Important Lastminute Notes:
* I gave a presentation of this semester's theses on Monday 20/02/2023 find below the slides and the recording * If you look for a thesis advised by me, send me an email, I usually invite you to a theses presentation meeting I have every 4-6 months
- 1 Master Thesis F.A.Q.
- 2 PhD Thesis F.A.Q.
- 3 Projects and Internships F.A.Q.
You might be interested in working with me for a project course or a Master's thesis. The topics I'm interested in are the ones described on the Research page (or at least you might have some clue from that). Please refer to the following link for proposals and useful info (some of them might be outdated so please check also for updated ones online):
- This deck of slides (updated 20/02/2023) sketches this semester projects and thesis proposals so you can have a quick look at them. I made also a presentation on 20/02/2023 to describe them briefly and explain the application process with timeline.
- Some Bureaucracy is required to all students performing projects and thesis in the AIRLab. It is mandatory so you should have a look at it :-)
- Suggestions to write properly your thesis, paper, report, and anything you want other people to read!
- How to write a thesis at the AIRLab is a (hopefully) useful guide about making and writing a thesis. It is biased toward the way I would like a thesis to be ;-) and it includes also a template for the presentation slides with useful suggestions.
- Check the following FAQ section to find some useful answers to questions you did not dare to ask ...
Master Thesis F.A.Q.
I advise, in cooperation with my PhD students, several Master thesis per year in the fields of Robotics, Computer Vision and Machine Learning. If you look for a thesis advised by me, send me an email, I usually have new proposal every 4-6 months including thesis with companies.
How long does a Master thesis last?
This is by far and large the most requested piece of information! As usual the answer is: "it depends!" A thesis is not a matter of time, it is a matter of results. The more you work the sooner results arrive, the earlier your thesis is done. However I think that a thesis should be considered as a new experience in your education and the goal should be to make it successful not just to make it fast; if you are interested in doing it fast consider making a "tesina" instead. With a "tesina" no innovative result is required so its duration is more predictable.
I know that unless I give numbers this answer won't be accepted and people will keep asking me; so here it comes some statistics. By past experience a thesis, this does not mean your thesis, has an expected duration of 12 months plus or minus 6 (this means it rarely lasts less than 6 months and more than 18 months) and a tesina an expected duration of 6 months plus or minus 3. Obviously this figures are about the time you spend working on the thesis (not necessarily full time, but it helps), i.e., asking for the thesis, disappearing and reappearing after 18 months is not a way to pursue a successful degree.
Can I do a theoretical, i.e., no programming, thesis?
Yes, I do advise theoretical thesis, but if you are interested in those be prepared in a deep mathematical work on machine learning oriented to proving theorems on information geometry or similar stuff! However, also with this thesis you should program to validate the theoretical results :-P In general all the thesis I advise are foreseen to have an experimental validation and this means you will have to program and perform experiments. After all, if you are expected to become a Computer Engineering you should know how to deal with a computer and programming is all about it!
Will my thesis work be published?
Some theses get published some theses not; the main condition is the new knowledge the student has been able to generate while working on the proposed subject. I know that students interested in a PhD after their Master might find beneficial to have some paper published at the admission; nevertheless it is hard to predict in advance which subject or thesis topic will result in a publication. As a general comment, it is in my interest as well to advise thesis that will result in a publication and I will do all it is possible on my side to guide you during the thesis work, but the real point is in the hard work that the student does to generate new knowledge. Let me give you another piece of advice: do not approach the Master thesis because you need a publication or because you want to pursue a PhD, instead, approach it because you are curios on a topic and want to gain as much knowledge about it as possible, then it might be that you will generate new knowledge as well.
PhD Thesis F.A.Q.
If you are interested in pursuing a PhD with me as an advisor, it is important you know what a PhD is at Politecnico di Milano and in Italy in general, which might not be clear if you are from abroad.
To apply for the PhD at Politecnico di Milano, you have to follow a standard procedure sending the required documents according to the call for applicants issued by the PhD School of Politecnico di Milano and not directly from one of the Faculty (as it happens in other universities); I suggest to surf more on the PhD School website to gather more infos. For specific information about the PhD in Information Technology you can also check the Information Technology PhD website.
Scholarships and calls
There are mainly two kinds of Scholarships, those funded by the Ministry and those funded by public/private Projects. The PhD call in Spring, PhD starting in Fall, has both kind of Scholarships; each year there is also an additional Winter call, PhD starting in Spring, with project funded Scholarships only. Ministry Scholarship are not bounded to any specific topic and you will have to focus it with your Advisor once you have started, project funded Scholarships are bounded to a specify topic and the Advisor is already defined. You will have to apply for each Project funded Scholarship at application time.
In case you do not need a scholarship as you have your own funds, you still need to get admitted to the PhD Program and thus apply according to the application regulation described above.
PhD Program and Advisor
As you will notice on the PhD School website, there are multiple PhD Programs, the one on Computer Engineering which I belong to is the one on Information Technology, and in particular the Computer Engineering section of it. Unless you apply for a project funded Scholarship, which has usually a designated Advisor, you will select your Advisor only once you get admitted.
As part of your admission material, you will have to write a project proposal according to a suggested format. This proposal is meant to evaluate your attitude and it is not binding to the actual PhD thesis yet. Sometimes you are asked also to give an reference name, in case we came in contact in advance, and we agreed on the project proposal, you could give mine. However, this does not mean anything special, there it will be a commission that will evaluate candidates and they will decide according to the CV, the project proposal and the motivation letter. Only once you get admitted you will able to decide for the official name of the thesis Advisor.
Projects and Internships F.A.Q.
From time to time I also receive emails with requests for extra course projects or internships, here some notes about those as well.
Extra Course Projects
Some students feel the lack of some practical activity and ask me about practical extra project to be pursued on their spare time while attending other courses. This generally happens at the third year of the Bachelor (Laurea Primo Livello) or at the beginning of their Master program, but it can also happen any time in their career.
I usually propose extra course projects in robotics and machine learning which require up to six months if done in spare time. This might seem a lot of time, but in my experience these projects turn out to be more time consuming than the students expect for some reasons which I care to highlight here:
- students feeling the lack of practical activities, they lack the practical competences required for the project so much of the time goes in setting up these competence, e.g., learning software tools or becoming practical with some robot. This is not a problem, indeed it is one of the main goal of the extra course project, isn't it?
- students feel to have more spare time than expected; indeed, the study program has been designed to fit the expected workload of an average student and it does. At the beginning of the semester it might seem that courses workload is not that much, but trust me, after the half of the semester you will find out that your spare time has reduced significantly ;-)
Having said this, I suggest students to do extra course activities and become practical in some topics (or deepen the knowledge on topics which are of their interest), better if they can match this with some project credits such as for the "Progetto di ingegneria informatica" course or a similar one. This practical activity usually turns out to be the preamble of a Master thesis.
At Politecnico di Milano we do not have an internship program and we do not have any structural fund to support Research or Summer Internships. From time to time we host self funded visiting students for some period doing their thesis or doing some project activity. In the past we have hosted self-funded students under exchange programs such as ERASMUS, CSC, CSF and similar ones. For summer internship please consider anyway that the university closes the whole month of August and thus possible activities could be only in June and July.