A CS4FN look at Computer Science PhDs

The first major step to a research career in Computer Science is to do a PhD. PhDs can study many different things. The one thing they must do is make a contribution to knowledge (sometimes big, usually small).

The result of a PhD is a dissertation: a very detailed technical document. Here are a collection of CS4FN articles on a variety of different PhD projects in often interdisciplinary Computer Science that aims to give a flavour of what different people’s PhDs were about …

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

How do you ensure you are making a contribution to knowledge? Number one is to follow rigorous methods. You also need to set out a clear research question that will result in a clear answer (one way or another). You find it based on a literature review. It helps you find a gap in knowledge to fill and also a foundation upon which to build.

The final thesis is an argument that provides solid conclusions based on evidence you have collected (using rigorous methods so rigorous evidence) about the answer to your research question. A good scientist does not, however, set out to prove their pet theory, they set out to disprove it. Only if you fail to disprove it when trying hard to do so, can you have any confidence in your conclusion.

Vanessa Pope: studying comedy with computers

Comedians are experts at sounding both funny and exciting,  even when they’ve told the same joke hundreds of times. Maybe speech technology could learn a thing or two from comedians… that is what Vanessa Pope’s research was about.…(read on)

Jeremiah Onaolapo: the cyber-security honeypot

To catch criminals, whether old-fashioned ones or cybercriminals, you need to understand the criminal mind. You need to understand how they think and how they work. Jeremiah Onaolapo, for his PhD research created cyber-honeypots to find out how cybercriminals really operate …(read on)

Jiayu Song: Opinions, opinions, opinions

Multicoloured speech bubbles with a colourful cross-hairs target in the centre

Social media is full of people’s opinions, whether about politics, movies, things they bought, celebrities or just something in the news. However, sometimes there is just too much of it. Sometimes, you just want an overview. PhD student Jiayu Song is working on automatically summarising opinions with her supervisor, Professor Maria Liakata. It is all about finding a point that represents the “central” meaning… (read on)

Kavin Narasimhan: Understanding parties

Kavin Narasimhan studied how people move and form groups at parties, creating realistic computer models of what is going on. Her work could help avatars and robots behave more realistically, for example. … (read on)

Joyce Wheeler: the life of a star

Exploding star

The first computers transformed the way research is done. One of the very first computers, EDSAC, contributed to the work of three Nobel prize winners: in Physics, Chemistry and Medicine. Astronomer, Joyce Wheeler was an early researcher to make use of the potential of computers to aid the study of other subjects in this way… (read on)

Christine Farion: Smart Bags

In our stress-filled world with ever increasing levels of anxiety, it would be nice if technology could sometimes reduce stress rather than just add to it. That is the problem that QMUL’s Christine Farion set out to solve for her PhD. She wanted to do something stylish too, so she created a new kind of bag: a smart bag … (read on)

Antonella Mazzoni: Mood Gloves

The music and sound effects play a big part in setting the mood of a film. If you are to feel the shivers down your spine, it’s probably the music. QMUL’s Antonella Mazzoni wondered if other senses could contribute too … and designed a Mood Glove to find out…. (read on)

More to come (of course)

This page was funded by UKRI, through grant EP/W033615/1.