About Capstones

Student laser tag

Capstone are senior-level project courses that allow you to solve a substantial problem with knowledge gained from many areas in computer science and engineering. Students work in teams to define a problem, develop a solution, produce and demonstrate an artifact that solves the problem, and present their work. Class time focuses on the project design and implementation, but it may also include lectures on the practical application of advanced topics. Interdisciplinary projects that require interaction with other departments are encouraged.

A Capstone course is not simply an advanced course in a particular sub-area, nor is it an unstructured project course. A Capstone is designed to be a culmination of your learning, and a chance to develop and express many skills at once: For example, technical expertise and communication ability.

Capstone Goals

  • Projects must be large enough to require teams of several students to work on over one quarter.
  • Students must apply concepts from more than one sub-area of CSE (at the 300-level and above).
  • The work must involve a substantial design effort.
  • Students must present their work using formal oral presentations and written reports.
  • Efforts must culminate in an interesting, working artifact.

Links of Interest

Capstone Registration

Capstone pre-registration has closed but there should be room in every capstone during normal registration periods. If you are a graduating CE or CSEM 5th year masters student and have trouble getting into a capstone, please let us know.

We'll notify people of their Capstone placement and send add codes for Autumn Capstones. After this initial survey, any remaining space will open in the courses during normal registration. If you have further questions, please contact the advising staff at ugrad-adviser@cs.

Computer Engineering majors are required to complete a capstone course as part of their graduation requirements. Computer Science majors are encouraged to take a Capstone, although it is not required for CS. CS students are welcome to register for remaining capstone space but we will not be pre-registering CS majors due to space limitations.

2020-2021 Capstones

Fall 2020

  • CSE 481DS: Data Science Capstone - Tim Althoff

    • Pre-req: CSE 332, 312 and one of (446, 442, 344)

    • Description: Data analysis is a central activity for scientific research and is increasingly a critical part of decision making in government and business. However, producing reliable data analysis outcomes is challenging since the decisions made throughout the analysis process can dramatically affect the eventual outcome. The Data Science Capstone focuses on the complete end-to-end process of data analysis performed with code: the iterative, and often exploratory, steps that analysts go through to turn data into results. Our focus is not limited to statistical modeling or machine learning, but rather the complete process, including transformation, exploration, modeling, and evaluation choices. Students will work in groups of three or four on a single project that will tie together and apply previous experiences from CSE 312, 332, 446, 442, 344, and other classes. Students are expected to already possess knowledge of appropriate machine learning, visualization and database methods, and will focus on independently applying those methods in the context of your project. There will therefore be little lecture material in this course. Course staff will instead work closely with students to critique and advise on their group project. Students will experience the end-to-end data analysis process from transformation and exploration of data to modeling and evaluation. Your group will brainstorm on a project during the first week, before collaboratively exploring the data and implementing a complete data analysis workflow. This capstone course gives hands-on experience with selecting a data science question, and with crafting and evaluating a data science process to answer that question. CSE students should have completed CSE 332 and CSE 312, and at least one of CSE 446, CSE 442, or CSE 344. There are no other requirements for participating in this capstone class.

Winter 2021

  • CSE 481i: Sound and Media Capstone - Bruce Hemingway

    • Pre-req: CSE 351, 332 and ideally one 400

    • Description: This capstone will build projects utilizing computer audio and video techniques for human interfacing, sound and video recording and playback, encoding and decoding, synchronization, sound synthesis, recognition, and analysis/resynthesis. Projects may contain any types of media. Students will work in teams to design, implement, and release a software project utilizing some of the techniques such as those in the links below.

    • We have two Oculus-VR development kits, two Tobii EyeX Eye-tracking Controllers, and 15 Leap Motion controllers for use in building musical/audio/media interfaces. We also have three Nvidia Jetson TX1 Developer Kits for high-performance Deep Neural Network learning and computer vision.

  • CSE 481 S: Security Capstone - Kohno

    • Prereq: CSE 484 (CE students graduating in fall who have not completed 484, please send email asap to ugrad-adviser@cs.washington.edu)

    • Description: Student teams will be tasked with creating a computer security themed product. The work will progress from product conception to requirements to design to implementation to evaluation. Along the way, students will incorporate key computer security tools and practices, including threat modeling, penetration testing, and bug fixing. Examples include password managers, censorship resistance systems, and mobile payment systems.

  • CSE 482: Accessibility Capstone - Anat Caspi

    • Prereq: (recommended) CSE 490 D, (recommended) CSE440

    • Notes: This course has a DIV designation and fulfills the diversity requirement

    • Description: Accessibility is quickly emerging as a leading consideration for product design and engineering. Disability is part of the human condition – almost everyone will be temporarily or permanently impaired at some point in life, and those who survive to old age will experience increasing difficulties. Disability is complex and heterogeneous, and the technological interventions to accommodate different abilities are wide ranging and vary with context. Many familiar technologies like voice recognition, text-to-speech, and gaze detection were initially engineered to assist people with disabilities gain more access and increase participation in daily life. Students will work in interdisciplinary project teams that include community members with expertise on project needs. Groups will follow participatory design practices and apply design and engineering skills to create technology solutions that increase independence and improve quality of life for people of all abilities. Teams will complete one end-to-end product iteration cycle: ideation, design, specification refinement, prototype and usability testing 

Spring 2021

  • CSE 428 A: Computational Biology Capstone

    • Description: Designs and implements a software tool or software analysis for an important problem in computational molecular biology. 

    • Prerequisites: CSE 312; CSE 331; CSE 332

  • CSE 481 C: Neural Engineering Capstone - Rajesh Rao

    • Description: Design, build and present a prototype device or software tool that solves an important problem in neural engineering. Examples include interfaces based on combining AI with brain-, muscle-, and/or eye-tracking signals to control computers or robotic devices, virtual reality approaches to improving neural function, and machine learning-based software tools for analyzing large-scale neural data.

    • Prerequisites: (Recommended) CSE 490N, (Recommended) CSE 446 or CSE 473

  • CSE 481 H: HCI Capstone - Reinecke

    • Students will work in groups of three or four on a single project that parallels the experience of delivering an interactive prototype within a company or with a customer. Students are expected to already possess knowledge of appropriate HCI methods, and will focus on independently applying those methods in the context of your project. There will therefore be little lecture material in this course. Course staff will instead work closely with students to critique and advise on their group project. Students will experience the end-to-end product cycle from design to deployment.
  • CSE 481 N: Natural Language Processing Capstone - Noah Smith
    • Prereq: CSE 447, CSE446 (ML) is recommended
    • Description: Algorithms that deal with text or speech, either as inputs as outputs, are increasingly part of our everyday lives.  Systems that translate accurately between languages, read many documents and summarize or answer questions about them, and even hold conversations with us, are on the horizon. Successfully designing and implementing such systems requires understanding and integration of ideas from linguistics, statistics, and computation, and testing them rigorously requires a strong grasp of experimental methodology.  This capstone course gives hands-on experience with selecting a natural language processing problem and with crafting and evaluating a solution.
  • CSE 481 V : Virtual and Augmented Reality - Ira Kemelmacher-Shlizerman

    • Prerequisites: CSE 332, and at least 1, CSE 400 level course recommended

    • Description: Virtual and Augmented reality are promising technologies that are certain to make an impact on the future of business and entertainment. In this capstone, students will work in small project teams to build applications and prototype systems using state of the art Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology.  Seattle is a nexus of VR tech, with Oculus Research, Valve, Microsoft (hololens), Google (cardboard, jump), and teams in the area.  We will be developing on the latest VR/AR headsets and platforms, and will bring in leading VR experts for lectures and to supervise student projects.  Students will experience the  end-to-end product cycle from design to deployment, and learn about VR/AR technology and applications. The capstone culminates in a highly anticipated demo day where the students demonstrate their creations to other students, faculty and industry luminaries. (See Video)

  • CSE 482 K: Technology for Resource Constrained Environments - Richard Anderson
    • Prereqs: CSE 351 and 332
    • Description: Students will work on group project that use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to address global needs with an emphasis on developing countries.  While ICTs are having an enormous impact on livelihoods worldwide, deployment environments vary dramatically based on available infrastructure and technologies accessible to people.    Areas of projects could include: health information systems,  data collection technologies,  applications for basic mobile phones,  user interface design for low literate populations,  behavior change communication, voice based social networks, community cellular networks,  open source projects for global good, low-cost smartphones, satellite image analysis or mobile financial services targeting domains including health, education, agriculture, finance, and livelihood.