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Software Engineering Individual Research Project

COMP4730 (6cp) and COMP4540 (12cp)

Fourth year software engineering students can apply to do an individual research-oriented project instead of the group project. You need to get permission from the software engineering convenor Dr Shayne Flint and the Honours convenor Dr Weifa Liang; normally, this form of project is restricted to students with a Distinction average on all computing courses they took in their 2nd and 3rd years.

Doing a research project enables you to demonstrate your own inventive abilities and to work one to one with a supervisor on a topic which is usually related with his or her own current research. You will learn how to perform research literature survey, how to form a cost model, how to introduce your own theory or hypothesis, and how to conduct experiments to validate your theory or evaluate your algorithms performance, etc. In the end, you usually create some working software which contributes to the research area, and report the results by writing a research thesis plus a short software engineering process report. You can see some archive examples of previous theses--in 2003, 2005, and 2007. Notice that the software engineering reports were included in the theses. This kind of project and report constitutes a good supporting evidence of your research abilities and experience if you want to apply to do postgraduate research, towards a PhD. But first you have to find a project topic.

Topics are usually proposed by academics who are willing to supervise your work. You don't have to be constrained by what you see on the Honours web site project list Honours Research Topics . If you have something that you would like to work on as a project, then feel free to discus it with potential supervisors who are academia or full-time researchers at SoCS, NICTA and CSIRO, or the Honours convenor Dr Weifa Liang to see if it could form the basis of an honours research project and to identify a possible supervisor.

The structure of BSEng individual research project

Students are required to take a 18 unit research project. This 18 unit project is taken over 2 semesters by enrolling in COMP4730 (6 units) plus COMP4540 (12 units).
The project is taken by enrolling in course COMP4540 (usually in semester 2), preceded by the smaller preparatory course COMP4730 with the same supervisor (usually in semester 1).

The results for both courses will be reported at the end of the main project comp4540. The grade will be the same for both courses.

In principle, each research project will require

  1. two seminar presentations (one is in the end of 1st semester and another is in the end of 2nd semester)
  2. thesis report (no less than 80 pages is recommended), which is almost identical to the regular Honours thesis
  3. the retrospective of the project (no less than 5 pages) will be submitted separately. The past examples can be seen from Chapter 9 (p. 85) and Appendices G and H of the thesis by Toben Schou in 2007,
    or Appendix D (p. 97+) "Observations on the Development Process and Web Services" of the thesis by Tim West in 2005

The thesis submission deadline is at 3:00pm, Oct. 30, 2009. Bring FOUR hard copies of double-side printed your thesis to Ms Julie Arnold and an electronic copy in PDF to Dr Weifa Liang. Three copies of your project retrospective will be submitted by 5:00pm on Nov. 2, 2009 (Monday) to Julie as well.

The final seminar will be held at the seminar room of Ian Ross Building on Oct. 15 from 9:00am to 12:50pm. You can see previous BSEng (Hons) theses as examples of the scope of work and reporting.

Thesis assessment

Each thesis will be assessed by two academic staff and the retrospective will be marked by an academic staff whom is working in Software Engineering. The final marks are calculated as follows.

  1. the written thesis is worth 80%
  2. two seminars are worth 10%, and each is worth 5%
  3. the retrospective of software engineering project is worth 10%.