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HOCOS Bachelor-/Master Theses

 

Our institute always searches for motivated students who want to do a bachelor or master thesis.

Please check our "Frequently asked questions" below before applying for theses.

Frequently asked questions regarding Bachelor and Master theses

Thank you for your interest in writing a thesis in our department. A thesis is, in most cases, the part of your education where you get closest to actual science, and we are committed to make this essential period of your life successful, plannable, but also enjoyable! We have put together answers to several frequently asked questions. Note that they relate to the Hardware-oriented Computer Science group (HOCOS, Prof. Polian).

Where can I find a list of available topics?

We do not have such a list. Instead, we formulate, together with you, a topic that is related to what we are working on and that at the same time fits your interests and qualifications. Contact the professor or a staff member by email or in person, and we will organize an appointment.

What documents should I enclose to this email?

Our questionnaire (“Expression of Interest”) and your current grade sheet. If you have completed a degree already, add the grade sheet from that degree. We may request further documents later.

What will happen during this appointment?

Most likely, you will hear questions about what kind of topics you are interested in and what skills you want to develop or improve during your thesis. For example, you may be interested in a more theoretical study, methodical work, put focus on software development or hardware design, and/or work on a specific domain. We will also ask about your prior experiences and qualifications (which subjects you took and which programming/description languages and tools you are familiar with).

Can I suggest my own topic?

Yes! But please understand that we cannot supervise you in areas outside our expertise. Even if you are not certain, make a suggestion and let’s discuss further. For example, we cannot supervise work on pedestrian recognition, because we are (currently) not working on it, but we could develop a topic such as making existing pedestrian-recognition methods more reliable or secure.

Can I write my thesis in a company?

This is possible in principle but under specific conditions. In short, topics formulated and announced by companies without any prior interaction with us are not suitable in 99% of cases. We strongly prefer topics within a framework of running collaborations; please ask us if you are interested. If the company has no running cooperation with us (yet) but is willing to discuss the topic and develop it, we are open. In a nutshell, the topic must fall into our areas of competence and have a scientific background and at least a slight methodical component; we will not “supervise” (re-)implementation projects. It must be clear to you that all expectations on an academic thesis apply (for example, we expect a review of scientific literature on the topic even if the industrial partner is not interested in it). Having to rely on your cooperation partner regarding, e.g., access to data or software, constitutes a risk, and you alone are bearing this risk. Moreover, all questions regarding intellectual property, non-disclosure or publishing of the results of the thesis must be settled before you begin the work. This step can involve the University’s legal department and can lead to delays of unknown duration. Note that Master theses must be reviewed by two professors, and if the company is insisting on a non-disclosure agreement, it will be your job to find the second reviewing professor and convince him or her to sign that agreement.

What prerequisites should I have?

We strongly prefer candidates who took our courses (e.g., RO2 in Bachelor; EDA, HOS, RSD in Master) and passed them with a good grade (2.3 or better). Moreover, you should have done a seminar, ideally one that had been offered by our department (then you know our expectations on writing, presenting, deadlines etc. to some extent). You do need in-depth knowledge in one of our areas of expertise to write a meaningful thesis, and if you did not take advanced courses in our field, you will have to acquire this knowledge through self-study at the same time as working on the actual thesis. Please understand that we cannot guarantee accepting you even if you took a course with us, as this depends on our current workload and capacity.

We found a suitable topic; how do we proceed?

You will be asked to formulate, in your own words, a 1-2 page summary of the objectives for your work (similar to a proposal). It will usually go through several iterations, and the final agreed-upon text will be the basis for evaluation of what you have achieved in the end. The purpose of having this text is to avoid later misunderstandings what you were supposed to do and what not. After this summary has been fixed, we will make a supervision contract; you may have to sign a few documents if you will need to use our lab facilities, software, equipment, and the like.

Can I take a few weeks/months off during my thesis work?

This is an extremely bad idea. Once you register your thesis, the clock starts ticking and you must submit whatever you have by the end of the period. If you have an exciting trip, a multi-week visit to your relatives, an internship or some other interesting activity incompatible with the thesis, please start your thesis after this activity or, even better, delay your activity until after the thesis. It is equally undesired that you request a topic, get a suggestion, and then disappear without registering the thesis. Expect that “your” topic will be given to somebody else in such a case and will not be reserved for you. If you do have a justification for a break (e.g., a sickness or an unforeseeable family situation), apply for an extension through the Examination Office. Whether the extension will be granted will be decided by that office, and our staff will not be involved in this decision.

Can my research be published?

It is quite common that a thesis work results in a scientific publication. If work that resulted from a thesis is presented at a conference, we will try to support you attending that conference.

How do I write up the thesis?

You can orient yourself on our documentation on how to write seminar summaries. In short, your text should give the reader the answer to the following questions:

  1. What problem are you solving? Is it of practical or theoretical importance, or both? Are there specific application scenarios that would benefit from your result?
  2. What fundamentals are required to formulate the problem and your solution approach?
  3. Are you the first person trying to solve this problem, or has there been other work on it? Who else was or is considering this problem, and how does your approach differ? What are the key differences from related problem formulations?
  4. What approach do you follow to solve the problem, and why? What do you expect to achieve? For instance, do you want to answer a question for the first time, to improve an existing solution, to transfer an approach into a setting where it has not been used before?
  5. What did you achieve after your work, and how does this relate to the expectations you had upfront? What methods to validate the correctness and/or performance of your solution exist in principle, which of these methods did you employ, and what came out? If you had a hypothesis, could you verify or falsify it? If you wanted to improve something, did you improve it, and by how much? Note that failure to achieve the initial objectives is normal in non-trivial scientific work and does not necessarily lead to a bad grade; what matters is your methodology, hardness of evidence, and what you learned from the (negative) outcome.

We do not require a rigid structure of your thesis, but you can start with five chapters following the five points above (Introduction; Preliminaries; Related Work; My Solution; Experimental Results) and refine this structure if needed. Add an abstract (half a page) and a conclusion with an outlook. When writing, assume that the reader knows the fundamentals of Computer Science from the first two years of a Bachelor program. Provide intuition of what you are doing, but not at the expense of correctness; in particular, demonstrate your ability to work rigorously in the Preliminaries session.

Are there formal requirements beyond this document?

Yes, please check the regulations of the Examination Office (in German):
www.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/fachbereich/gremien/pruefungsausschuesse/Abschlussarbeit/Richtlinien/index.html
For InfoTech students, there is some further information on an English website:
www.uni-stuttgart.de/infotech/support/downloads/index.html

 

ES - Master / Bachelor Theses

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