The day of one’s thesis defense is a pivotal point in every Ph.D.’s career. It is a day one waits anxiously for – both as it finally seals the deal on many years of gruesome labor and also because it feels extremely daunting, having to publically answer tough questions on the thing everyone expects the candidate to be an expert on. When our SWEng professor learned that Business Information Managers have a tradition of practicing for that big day he thought hey, such a good idea should also be tried out at our department.
The idea is that the candidate who will be next in line will get to practice defending his thesis, and another candidate whose thesis is also finished and just waiting for examination will be acting as the opponent (a valuable learning opportunity there as well!).
For this pilot rehearsal defence the Ph.D. candidate was M.Sc. Sriharsha Vathsavayi (whose defense will be on Friday 2.12. in TB109, all very welcome to attend) and the opponent was M.Sc. Marko Leppänen. Both Sriharsha and Marko currently work in the industry, so this was a very nich opportunity for both them to get back to the academic mindset and for us to hear what they have been up to since finishing their studies.
The audience got a very real feel of a defence on Harsha’s topic “Applying Genetic Algorithms for Software Design and Project Planning”, as Marko raised some interesting questions from the thesis, ranging from considering individual resources in disributed software development instead thinking only on team/site level to how usable the presented project/architecture optimization tool is.
Harsha nicely pondered and delivered his answers to them.
And professor Kari Systä, who orchestrated the rehearsal, also got to practice being kustos, and succeeded very well in keeping quiet.
In the end there were also some questions from the audience, which is not so common in a real defence.
Good luck to both candidates on their actual defences!
Photos by: Kari Systä