On Final Projects that I Can Supervise

Rules and guidelines

General rule: Ideally I can supervise your senior project (resp., master thesis) provided that I know you "enough", where "enough" can be interpreted broadly, but converging to "you took one of my courses". For the master level, I also require that you did reasonably well on those. For equivalent formulations of the above rule, please see me.

Working method

For senior design project, you can expect a well defined problem, that is not too hard.

For a master thesis, the topic may be less well defined and you need to navigate yourself in the topic and find your way through.

You can work on the topic as independently as you want. However, I will not let you alone in the dark, since I will organize some general meetings where certain techniques and problems will be presented. Depending on the topic, I expect you to attend all the meetings and events that may be related to your topic. On the meetings, I will be explaining relevant papers/material in enough detail such that you can proceed independently and work out the other details. Remember: the devil is in the details. I expect you to do converge towards the final write up in a timely fashion.


Here are the milestones of your journey towards the final product (i.e., thesis).
  1. First month. By the end of the first month you should know your topic and you should have reviewed the literature pertaining your topic.
  2. Second month. You should deliver in writing the structure and the working plan to me.
  3. Third month. You should deliver your first draft to me for review.
  4. Fourth month. You should deliver the final version.
Important note: If you fail to meet the milestones, I will unilaterally terminate our advisee-advisor relationship: nothing personal, no hard feelings.

Here are the topics. The ones marked with a (*) symbol are challenging ones.

1. Digital (anti)forensics

1.1. (*) Who knew the secret?

In the wake of the Snowden scandal, an interesting problem came to the surface. Its Alice and Bob against Eve. A secret bit is held by one of Alice or Bob. They both know who has the secret bit initially, but they do not both know the bit. After they perform a protocol, the secret bit is revealed to all, but they want to hide who was the initial bit-holder, even from Eve who hears everything and is not computationally limited.

A recent paper by Winkler established a new field "cryptoganography" a blend of cryptography and steganography. There are some interesting open questions there. You should read the paper and follow the path towards the open problems. Download the paper here.

1.2. Analyzing Android traffic

This topic includes mining through a typical traffic of several regular Android phones and track the presence of malicious pieces of software, leakages of private data (location, contact, etc.) A good starting point is: http://mobile.tutsplus.com/tutorials/android/analyzing-android-network-traffic/

1.3. An interesting problem that is under NDA

See me.

1.4. Software cracking and protection


2. Computing reliably

This is my preferred topic. I am currently focusing on the fault-tolerance of interesting computational models. I am also interested in the concept of the so called "weird machine" -- a machine that is hacked and is not obeying its program, or its program is altered somewhat.

Projects may include:
  1. building a simulator (senior thesis)
  2. study of fault-tolerance under various fault models
  3. verification
  4. Foundations of hacking: what does it mean to "hack" a computer or a network?

3. Novel computational models

I am very interested in the model of Nubots established here. M. Ozkul is focusing on it. This is somewhat theoretical model and a tough area, but if you are curious and dare to think on the construction of -- say --- molecular robots, this is a topic for you. Typically you would need to devise some algorithm for this new model (*), build a simulator for it, study its features etc.

4. Large volume computation

4.1. Working on huge graphs with GraphLab or MapReduce

4.2. Bitcoin mining

5. Computational biology

Years ago I was interested in philogenetic trees and in devising of host specificity indices in a host/parazyte relationships. Recent talk by B. Sinaimeri sparkled some ideas in my head. See me for more details.

6. Arduino and Raspberry Pi

Thanks to R. Mueller, I've been experimenting with the Arduino starter and Rasp Pi kits. I've managed to: remotely turn on/off my boilers, heating... I am looking for other ideas, but I am willing to supervise your quest for integrating your phone/pc/tablet with your environment. Here is the link: Link: http://arduino.cc/ and http://www.raspberrypi.org/

Last update: 03.01.2014
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