Tuesday, October 6, 2009

UPLB now has full text online access to important sources of computing literature

As a novice researcher, a brilliant idea suddenly comes into your mind. You start your web browser and typed a few keywords on your favourite search engine to know if somebody has already thought of your brilliant idea. Then comes the results of the search. Somebody has already thought of your brililant idea and even published a journal article! You hurriedly click on the link, hoping to know more of the author's work. Unfortunately, what you get is only an abstract because you need to pay to access the entire article.

Yes, we have Wikipedia and Citeseer as sources for our literature review. But sometimes we just can't find the journal articles that are very important for our research from these two. In an effort to increase research productivity and output, UP obtained subscriptions of several journals delivered electronically. In the field of computing, the following are important sources of literature that we can use for our research.  They are accessible within the campus network. The question to ask now is: "Are we using these valuable resources?"
There are also several bibliographies for computer science available online.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

How to succeed in your SP proposal defense

(Updated: January 2024)

Make sure you and your adviser HAVE AGREED on the Title, Statement of the Problem, Objectives, and Materials and Methods sections of your SP proposal before your defense.

What to say during the defense in 5-7 minutes?
  • The title of your SP (memorized)
  • 5 sentences background (memorized)
  • 2 sentences Statement of the Problem (memorized)
  • 1 sentence General Objective (memorized)
  • 3-4 statements of Specific Objectives
  • Scope and Limitations
  • Materials and Methods (Use Case Diagram, ERD, Tech Stack, Evaluation Process, 12-week Gantt Chart)
  • Expected output and sample screenshots
  • Related work (those done in ICS if available)
(The best way is to write a script that you can memorize!)

Common comments from panelists

  • Too simple/Too complex. Some panelists will suggest to add/remove features to make your SP simpler/more complex. Redirect this comment/question to your adviser.
  • Novelty. You should be able to answer what is new in your work compared to previous work. If you can't, redirect this comment/question to your adviser.
  • Quantify. If one of your objectives is to "speed up" something, you should be able to answer how you will measure this quantity. Also specify metrics and measurements to gather.
  • Users and Stakeholders. Have you consulted them during the development of your proposal?
  • Comparison and Evaluation. If your work is an improvement over previous approaches, include in your objectives a comparison of results of your work over them in terms of speed, performance, accuracy, etc. To be safe, include a usability evaluation using the System Usability Scale (SUS). 
  • Specificity. Be VERY specific and careful in your statements. They should be easy to validate.
  • Feasibility. Make sure that what you are proposing is feasible and doable in 12 weeks, implementation-wise.
  • Initial experiments and results. If your work involves image processing and ImageLab, make sure you've made some initial trials (aside from binarization!). You should include in your defense the results, whether good or bad. This is also applicable for other types of SP, not just image processing.
  • Interfaces. Make sure you discuss the connection of your module with the modules of your SP groupmates, if you have any.
  • Validation. State how you are going to validate your claims.
  • ERD/DFD. If your SP needs a database, make sure you include an Entity-Relationship Diagram for the database design and Data Flow Diagram for data transformation. Include Use Case diagrams and wireframes.
  • References. Make sure you have a good number of references (at least 10). Don't forget to cite them properly in your paper. Also include related work by past ICS students.
  • Tech Stack. Be able to justify the choice of your tech stack.
Handling comments from panelists
  • In general, always treat comments from the panelists as CONSTRUCTIVE. Their statements will help improve your SP and give you directions in your work.
  • Panelists will be suggesting A LOT of things. Take note of ALL OF THEM and negotiate with your adviser later if you will consider SOME OF THEM in your SP.
  • If you do not know the answer to the question from a panelist, just tell them that "I'll look into that.". Make sure you do later!
  • It is important that you practice your defense. This can be done with your adviser or with some of your friends.
  • Before the defense, make sure that your mind is clear and specific with what you are going to do in your SP. You can achieve this by repeating in your mind the General Objective of your proposal. Visualize your expected output so that you can tell a story about it to the panelists during the defense.