```Key Skills
Project Choice
David R. Selviah
Department of Electronic and
Electrical Engineering
University College London
E-Mail: d.selviah@ee.ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 020 7679 3056
Fax: 020 7388 9325
1
Key Skills
Outline







Introduction, Motivation
The 3rd Year Project
Choosing a Project
Daily Activities
Choosing a Subject
Think of your own idea, Course Choices

Define Project with Supervisor
Curriculum Vitae

Checklist, Daily Activities Table


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Key Skills
Introduction
The purpose of this talk is

to provide you with a common tutorial experience about
how to choose a project

to challenge how you might otherwise have chosen a
project and your decision making process

to give you unified guidelines on how to write a curriculum
vitae (CV)
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Key Skills
Into the Project

In embarking on a project you will be stepping away from
the educational world you know where
All
equations can be solved analytically
A function
You
is always simple like a cosine or a Gaussian.
are told what is important.
You
are provided with comprehensive lecture notes
which contain all the facts to solve the problem.
You
are told which books contain all the answers.
Your

tutor knows the way to solve the problem.
You will be stepping into the real world where none of this
is true.
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Key Skills
Into the Project

The project guidelines are at
http://www.ee.ucl.ac.uk/~afernand/ProjGuideStudents.html
Direct queries to the project co-ordinator :Dr Fernandez

In the project
You
are in charge giving you freedom but
responsibility
You
need to decide what is important
You
need to search for it or develop it.

The supervisors job is not to tell you what to do next so
don’t expect him to do that.

It is your job to work out what to do next, knowing the goal
to be achieved.
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Key Skills
Motivation

You will be spending a fair amount of your time on the
project.

The project mark is substantial being worth 1/4 of the third
year marks equivalent to 2 courses.

However, it should also be considered that employers pay
special attention to project work so effectively the project
has a higher weight as far as employers are concerned.

project.
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Key Skills
Motivation

The only way to carry out a difficult project is to be really
highly motivated to do well and to work hard.

This type of motivation can only come if the project is
something you really enjoy so that you want to think about
it all the time.

So make sure you choose a project that motivates you if
you want a good mark.

Do not expect your supervisor to motivate you by scolding
you if you don’t work hard enough!
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Key Skills
Motivation

Most students choose an interesting project and enjoy the
experience and look back on it as being one of the most
enjoyable learning experience in the whole of their time at
university.

Most universities allocate projects to students but we let
you choose.

It helps you to learn how to make serious decisions and
teaches you to have the responsibility to live with the
consequences.
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Key Skills
Employment Motivation

When you go for a job interview the first thing the

The project is the most similar activity to the company's
working environment.

They don’t pay you to memorise and take exams!

They don’t even pay you because you work hard.

They pay you to produce results and achieve goals by

They expect you to learn whatever is necessary in order
to overcome any obstacle you encounter.
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Key Skills
Employment Motivation

The project is a learning experience that tries to
approximate the real work situation.

However, the marking is not just for the results.

Marks are also given for the whole process of finding the
results as well.
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Key Skills
Employment Motivation

The interviewer will be very happy if you have done a
project in the same subject area as that of the company as
this shows a continuing interest in this subject.

However, it is more important that you have carried out a
project well whether it is in the same area or not.

So you should be thinking about in which subject area you
wish to work.

A short project is a good way to try out a subject area to see
if it is what you want to do for the rest of your life.

If you don’t like it you can change to another area when
you apply for a job or when you choose your next project.
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Key Skills
The 3rd Year Project


It is more like a month project spread out over a year.

Mainly for you to learn how to carry out a project.

Generally of little or no benefit to your supervisor.

You will learn how to interact with a supervisor
to
get the most help
to
get constructive criticism and to accept it positively
to
impress him and so get good marks
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Key Skills
The 3rd Year Project

You will practice
“The
The
Scientific Method”.
importance of logical deduction
Debugging
a program or circuit or hardware
Maintaining
a positive attitude even when everything is
breaking down or crashing.
Managing
a complex set of tasks in a limited time.
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Key Skills
The 3rd Year Project

Two of the most useful skills you will practice and enhance
are:

How to break down a problem or obstacle into a series of
simpler tasks which can then be scheduled and completed
to solve the problem.

How to search for the required information and knowledge
and to learn it and then use it to solve a problem.
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Key Skills
Questions

What do you think you should consider in coming to a
decision about which project to do?

Which lectures have you enjoyed the most?

Was it because of the subject or the lecturer?

What did you enjoy before you came here?

What hobbies did you have before you came here?

What job do you want to do?
15
Key Skills
Choosing a Project
To complete successfully an enjoyable project you must:


Choose the daily activities that you want to do

Homework:
Decide
what order of importance you would put these
Choose
Define
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Key Skills
Daily activities

Most students start choosing a project by considering the
subject area.

The ultimate goal may sound exciting and you may want to
be part of the team trying to achieve that goal.

Although the subject area may be appealing the actual work
you will be carrying out day to day may not be.

You will be spending most of your time on the daily
activities such as electronic design, calculation, writing and
debugging computer programs, constructing electrical or
optical experiments or fabrication of devices.

So you need to consider how much of each of these you
want to do in your project.
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Key Skills
Daily activities


Homework: What proportion of each of the following
activities do you want to do in the project? Discuss with
M aths
5%
D esign
10 %
C o m puting
40 %
E lectronic E xperim ents
5%
O ptical E xperim ents
40 %
C lean R oo m F abrication
-------
Its hard to do maths without a computer to plot graphs of
results.
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Key Skills
Daily activities

Computing Project
Can
do it any time in the day when you are free.
Can
do it at home if you purchase the software licence
and if it does not require a hardware key - dongle.

Hardware Project
Can
only do at certain times
May
need to share expensive equipment which may
break down
May
Fun
need to purchase components and wait for delivery.
and a sense of achievement when experiment works.
19
Key Skills
Choosing a Project Subject

Look at a list of projects on a web page

Approach supervisor for ideas


Choose third year courses and similar project.
20
Key Skills
Look on web project list

Look at http://www.ee.ucl.ac.uk/projects/3rdyr/

Only a few academics will usually post some projects on
the web page early. Another few will post some projects at
random times later

So you may not book a project in the hope that a better
project may be posted later.

If a new project is posted and you don’t see it straight away
someone else may book it.

There is a temptation to book a project from one posted
early in case all of the others are worse.
21
Key Skills
Look on web project list

Posted projects on the web page encourage students to visit
that academic but not necessarily to do those projects.

Usually students agree with supervisors on a project after a
discussion.
22
Key Skills
Approach Supervisor

To identify which supervisor might supervise which topic

Look at the web page http://www.ee.ucl.ac.uk/projects.html
where their interests are listed

Once you have found an academic arrange a meeting with
them by e-mail or phone, if possible. They may not be there
if you knock on their door

ASK the academic if they have or can think of any projects
to suit your interests and abilities.
23
Key Skills
Approach Supervisor

Don’t ask him which project would be easiest or the least
work!

supervisors.

ATTEND the third year students project presentations near
the end of term (usually all day on a Wednesday around
19th March)

This will give you ideas of what projects are available, who
supervises them, how difficult it is to give a good talk and
what the question session is like.

Very interesting projects are also offered by staff of other
departments: Medical Physics, CS
24
Key Skills

An alternative approach would be for you to SUGGEST a
project that you would like to do and ask whether the
academic would agree to supervise it.

It could be something based on your hobbies such as an
electric guitar chorus pedal, or building a robot, or building
a bat detector.

You will not find these amongst the academics research
interests although they may have supervised such projects
before and may be willing to do so again.
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Key Skills

Obviously if you suggest an idea it will need to be at the
required academic level to be considered as a 3rd year
project.

If not your supervisor will reject it or he he may suggest
how it can be modified to meet the required standard.

Do not assume that you will be able to find anyone who is
willing to supervise a project suggested by you.
26
Key Skills
Course Choices

If you choose the project first then you should ask your
new supervisor for help in choosing courses which will
terms.

If you choose the courses first try to balance the number
you attend each term. Then think of a project which
overlaps as much of the course material as possible.

By doing this you will make a lot less work for yourself as
the courses help the project and vice versa.
27
Key Skills

An important factor in successful completion of an

You have one character and your supervisor another
character.

You need to choose someone with whom you can work.

Someone you like or at least respect.

and from whom you can accept it as a useful way for you to
improve.

It’s the only way to learn and improve.
28
Key Skills


Do you want a young, energetic, enthusiastic supervisor
who is always pushing you forwards to produce results, and
wants to see you at least once a week to report progress?

May be good for students who need motivating.
29
Key Skills

Do you want a supervisor with a vast experience,
international reputation, large research group who is often
invited to give talks in other countries and so may not be
easy to meet but when you do see him it is tremendously
useful?

He is likely to have a large research group with Postdocs

Likely to have a lot of very expensive brand new
equipment for experiments.

Likely to have a lot of money to purchase more equipment
or software.
30
Key Skills

You may only have seen your supervisor in lectures.

Many academics are quite different when you meet them in
their offices on a one-to-one basis.

Students find that some academics who frighten them in
lectures are actually very helpful and friendly on a one-toone basis.

So don’t judge them just on their appearance in lectures.

Visit them in their offices first to find out what they are
like.

Ask their project students what they are like.

See the project presentations on ~19th March.
31
Key Skills

Booking projects is on a first come first served basis.

Some supervisors are very, very popular because of their
project topics.

Supervisors are limited to a maximum of 5 project students

So they soon become booked up.

Students might rush and book up projects without giving
enough consideration.

They may then not enjoy their project and may try to
change to another supervisor and another project but it may
then be too late to find a good choice available.
32
Key Skills
Define Project with Supervisor

Discuss the project goals with prospective supervisor.

Supervisor can make project harder/easier to match the
required academic standard and shorter/longer to match
what is possible in the time.

Project needs to interest you a lot - it should absolutely
fascinate you and be so interesting that you want to do it
during your free time because it is fun.

You may want it to be in areas you are good at or new areas

Project should match your table of desirable proportions of
daily activities.
33
Key Skills
Define Project with Supervisor

Supervisor needs to be able to supervise project.

It can be in his area of expertise.

Or can be in a new area which interests him

Academics are experts at carrying out projects no matter
what the area as the principles are the same.

Only £100 is allocated to the supervisor for project costs.
34
Key Skills

Every time you see the academics they are teaching you.

However, this is only part of what they are expected to do.

The rest of their time is spent on research.

(Part of their teaching and research time is spent on
35
Key Skills

Some academics have a research group consisting of:
Postdoctoral
Research Assistants (RAs or Postdocs)
whom they employ to carry out research,
Research
Students who are working towards higher
degrees such as MPhil, MRes, EngD, PhD.

Visitors from other countries
It is beneficial to a BEng, MEng, MSc student to carry out
his/her project in the research group in the same subject
area and aiming towards the same goal.
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Key Skills

The members of the research group can often help the
student with solving day to day problems in the project.

They are usually closer to the students age and a student
may find it easier to talk to them.

Sometimes a project is closely related to the work of a
member of the group and he will give you day-to-day
supervision.

Of course the academic supervisor remains in overall
charge and will oversee and direct the course of your
project.
37
Key Skills

Supervisors usually are members of staff of the EE
department but it is possible to have supervisors from
Computer Science or Medical Physics department.

In these cases the second assessor will be appointed from
within the EE department.
38
Key Skills

Each academic carries out research in a certain area of
knowledge which is his/her specialist topic area.

You need to find out these so that you know who to
approach to supervise a project in an area that you like.

List of all academics research activities
http://www.ee.ucl.ac.uk/~mflanaga/res_staff.html and here.

Look at the academics personal web pages e.g.
http://www.ee.ucl.ac.uk/~afernand/

Look at the research groups web page e.g.
http://www.ee.ucl.ac.uk/~pbrennan/ar/

39
Key Skills
Research Areas
Networks
Digital
Digital
Telecoms
Materials
Optics
Computing
Maths
40
Key Skills
Research Layers
Systems
Devices
Materials
41
Key Skills
Chris Todd

Mobile software agent application to communications

Aspects of active networks

Fixed-Mobile convergence service issues


Open Service Access

Service Management - PBNM
42
Key Skills
Hermann de Meer

Networking and Distributed Systems Research Group

IP Networking and Performance Modelling
Peer-to-Networks
Overlay Networks
Quality of Service in IP
Security
Ambience and Home Networking
IPv6
43
Key Skills
Lionel Sacks

Service Engineering - Distributed Systems, Integrity
(robust, high availability), system design, service
traffic/QoS, mobile services, multimedia services

Network and Service Management - Traffic
engineering/QoS, policy management, topologies-fixed and

Complex Systems - self organising systems/criticality,
decentralised/emergent algorithms, users-systems
interactions/dynamics


Knowledge Management

Classical Telecoms Networks
44
Key Skills
Izzat Darwazeh

Optical and wireless communications systems

Design, modelling and experimentation

High speed optical communications


Fibre over access systems

Mobile and wireless communication systems

Communication systems modelling

High speed circuits and MMICs

Multimedia transmission over fibre
45
Key Skills
John Mitchell

Optical and wireless communications systems

Design, modelling and experimentation

High speed optical communications


Fibre over access systems

Mobile and wireless communication systems

Communication systems modelling

High speed circuits and MMICs
46
Key Skills
Alwyn Seeds

Optical communications, opto-electronic devices, lasers,
microwave photonics

Tuneable and mode-locked semiconductor lasers

Ultra-fast optical communications

Optical Access networks

Quantum well modulators and saturable absorbers

Dense wavelength division multiplex

Optical control of microwave devices

47
Key Skills
Polina Bayvel

Optical Communications: networks, transmission and devices

Optical Network Architectures: optical burst switching, optical
packet networks, wavelength routed optical networks

Static and Dynamic wavelength routing and allocation
algorithms and scheduling

Ultra-high speed WDM transmission:

Optical non-linearities and fundamental limitation to fibre
transmission

Ultra-short pulse propagation in dispersive media:

New optical devices for short pulse generation,
multiwavelength clock recovery and regeneration,
routers/crossconnects, tuneable lasers
48
Key Skills
Robert Killey

Optical Communications

Ultra-high speed WDM transmission systems

Optical fibre non-linearities: fundamental limitations to
optical fibre capacity

Optical communication system theory and simulation

Wavelength routed optical networks

Network planning and performance monitoring
49
Key Skills
Chris Pitt

Optical and electronic materials

Optical devices

Semiconductor devices
50
Key Skills
Ian Boyd

Thin films for nanotechnology

Nanotechnology

Laser Applications

Ultraviolet sources and applications

High and low k dielectrics


Si, SiGe, SiGeC Devices

Silicon Oxidation
51
Key Skills
Richard Jackman

Diamond Electronics

The growth of diamond and other wide band gap
semiconductors

Fabrication of micro and optoelectronic devices from
diamond

Control of defects and carrier transport within diamond.

Laser processing of electronic materials.
52
Key Skills
Tony Kenyon

Optoelectronic and Nanostructured Materials

Rare-earth doped optical materials

Light emission from silicon

Technological plasmas and plasma processing

Nanostructured optical materials
53
Key Skills
Paul Warburton

Nanoelectronic Materials and Devices

Superconductivity

Carbon Nanotubes

Carbon Buckyballs

Quantum Electronic Devices

Josephson Junctions

Nanolithography

Focussed Ion-Beam Nanofabrication Techniques
54
Key Skills
David Garner

Semiconductor devices, silicon fabrication and processing
technology, field-emission and MEMs

Silicon RF MOSFETs

Silicon power devices

Silicon Power ICs

Field Emission

Magnetic Sensors

Silicon micromachining and MEMS

Electron beam lithography
55
Key Skills
Sally Day

Liquid crystal devices

Liquid crystal displays

Optical properties of liquid crystals

Numerical modelling of displays and other liquid crystal
devices

Non-display applications of liquid crystals including as
optical filters for telecoms and sensors

Use of liquid crystals for microwave devices

Microlenses and their applications
56
Key Skills
Anibal Fernandez

Computer modelling of

- liquid crystal devices

- optical devices

- microwave/antennas

Applications of liquid crystals in microwave and optical
devices

Computer modelling in Electromagnetics

Numerical methods
57
Key Skills
David R. Selviah

Optical Systems and Devices and Pattern Recognition

10 Gbit/s WDM ring LAN as a polymer optical waveguide
backplane interconnect

Gratings on slab waveguides with microlenses for WDM

3D TV using variable focal length microlenses

Wavelength tuneable filters for WDM

Nano-optical devices, Coherence modulation

Pattern Recognition: Neural networks, simulated annealing,
correlators

Computer generated holograms, Holographic Memories
58
Key Skills
Hugh Griffiths


Smart Antennas

Signal Processing



Electromagnetics
59
Key Skills
Chris Baker


Sonar

RF

Electronic Warfare technology and techniques
60
Key Skills
Paul Brennan

Microwaves/RF Electronics

Phase locked loops

Synthesisers

Antennas


Chaos

RF Tags
61
Key Skills
Karl Woodbridge

Radar and Air Traffic Control Systems


Air Traffic Control

Avionics

Satellite Communications

Global Positioning Systems
62
Key Skills
David Haigh

Analogue integrated circuits

Microwave integrated circuits

High linearity amplifiers

High frequency filters

Gallium Arsenide devices and circuits

Switched capacitor filters

Active filters
63
Key Skills
Andreas Demosthenous

Design of Analogue and mixed-signal integrated circuits

Applications
Communications
Video
Coding
Error-Control
Medical
Coding
Electronics
64
Key Skills
Mick Flanagan

Bioelectronics and biomedical sensing: design, fabrication
and modelling

Biosensors

Biochips

Control systems in bio/medicine

Modelling of biosystems (C++ and JAVA)
65
Key Skills
Nina Thornhill

Monitoring and control in oil, chemicals and
pharmaceutical processes

Process control

Process data analysis

Signal Processing

Process Measurement

Plant-wide performance assessment

NOT robotics, electro-mechanical system, hardware
66
Key Skills
Tom Crummey

Computer Networks

Control Systems

Parallel Processing

Can only take 2 project students
67
Key Skills
John Pollard

Bluetooth - applications such as mobile medical
monitoring, intelligent sensors using Kalman filters,
routing in ad hoc networks, mobile agents, TCP/IP

Simulation of communication systems (in C)

Imaging software, including compression

WAP phone programming (in Java)

Software systems (e.g. interrogating databases via
PDA/WAP, controlling WebCams)

Web-based programming (distributed computation, remote
measurements, distance learning)
68
Key Skills

Analytical Mathematics

Applied to
Approximation
Quantum
Methods
Optics
69
Key Skills
Curriculum Vitae

You must prepare a Curriculum Vitae (CV)

This will be useful for applying for summer jobs and for

Look at web site for instructions
http://www.careers.lon.ac.uk/helpshts/cvs.htm

Visit UCL and UoL Careers Centre.

Prepare a CV.

content and then make an improved version.

Take CV to Careers Service for extra comments

You may need to go around this loop again.
70
Key Skills
Curriculum Vitae


UCL Careers Service

49-51 Gordon Square

and ask for the double sided flyer and the somewhat larger
booklet on how to write a CV.

You can “drop in” there once you have written your CV
and they are happy to comment on it to help you to
improve it.

They also provide details of companies requesting students
for holiday placements: Hobson’s guide, Prospects,
University of London website.
71
Key Skills
Curriculum Vitae

Layout is important as it gives your employer their first
impression of you.

The interviewer only looks at it for 3 (!) seconds before
discarding it so if they have not obtained the key data by
then you will have failed.

Your CV needs to be presented in a relevant way.

You need to emphasise the skills that are important for your
potential employer.

Give proof of your ability, don’t just say that you are hard
working.

lasting favourable impression.
72
Key Skills
Curriculum Vitae
Personal details
name (put family name in CAPITALS)
address (with dates if more than one)
telephone number (and e-mail)
date of birth
nationality
sex
73
Key Skills
Curriculum Vitae
Education
Dates:
First year courses studied with course marks
GCSEs & A-levels (or equivalent) with grades
Prizes awarded, titles of project performed
Work experience
Dates:
Companies
Text saying what useful skills you learnt
74
Key Skills
Curriculum Vitae
Skills
foreign languages
computing languages or packages
keyboard skills
driving
75
Key Skills
Curriculum Vitae
Leisure interests
sports
music, drama and other cultural activities
membership of clubs and societies
positions of responsibility in clubs and societies
Referees
Your first year and second year tutors
all of their contact details, especially e-mail
76
Key Skills
Checklist

Decide what order of importance you would put these in
Supervisor, Subject?

What proportion of each of the daily activities do you want
to do in the project? Fill in the table on the next page.

Decide on a subject area and look into it in the library.

Prepare your CV taking care to put all your first and second
year courses.

Make your first appointment with a potential supervisor

77
Key Skills
Daily Activities Table
M aths
D esign
C o m puting
E lectronic E xperim ents
O ptical E xperim ents
C lean R oo m F abrication
78
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