?

Log in

No account? Create an account

MSc project - final presentation - John C. Kirk

Sep. 8th, 2004

01:37 pm - MSc project - final presentation

Previous Entry Share Next Entry

This morning was my final presentation for the MSc project. It went ok - certainly better than last year's (I turned up early rather than late, wasn't gasping for breath, had slides prepared, and an application to demonstrate). A few minor hiccups though...

The main problem was that I couldn't actually run my application, because I needed to have the .NET framework installed (which requires admin rights). I emailed the PhD student who is administering the MSc projects on Sunday, to ask about getting this done in advance. He replied on Monday evening, and said that I'd need to contact support. So, I emailed them, but they replied yesterday saying that it's nothing to do with them either, and I should contact the school office. I assumed this meant the department office, so I emailed the postgrad secretary, but he hasn't replied at all. When I arrived today, none of the academic staff had admin access. My supervisor from last year said that I should have gone to the support staff in person rather than emailing them, but that was difficult when I was at my job (and it seems odd that they'd give different answers). In retrospect, I should have taken in my home PC, even though it's a bit more ... solid than a laptop.

Meanwhile, I've discovered some weird behaviour in the .NET framework. Basically, doing a division gives different answers, depending on whether you run the program from inside Visual Studio or by double clicking on it in Explorer. See my post for more info - I suspect a bug. In my case, that means that the compiled application I submitted last Friday has invisible bees, which is slightly frustrating, since it was working properly when I tested it.

Anyway, I gave my supervisor 3 copies of my app to take away with him: the one from Friday, the recompiled one (Debug mode) with Friday's source code, and a new one with some other bug-fixes I did over the last couple of days. I don't think that those changes are admissible as such (since they were done after the deadline), but they might serve as an illustration of "future work that could be done on the submitted project". More pragmatically, if I am borderline pass/fail, the department theoretically have the option of giving me a short period of time to make extra changes, and if they can see that I've already made some then this might tip the balance in my favour.

The other slightly off-putting thing was that one of the professor guys there seemed to be falling asleep. I don't think he was a marker for my project, so it doesn't really matter, but he was sitting there with his eyes closed, mouth hanging open, and what almost sounded like snoring noises... On the plus side, the other markers were giving him sideways glances, and looked slightly embarrassed about it, so it may wind up working in my favour.

Ah well, barring viva it's all over now, so I just need to wait for the results. (Last year they came out on October 9th.) I've got the rest of the day off, and I'll hang around to keep an eye on my email in case there are any more complications about my supervisor running the application. Aside from that, I think that an 80s film is called for...

Speaking of projects, I came across this site a few weeks ago:
http://www.ukessays.com/
The basic idea is that you pay them money, and they'll write a thesis/dissertation for you, of 2:1/1st quality. They claim that this isn't to help people cheat - the idea is that you commission a custom essay that you can then refer to, in the same way that you would read existing journal articles during your literature review. I'm not entirely convinced; that sounds much like the disclaimers used by people selling radar detectors ("it's not to help you break the speed limit, it's just for novelty value"). However, taking it at face value, it does actually sound like an interesting idea, similar to the travelling teachers in one of the Discworld novels (a lesson for an egg). I think it's legitimate to refer to unpublished work in a report, e.g. I've seen Dawkins cite "private correspondence" in his books. And for non-students, the question of cheating doesn't arise, so it's more like hiring a contractor. E.g. "We're interested in agent based modelling - do an assessment of what's available, and write up a report on it". Could even be an interesting career path.

Tags: ,

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:karne_k
Date:September 8th, 2004 09:05 am (UTC)
(Link)
Cough - yeah RIGHT it's not for cheating..
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:overconvergent
Date:September 8th, 2004 09:56 am (UTC)
(Link)
I think that the ``personal communication'' reference is about the lowest possible form of reference; it's really only to give credit.

And I think that the temptation is simply too great for most people if they have the actual written essay in front of them.

If you're hiring the report for yourself in the company, that would be okay IMHO, but not if you hire the report, change the name at the top and submit it as your own. That would be illegal, unethical and wrong :)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:johnckirk
Date:September 8th, 2004 10:10 am (UTC)
(Link)
How would it work if I wanted to cite your MSc/PhD thesis? Admittedly unlikely given that we do different subjects, but hypothetically :) As far as I know, they aren't published anywhere, so would you say something like "Available from university library"? For that matter, do universities normally archive all theses, or just the ones that pass? (Thinking about my failed project from last year.) I could also see a citation being tricky to pin down if it's "forthcoming" (something that hasn't been submitted yet).
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:overconvergent
Date:September 8th, 2004 11:13 am (UTC)
(Link)
Theses are at least theoretically available (there are copies of mine in the IC and UL libraries). So you'd just cite ``L J P Kilford, University of London PhD thesis, 2002''. Most of the meat of it is (or will be) available as published papers, so you should cite those. My thesis will also be on my Oxford webpage when I get it set up, but you can't rely on such things.

Some universities make their students' PhD theses available online. This is clearly a civilised thing to do :)

For mathematics, one often gives at least a sketch of what the reference actually says, so that someone a long way away can actually reconstruct the argument.

Forthcoming citations are indeed often problematic. See this great reference card, section 1.22.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:overconvergent
Date:September 8th, 2004 11:13 am (UTC)
(Link)
Universities only archive theses that pass, I think.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:johnckirk
Date:September 8th, 2004 10:20 am (UTC)
(Link)
Regarding temptation, I think that would happen at an earlier stage (when requesting the subject). E.g. with my bee project, I might pay them to come up with a list of all British plants that are pollinated by bees, with the replenishment rates, ideal soil Ph levels etc. for each one. That's not something that I could submit, but it would allow me to focus on the computing aspects of the problem, and delegate someone else to summarise the biology issues. Whereas if I said "write me a paper about modelling bees", I'd probably have succumbed to temptation before I even got the essay.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 18th, 2004 04:31 am (UTC)

ukessays

(Link)
this web site (ukessays) is rubbish! my friend ordered one essay from them - it was probably written by a schoolboy who did not have any idea of what he is writing about.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:johnckirk
Date:September 18th, 2004 04:33 am (UTC)

Re: ukessays

(Link)
Ah, that's interesting to know. I was wondering about how their guarantee worked, since the only way to get a paper graded would be to submit as your own work, which then breaks their rules.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:November 2nd, 2004 11:37 pm (UTC)

Re: ukessays

(Link)
I've used ukessays.com (law degree) and they were very good as a helping hand actually!

In 5 orders Ive only had one cause for concern, but I addressed it by following their amendments guarantee and they provided fee amenmdnets within the day!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)