Doing an MSc, final year, or mini project with Achim Jung

Please note:

Achim is now fully booked for projects in the summer of 2017 and the academic year 2017/18.

Below I describe some general areas as well as some concrete project ideas:

Computing and Music

There are many ways in which computers can complement and support the creation of musical pieces, as well as provide features during playback. The challenge is to define a project that is not already covered by a commercial system.

Requirements: You must like music.

Computational modelling of physical laws and processes

The idea is to implement the (differential) equations that underlie physical laws as an interactive app that can run on a smart phone or a tablet. These apps can then be used in teaching to illustrate to students of physical science.

Requirements: These projects are only suitable for students with a strong background in Mathematics or Physics.

Curriculum development for Teaching Computer Science in schools

The teaching of computing in schools has changed and ICT has been replaced by Computer Science. However, there is not a lot of experience in how to teach the subject in a creative way. Projects in this area are about working out one particular topic of Computer Science at a level appropriate for school children. This can be geared towards small children or towards A-level students. Ideally, the project is combined with enrolment in the final year module "Teaching Computer Science in Schools" which will allow you to try out your project ideas in a real school. Note that most of the curriculum development will have to be done in the Autumn Semester as there is not enough time in the Spring to develop, implement and evaluate a course.

Requirements: You need to be enthusiastic about teaching young people.

Visualisation

Some algorithms contain very clever ideas which are hard to explain on the basis of program code alone. In these cases a visualisation of how a data structure evolves over time can be helpful. Sometimes the core of the algorithm comes from a completely different area such as Geometry, Physics, or Combinatorics. With a visualisation we can then try to illustrate the connection between the program and the non-computing field.

If you are interested in this then I can easily come up with a concrete Project idea for you and you can also suggest your own.

Requirements: Good programming skills are important but even more so a feeling for pedagogical concerns. Aesthetics is as important as technical correctness.

Generally, you should only attempt a project in these two areas if you are as enthusiastic as I am about teaching and education in general. (Perhaps it is worth pointing out that, from past experience, these projects are not "soft options".)

Programming support tools

What I have in mind here are code generators, analysers, or optimisers. You should be a very able programmer if you think you can create a tool to support other programmers.

Your idea

I am happy to consider supervising virtually any project that you are enthusiastic about. The list of past projects below gives you an idea of the range of topics that I have supervised in the past. Regarding these, please note that in many cases I would be happy to supervise a project with a similar specification again, because often it was not possible to implement all aspects of the original idea in the time available.

One important note: I will supervise a non-programming project only if you demonstrate mastery of practical programming through your workshop performance in Years 1 and 2. A minimum mark of 60% in the relevant exams is required.

If you are considering choosing me as your supervisor, then please download the following form (undergraduate, MSc students), fill in the questions, and bring it along to the meeting with me.

I should also warn you that I take my supervision duties very seriously, and will require weekly (email) reports from all project students. If you tend to leave things to the last minute then you will probably not enjoy working with me.

Past projects

  • Animation of material diffusion
  • Animation of ideal gas behaviour
  • Animatin of 3D crystal structures
  • An animation of tree algorithms
  • An animation of Bezier curves
  • An application of the travelling salesman problem
  • An animation of TCP/IP
  • An animation of traffic flow under different road lay-outs
  • A teaching tool for cellular automata
  • A C++ tutoring tool
  • A spatial awareness tool
  • A teaching tool for functional dependencies
  • A lift simulation
  • A workbench for evaluating graph algorithms
  • An HTML teaching tool
  • Visualising Dijkstra's Algorithm
  • A file management system
  • A Java programming environment
  • A Motif interface generator
  • A Swing interface generator
  • An assembly code optimiser
  • A 3D graphics engine
  • A de-Tex facility
  • Protecting audio data against unauthorised copying
  • A Taxi base system
  • A WWW geographical information system
  • A sensitive city map
  • Electronic watermarking (no programming)
  • An electronic voting system
  • An academic computing environment
  • A Java crossword puzzle applet
  • An online stock trading tool
  • Denotational semantics with coherent spaces

    Research interests

    I do not generally expect students in their third year to be able to do original research in my area. Too much mathematical background is needed which the course does not provide. However, for a student in the joint Math/Computer Science programme, a research oriented project is feasible.

    Semantic domains

    These are mathematical structures which are used to describe the behaviour of programs. Since programs can be recursive or iterative, extra work has to be done to model faithfully the potential for non-termination. Ideas from order theory, topology, and category theory are used in the study of domains.

    Denotational semantics

    This is the process of translating from a programming language into a mathematical model. Many questions arise regarding the accuracy of the translation itself as well as the kind of knowledge one can gain about the language.

    Lambda calculus

    Lambda calculus is a very pure notation for functional programming. Abstracting away from details of input/output, program variables etc, one can study computational phenomena in a very clean setting. Surprisingly, the calculus is extremely expressive and hence often serves as a metalanguage for describing other programming languages.

    Cryptography

    Cryptography is the science of concealing messages or proving their authenticity. The subject has become respectable with the advent of public key cryptosystems. In their design a lot of number theory and algebra is being used. That makes Cryptography interesting from a mathematical perspective. From the computer science side there are fascinating problems in setting up secure protocols which use cryptographic techniques.

    Databases

    My main interest in databases concerns the treatment of partial information. This touches upon logic and, again, domain theory, but is a very practical issue in database design as well.


    Last modified: 16 February 2017
    Achim Jung (A.Jung@cs.bham.ac.uk)