Doing a Project or
at the PADX lab
Making your thesis should be the summit of your education. So study
carefull the proposals we offer,
it with us and make up your choice to work at the PADX-lab... Once
about the topic, we have to make it a success! Therefore, we gathered
important aspects on this page...
What We Expect - Professional
Attitude - Practical Work - Thesis
Text - Presentation
Learn from these guidelines, but don't forget that every thesis is
meaning that you are your own boss and it is up to you to make the
We encourage personal touches. But don't forget to take into account
guidelines - after all we have the experience - and always
For more information, don't hesitate to contact: Jan Lemeire, http://parallel.vub.ac.be/~jan,
What We Expect
- What we expect
- always have all your papers with you when coming to me,
- before asking me what to do, always think first of a
- use maximally the documentation (our website, literature,
we offer you. Inform us about the things that are not explained clearly
or are incomplete, in order that we can improve our documentation!!
- regularly inform us about your latest advances and your
makes a good impression)
- make a planning with the things you still have to do
- What you have to learn
- not to forget the things (ideas, remarks, ...) you are told!!
like to repeat the same things. So write down the necessary. This is
an easy thing! (like assistants have to learn how to teach a student
- be sure to understand everything that is necessary, learn to
- learn to explain your work (improve your dutch/english if
is of great importance for the final presentation! We will ask to do
'test' presentations of the current status of your work during the
Anyway, doing presentations will be a very important part of your later
professional life. So I propose an informal presentation of the
of your work about each 2 months (let's say the first in December).
- professional attitude (see below)
- Make a personal webpage
- topic of your thesis
- Final result
- your code, text & representation on file
- practical user documentation, and all the necessary
who wants to continue your thesis
- I need this before your thesis defence!! Otherwise I
cut down your marks. Also don't forget to return all borrowed things.
- We'll ask for a contribution to the organisation of our lab
(eg write a
manual, documentation, a demo program)
- Your thesis is an investment in your professional future. You
a lot of practical experience. But only if you work and learn from our
guidelines and remarks.
- So I expect you to work hard, learn a lot and be creative.
A good attitude is necessary in every working environment. We also
that differences in culture make it necessary to explicitly state what
we expect. Moreover, this works in both ways. We feel highly
to guide you in your work, but only in a correct relationship!
- Teamwork, ok! but how? It is all about communication, respect and
- Respect any agreement, stick to it, otherwise inform the person!
have for example an appointment and you can't come, inform as soon as
Similar, if you're asked to do something, it's better to admit you
do it than to try to conceal it.
- In some cultures it is inappropriate to say no or to
disagree. Bear in mind that this is totally the opposite in western
professional culture: we expect people to say no if they disagree, it
almost impolite not to do so!! We think that a good relationship only
if we know what the other really thinks. So, don't be surprised if you
are criticized: we want to be honest and we belief criticism is the
way to learn from your mistakes.
- Learn the technical things: OS, programming language, database
- Review the theory (the courses)
- Performa literature study
- Work on the project following its 'lifecycle':
- requirements analysis
- functional & technical design
- prototype development
- discuss your proposals for each step with your supervisor, so
from his remarks and he can prevent you of making errors that will
your project greatly.
About the thesis text
- it should contain the following:
- title page (with VUB-logo)
- an abstract: short explanation of what your thesis is about and
results are!! This should immediately very clear for the listeners,
they will be wondernig for 20 minutes where your talk is actually about.
- an introduction
- with an overview of all chapters
- chapters that explain the general theoretical things
- the chapters with your work and results
- end with a conclusion (summary about the goals that are
a future work list (this will show that you understand the topic!!) and
personal notes about your experiences and what you have learned during
- reference list
- write down all references: all
to do the thesis (books, websites, manuals, another thesis, ...), also
mention what technical information you used/needed (about the
- see here how to put them
- also add where you found it (library, PADX lab, on file) and
of a few lines (was it interesting, which chapters, what did you learn
from it, etc)
- eventually an appendix
- start with making up a clear structure of the text
- as the abstract, introduction and conclusion are the most
of your thesis, don't write them at the end!!! Let them be reviewed by
- let it be clear what your work is: state it
your text (& the results)
- use diagrams to explain the structure and aspects of your
- explain the process of your thesis development
- eg the interview of the user for the requirements!
- mention and motivate all special things of your thesis
- eg: things that go against the theory
- eg: your database is design is against a normalisation form
- this is not a problem if you motivate your decision
- otherwise you'll get this remark anyway...
- only add the theory to your text, that you applied! And
you used the theory correctly.
- eg: if you talk about normalisation of a database, you should
About the presentation
This is may all seem very obvious, but we see encounter these errors
all the time...
- duration (and not a second longer! So time it when you exercise
- for ir & MACS: 20 minutes
- for licentiaten: 15 minutes
- start with explaining what the goal of your thesis is, what your
conclude with a brief overview of your talk. You have to 'sell' your
to the jury!
- keep the introduction & theory short (max 5 minutes), the
part is your work (let it be clear what your work is!)
- you can for instance mention the theory while
by this prooving that you used it
- use a clear structure, it should always be clear what you
and why you did it
- the global story (red line) should always be clear, this is
than that the jury misses some details
- don't go into too much detail, eg don't talk about implementation
your talk must give an overview of your work and its results
- your talk should be fluently and natural:
- never put full sentences on your slides!! Only keywords which
- don't read your text from a paper!!
- these 2 points prevent you from talking unnatural by reading a
is really annoying.
- preferabilly, use no animation (offered by powerpoint), this just
the attention away...
- don't put too much text on 1 slide, not too much complicated
- speak loud and clear!! Look at the listeners when you speak.
- exercise at home (and time it!)