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CSM00 Planning and Executing an MSc Project. Professor Anthony T. S. Ho. Overview. Aims of a dissertation How do I choose a topic? What are the research interests of the Department? How will the dissertation be assessed? How should I prepare myself to work on a dissertation?

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  • Aims of a dissertation

  • How do I choose a topic?

  • What are the research interests of the Department?

  • How will the dissertation be assessed?

  • How should I prepare myself to work on a dissertation?

  • Good examples of previous work


Aims of csm00
Aims of CSM00

  • Competently address one current problem in the broad area of Internet Computing or Information Systems or Multimedia Security

  • Describe and critically evaluate existing literature relevant to their topic thus demonstrating expertise in their field

  • Apply the concepts, techniques and methods they learned from taught element of the course in order to design a solution (typically a software system) for their chosen problem

  • Critically evaluate software tools and environments and choose the right combination in order to implement (fully or partially) their design

  • Assess their system by using appropriate metrics such as performance, user acceptance and feedback, security, etc

  • Develop skills in information gathering

  • Demonstrate ability to time manage tasks

  • Demonstrate ability to present project work both orally and written


Choosing a project
Choosing a Project

  • Two ways:

    • Department provides a suggested list of topics. These will be available mid October. Then fill in a ballot form on-line and we will allocate a supervisor for you. Details of the ballot will be sent by email in due course.

    • Come up with your own topic by beginning of December, 2007.

  • Everyone will need to fill in a dissertation supervision form before the end of the Autumn semester.


Formal methods and security
Formal Methods and Security

  • Formal Methods

    • Theory

    • Integrated methods applicable to UML

    • Development for hardware/software co-design

    • Biological modelling (theory underpinning nanotech assemblers)

    • Security modelling and analysis

  • Security

    • Digital watermarking technologies

    • Authentication

    • Steganography/steganalysis

    • E-voting


Software systems
Software Systems

  • Formal analysis of informal specs

  • Architectural issues for distributed systems/networks

    • Agent-based

    • Peer to peer

  • Test automation

  • Reliability estimation

  • Intelligent decision making

  • Context awareness


Biologically inspired modelling and applications
Biologically Inspired Modelling and Applications

  • Multimodal information processing and classification

  • Image processing and classification (medical; botanical)

  • Brain modelling/simulation

  • Bioinformatics

  • Natural language processing

  • Robotics


How does all our research fit together?




Image Processing

Analysis, and





and Classification





Watermarking and

Multimedia Security





Formal Methods

Software Systems




  • Written

    • Preparatory Phase Report – April 2008 (10%)

    • Final Dissertation Report - August 2008 (70%)

  • Oral

    • Preparatory Phase Presentation Mid March, 2008 (5%)

    • Final Presentation Viva Mid August, 2008 (15%)

  • Precise dates for deliverables are in the handbook

    • Make sure you allow enough time in your plans for this assessment and this is especially true at the end of the year, don’t book any flights home before it has all been assessed!


How should i spend my time
How should I spend my time?

  • Two main phases:

    • Preparatory Phase

      • 3-4 hours per week, January – April, 2008

      • Make a block of time in the timetable to work on your project

    • Full-time phase – 40 hours per week is reasonable

      • End of examinations – August, 2008

  • Does this mean I don’t have to do anything until after Christmas?

    • No, you’ve got to choose the topic this semester

    • Deadlines seem a long way of away but think about what inspires you in lectures to give you ideas about your topic, get ideas by attending Departmental Seminars and BCS evening meetings.


What resources are available
What resources are available?

  • http://www.computing.surrey.ac.uk/courses/csm00 will contain all the details about submission and other useful information

  • On-line searching for books/papers/research skills

    • http://liinwww.ira.uka.de/bibliography/index.html (accessed 11/11/05)

    • http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/~johnson/teaching/research_skills/basics.html(accessed 11/11/05)

  • Internet – but can’t guarantee quality

  • Make use of your supervisor

    • Regular meetings

    • Keep them informed of progress – be honest


Msc success stories
MSc success stories

  • Some students produce work of international publishable quality.

    • Vrusias, B., Vomvoridis, L., Gillam, L., Distributing SOM Ensemble Training using Grid Middleware, IEEE International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN 2007), Orlando, USA, August 2007.

    • X. Zhao, A.T.S. Ho, H. Treharne, V. Pankajakshan, C. Culnane, and W. Jiang, "A Novel Semi-Fragile Image Watermarking, Authentication and Self-restoration Technique Using the Slant Transform" accepted in a special issue of Circuits, Systems and Signal Processing (CSSP) published by Springer, to appear.

    • Culnane, C., Treharne, H., Ho, A.T.S., "A New Multi-Set Modulation Technique for Increasing Hiding Capacity of Binary Watermark for Print and Scan Processes," International Workshop on Digital Watermarking, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 4283, 2006.


Why were they success stories
Why were they success stories?

  • Clearly explained what was their starting point

    • Previous research work,implementation and/or experiments

    • E.g. in the case of the Binary Watermarking MSc, one research paper Zhou and Shi was used as the basis

  • Identified clear objectives

    • Identified weaknesses in previous work and ways to improve them

    • E.g improving capacity is key in Binary Watermarking

  • Implemented a system or built a model

  • Thorough evaluation and critical review of their work

    • Achieved by clear testing and comparison with other work in the area

    • Realistic about the outstanding issues still face


What makes it exciting for us
What makes it exciting for us?

  • We get to interact with students who are interested in challenging problems

  • We enjoy learning alongside our students about new state of the art research or evaluating new technologies

    • E.g. new video watermarking techniques or new Web 2.0 technologies such as DWR and AJAX, and many more