Graduate Program

EE599 - Thesis

Note that the Electrical Engineering Department has handbooks for both the Honors and Regular MS Programs. These handbooks, together with the CalPoly Catalog, provide the most complete documentation for program requirements. This page is provided in addition to these other materials to help with the common questions that students have regarding their Master's Thesis.

Thesis Process

  • Thesis Units. It is suggested that students take thesis units in the pattern 2-2-5, spreading out the effort over a full year. Specific plans should be made with your Thesis Advisor.
  • Thesis Advisor. Your advisor can be any EE Faculty member. As you will be working closely with your advisor during the thesis, you should seek out the best possible advisor, based on your mutual interests and background. Bio sketches of Faculty members are posted outside the Department Office, and are on Faculty web pages. You will need to find an advisor, agreeable to work with you, prior to enrolling in EE599.
  • Thesis Committee. While the Thesis Advisor is involved in your work throughout your thesis effort; the other two committee members generally are not. They are typically requested to come on board early in the last quarter of your thesis work. Committee members can come from outside the EE Department.
  • (Honors Program) A single deliverable is required for both the Master's Thesis and the Senior Project. These activities are combined into a single effort, in the Honors Program!
  • (Honors Program) Take your 2nd quarter of Senior Project (EE462) in your last quarter of the Honors Program. This is typically also when you take your last units of Master's Thesis (EE599)!

Thesis Topics - DePiero's Perspective

There is no 'typical' MS thesis. Areas of study depend on the student and advisor.

The thesis should be more than an overgrown senior project, in that it should include more efforts that are theoretical in nature. It would also typically include more independent learning and investigation which is more in-depth, compared to a Senior Project: analyzing design choices, studying parameters, surveying existing methods, quantitative comparisons and testing. The thesis would typically be more than just a solution to a problem. Rather, the emphasis should be on a process of investigation and study that leads to some desired result. In some institutions MS theses and PhD dissertations are completely theoretical in nature. (Yours could be if you want it to be...) At CalPoly, MS theses are usually more applied - with some theoretical components.

Recent Examples - DePiero's Students

  • (Signal Processing) Developed a novel audio compression method, combining/modifying aspects of traditional methods. Analyzed expected performance, compared actual performance quantitatively and qualitatively. Implemented the novel method and standard methods in software, tested with various signals.
  • (Image Processing) Developed novel license plate reader. Implemented pattern classifier, including linear algebra routines for covariance matrix and inverse. Experimented with a variety of shape features. Implemented hill-climbing optimization routine to improve weights applied to shape features during recognition. Collected many images of license plates for modeling and testing.
  • (Data Acquisition and Signal Processing) Developed novel data acquisition system with post processing. Developed custom 4-PIC architecture for backpack mounted system that measures strain on a bicycle crank. System uploads to a PC, where further processing by Kalman Filtering, is applied to signals to assist analysis.
  • (Signal Processing) Developed novel method to model the noise characteristics of a communication channel, having both deterministic and random noise. Implemented modeling technique using adaptive filters. Tested using simulated and real data. Modeling technique developed for use with fielded systems that are used to instrument oil drilling platforms.
  • (Graph Matching) Studied performance of a novel algorithm for subgraph isomorphism. Tested algorithm with various types of randomly generated graphs. Studied banded properties of the graph adjacency matrix. Studied application of graph matching algorithm to a VLSI application.

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