge, putting it into context. Basic computing knowledge can be assumed and it is not expected that students write lengthy sections explaining theory that is common knowledge or part of the syllabus of the computer science course.”
The Introduction part was good. The student has tried to explain from the classical cryptography. However, there was some unclear symbol of equation which remains unexplained and student should include some information of quantum cryptography in her introduction, as her whole essay is about researching the quantum cryptography, not the classic one.

C. INVESTIGATION
“The range and type of sources available will be influenced by various factors, but above all by the topic chosen. For example, if runs of a program are carried out to test an algorithm for efficiency against an alternative one then the data must be adequate. Any statistics collected should be reliable and relevant to the research question. It is also important to consult a large number of sources. Particular care should be taken in such a rapidly changing area to ensure that all sources (books, magazines and internet sites) used are up to date.”
There’s limited attempt to do the investigation. There’s a large portion in the body of the essay that explains about the theory of the quantum according to physics, and there’s an effort to relate it with computer science. However, it seems only explaining theory without any further research on the investigation nor comparison of the quantum and classical cryptography. The usage of the computer science terminology is also rarely seen, hence the case study that student used is not appropriate.

D. KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING OF TOPIC STUDIED
“The student is expected to be capable of coherently discussing the topic, hence demonstrating a sound knowledge of computing within the chosen area and an ability to explain academic concepts to a degree that shows a full understanding. The knowledge and concepts should go beyond those called for in the current Computer science guide.”
In my opinion, the student has made a good and long explanation about the theory of quantum cryptography. But still, she needs to involve some parts of  computer science studies, such as creating an algorithm for the implementation of quantum cryptography in a real case. For example, using the theory that she has explained in her essay’s body, the student should be able to create an algorithm that shows how the quantum cryptography actually works, calculating the time complexity of each algorithm between quantum and classical cryptography, show the evidence why quantum cryptography has claimed to be unhackable etc.

E. REASONED ARGUMENT
“Students should be aware of the need to give their essays the backbone of a developing argument. Personal views should not simply be stated but need to be supported by reasoned argument or experimentation to persuade the reader of their validity. Straightforward descriptive or narrative accounts that lack analysis do not usually advance an argument and should be avoided.”
As mentioned in previous criterion, the student has provided some explanation about quantum theorem in her essay body. But I hardly see a real experiment has made for this purpose. Therefore, we cannot see any analysis for quantum cryptography has been made for the student. May be some effort has made for doing this, but it’s still considered lack analysis.

F. APPLICATION OF ANALYTICAL AND EVALUATE SKILLS APPROPRIATE TO THE SUBJECT
“A computer science extended essay demands that the student applies logical, critical and creative thinking to a specific topic, as well as showing an appreciation of the consequences arising from technological development.”
For this criterion, I couldn’t see that the student has applied any part of her theory into her own research. Making a Computer Science essay means you need to apply all of your analysis into a real experiment, if possible, to express your critical and creative thinking, which is hardly seen in this essay.

G. USE OF LANGUAGE APPROPRIATE TO THE SUBJECT
“The effective use of computer science terminology includes the appropriate use of technical vocabulary. Layman terms for computer parts and systems should NOT be used.”
As mentioned, some of terminologies has used,  but it’s not clearly explained, thus it will show that the student has lack of skill or understanding in her effort to explain the terms.

H. CONCLUSION
“Consistent is the key word here: the conclusion should develop out of the argument and NOT introduce new or extraneous matter. It should not repeat the material of the introduction; rather, it should present a new synthesis in light of the discussion. It should be evident from the conclusion that the student has fully understood the implications of the topic and is able to make a clear, independent evaluation.”
From what I’ve seen, the student has somehow give some brief introduction in the first paragraph of her conclusion. Later, the student has tried to make a conclusion from what she has been researching, the evaluation should be made as a closing of the conclusion that indicates the student has fully understood about her research. Thus, I cannot see a new synthesis appeared at the end of the conclusion as expected.

I. FORMAL PRESENTATION
“This criterion relates to the extent to which the essay conforms to academic standards about the way in which research papers should be presented. The presentation of essays that omit a bibliography or that do not give references for quotations is deemed unacceptable (level 0). Essays that omit one of the required elements—title page, table of contents, page numbers—are deemed no better than satisfactory (maximum level 2), while essays that omit two of them are deemed poor at best (maximum level 1). Program code should generally be placed in an appendix. Where it needs to be included within the body of the essay, each line of code should count as two words when calculating the length of the essay, while any internal documentation of a program fragment should be ignored.”
The documentation has met all of the requirement.

J. ABSTRACT
“The extent to which the abstract states clearly the investigated research question, how the investigation was undertaken and the conclusion of the essay. The abstract is judged on the clarity with which it presents an overview of the research and the essay, not on the quality of the research question itself, nor on the quality of the argument or the conclusions.”
The abstract clearly states all the elements listed above.

K. HOLISTIC JUDGEMENT
“Qualities that are rewarded under this criterion include the following.
– Intellectual initiative: Ways of demonstrating this in computer science essays include using sources other than the internet and printed resources to gain information that could not have been found otherwise.
– Insight and depth of understanding: These are most likely to be demonstrated as a consequence of detailed research, reflection that is thorough and well-informed, and reasoned argument that consistently and effectively addresses the research question.
– Creativity: This can be shown in many ways, for example, by using an unusual but effective approach, by taking a controversial, but credible, stance or by extrapolating an extra logical step when forming a conclusion.”
In student’s essay, I don’t see any demonstrating skill which belong originally to the student, we can see the student has fair understanding about the topic and no creativity skill appeared as expected.

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