Master thesis projects – NEW!

If you are a master student in Computer Science at NTNU, these are the projects I am co-supervising together with Prof. Babak Farshchian. Contact us if you are interested in doing your master thesis with us!

Theme 1: IoT and data management in long-term environmental monitoring

Environmental research is a crucial activity to assess the health of the marine, terrestrial and atmospheric environment over time – for example to detect climate change. Monitoring is typically arranged in networks of research stations, each focused on a few key aspects of the natural environment (e.g., fresh or marine waters, agricultural or alpine areas). The main goal of long-term environmental research is the collection, sharing, and maintenance of the environmental datasets over the long term, to support future (re)use and interpretation.

One of the main challenges in this process is that a variety of sensor devices of heterogeneous quality and sensitivity is used. Environmental researchers must therefore constantly manage the data – e.g., ensure that the sensors are calibrated and the environmental data are made trustworthy, readable, and meaningful with respect to the context.

Key questions that this project will address are: What is the role of the sensors and the work of environmental researchers, to ensure that the data can be shared and reused over the long term? What role can new ICT solutions such as service platforms play in this scenario?

This project consists of two part:

  1. A review of the academic literature, to identify the main challenges of sensor data management;
  2. A qualitative study, including interviews and observations, of sensor data management activities at one or more environmental research sites in Norway and/or abroad. Number of site visits and language of data collection can be agreed upon with the supervisor.

We recommend that the candidate conducts this study over one year, or as a combination of Autumn project (part 1) and master thesis (part 2). The project is suitable for one or two students.

Supervisor: Babak Farshchian; co-supervisor: Elena Parmiggiani

Theme 2: Coordination challenges for long-term environmental research infrastructures in Europe

Through strategic programs such as ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures), the European Union is increasingly organizing long-term environmental research around networks of transnational Research Infrastructures (RI). One example is the European Long-Term Ecosystem Research (eLTER; http://www.lter-europe.net/) RI, encompassing 27 countries and a network of sites researching on different environmental aspects. The EU regulations are also adapted and adopted in Norway, influencing the national environmental research strategy.

It is however unclear how the transnational coordination implied by RIs such as eLTER can be achieved on the practical level. Key questions that are addressed in this project are: How will the environmental data be standardized and shared across different countries? What common digital services could be developed to improve coordination? What can the role of Norway be in this centralizing approach promoted by the EU?

This project consists of two part:

  1. A review of the academic literature and the strategic documentation issued by the Norwegian government and the EU, to identify the coordination challenges associated with RIs;
  2. A qualitative study, including interviews and observations, at one or more environmental research sites in Norway and/or abroad. Number of site visits and language of data collection will be agreed upon with the supervisor.

We recommend that the candidate conducts this study over one year, or as a combination of Autumn project (part 1) and master thesis (part 2). The project is suitable for one or two students.

Supervisor: Babak Farshchian; co-supervisor: Elena Parmiggiani

Theme 3: Data-Driven approach to IT Strategic Service Outsourcing

A business process run by large IT organizations on behalf of a third party (client organization) is called strategic service outsourcing (SSO). It comprises several phases, including: engagement, transition and transformation, business as usual, and decommissioning.

A key challenge in the evaluation of an SSO for IT experts is taking informed and confident decisions across all phases. Although a lot of data are typically collected during the engagement phase, the IT experts involved in an SSO tend to have an unclear picture of what data are available across all phases. This translates into both technical and financial risks, as technical failures that correspond to a loss of business value for the both the SSO and the client organizations.

This master project will consist of two parts:

  1. A phase of problem definition and identification of relevant use case(s), including a review of the academic literature;
  2. A phase of co-design, where the candidate will engage representatives from an SSO organization to develop a digital tool for helping IT experts to take more confident decisions in the identified use case(s) of a SSO. Co-design sessions, focus groups, and workshops will be used. This part of the project can be complemented by an empirical case study (collection of observations, interviews, and documentation). A relevant SSO organization will be together identified with the supervisors.

We recommend that the candidate conducts this study over one year, or as a combination of Autumn project (1) and master thesis (2). The project is suitable for one or two students.

Supervisor: Babak Farshchian; co-supervisor: Elena Parmiggiani