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Doing an Honors Thesis with Me


My research occurs at the intersection of human-computer interaction, artificial intellience, and education and I often supervise one senior CS major in a year-long thesis project. Past theses I have supervised are available here. If you are interested, please keep reading!

(Please note, I am a professor at Williams College, and as such, I only advise undergraduate students. There is no graduate program in computer science at Williams College)

Background

Seniors wishing to qualify for honors or high honors may undertake a 3ÔÇÉcourse sequence of fall independent study, winter study 99, and spring thesis on a single topic. At the end of each of the fall and winter study periods the student and professor jointly determine whether the project may proceed. Theses are generally on open research problems. However, unlike a graduate thesis, students are not required to obtain a positive result. Students may not receive research assistant funding for their projects, although a project may continue on one begun as a research assistant. Thesis projects do not count towards elective credit.

The CS Department maintains considerably more information on its 'Honors in CS' webpage, here. Of particular interest may be the timeline at the bottom. The fall semester is typically spent reading and writing a literature review. The winter term is usually spent implementing the project. Spring term consists mostly of writing (it's a lot of writing!) and analyzing data. Early February, Thesis students give a ~15 minute colloquium talk and at the end of the semester, typically a ~30 minute colloquium talk on their thesis work.

Proposal

Applications for Honors Thesis projects for Williams CS are typically due early April. The form is available here. However, you must talk to me prior before submitting a form to work with me!

When we meet, you should have a project pitch prepared including:

  1. An open research problem to solve
  2. Motivation for the problem you wish to solve (why should we care?)
  3. A summary of some of the existin research relevant to this problem.
  4. What steps you would take to solve this problem.
  5. What skills you hope to learn in this project.
  6. Your grades in CS classes from the past 4 semesters, as well as a listing of additional relevant courses you have taken.

Please note that I am most interested in supervising projects on topics described on the main page, here.

Meetings

I will meet with your for at least half an hour each week, on average. Depending on progress and schedules we may meet more or less frequently. You're in charge of the meetings, so come prepared to present your progress and ask questions on anything for which I can help.

I require you to submit all of your code and documents in electronic form so that I can easily archive them at the end of the semester.

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