We welcome students interested in software engineering, empirical research and modern software technologies to do their thesis with our group! Below are some pointers and subjects stemming from our research interests.
See also our current list of projects on the Research page to get an idea of what is topical in our research. Another list of all our projects is also available in Tuhat, with responsible persons listed (you can ask them about potential thesis topics).
A more exhaustive list of subjects from the department is available at CSM Master thesis topics.
General writing Instructions
We have written some instructions to help the students write their Master's theses, seminar papers and B.Sc. theses. Please, read the guide before starting your thesis work: Scientific Writing – Guide of the Empirical Software Engineering Research Group.
Master's Thesis Topics
Software engineering and technology are prevalent areas for thesis at the department, and many candidates ask for thesis subjects every academic year. We do our best to accommodate the requests, but the applicants can smoothen the process by taking an active role in thinking about potential subjects based on the themes presented below.
We provide guidance for selecting a suitable syllabu and the supervision and support needed to complete the work. Please contact Antti-Pekka Tuovinen or Tomi Männistö if you are interested. You can also contact the group members to ask about the subject areas they are working on.
Suppose you, as a student, are working in software development, processes, architecture or something related. In that case, there is a good chance of finding an interesting thesis syllabu that closely relates to your work. In such a case, the genuine work often provides an excellent problem to investigate, propose or try out potential solutions for, or the case can act as a rich source of data about the practice of software development.
We also welcome companies to suggest potential subjects for Master's thesis. The subjects can be general, based on existing research, or they may require original research and problem-solving. We will help to evaluate and fine-tune the proposals. Depending on the topic, you may also need to be prepared to provide guidance and assistance during the thesis project.
Please contact Antti-Pekka Tuovinen or Tomi Männistö if you have an idea for an industrial thesis and need further information.
The listing below introduces our current research areas and potential subjects for the thesis. Each syllabu has a short description and the names of the researchers working on the topic. Please contact them for more details about the research and thesis work. Note that you can also suggest and discuss other subjects within the general area of software engineering research. We encourage creativity and student-centred insight in selecting and defining the topic.
Some earlier MSc thesis titles below give some idea about the topics. You can try looking up more info from E-thesis, but not that it is up to the author if the genuine thesis is available. Just search using the title (or part of it) in quotation marks.
- Exploring study paths and study success in undergraduate Computer Science studies
- EU:n tietosuoja-asetuksen GDPR:n vaikutus suomalaisissa pk-yrityksissä 2018-2020
- Industrial Surveys on Software Testing Practices: A Literature Review
- Laskennallisesti raskaan simulointiohjelmistokomponentin korvaaminen reaaliaikasovelluksessa koneoppimismenetelmällä
- Web service monitoring tool development
- Case study: identifying developer oriented features and capabilities of API developer portals
- Elinikäinen oppiminen ohjelmistotuotannon ammattilaisen keskeisenä kompetenssina
- On the affect of psychological safety, team leader's behaviour and team's gender diversity on software team performance: A literature review
- Julkaisusyklin tihentämisen odotukset, haasteet ja ratkaisut
- Itseohjautuvan auton moraalikoneen kehittämisen haasteet
- Internal software startup within a university – producing industry-ready graduates
- Applying global software development approaches to building high-performing software teams
- Systemaattinen kirjallisuuskatsaus lääkinnällisistä ohjelmistoista ja ketterästä ohjelmistokehityksestä
Current syllabu areas of interest to the research group (see below for the details)
|Embodied Computational Creativity (TOPIC AREA)
|Hybrid software development (TOPIC AREA)
|Digital Twin of Yourself
|Software engineering and climate change (TOPIC AREA)
|Life-long learning for modern software engineering profession
|Software development in non-ICT contexts (TOPIC AREA)
|Creatively self-adaptive software architectures (TOPIC AREA)
|Robotics software and software architectures (TOPIC AREA)
|Continuous experimentation (TOPIC AREA)
|Digitalization and digital transformations: impacts on software engineering and systems development (TOPIC AREA)
|High-performing software teams (TOPIC AREA)
|Software innovation (TOPIC AREA)
Master’s Thesis in Creative Robotics (paid position)
We are looking for a Master’s thesis student to work on our HIIT-funded project on creative robots in the Empirical Software Engineering group. We investigate how the perceptable characteristics of a creative agent - in short its embodiment - affect how the creativity of the system is perceived. Your main task as the Master’s thesis worker is to implement a creative drawing system in three different ways: a 2D visualization, a virtual robot in a 3D simulation, and a physical robot. In addition you will be writing your Master’s thesis and participating in the development of the creative drawing algorithm used by the system. As a stretch goal you may be participating in the organization of empirical tests and analyzing the results.
The project begins immediately when a suitable candidate is found and the maximum funding period for the project is 5 months.The salary will be defined according to university labor agreement based on the study progress of the student (within the range 2034-2226 €/month). The majority of the work is expected to be carried out during autumn 2022.
- The drawing algorithm is developed for ROS 2 with Python/C++
- The simulator environment used can be discussed, but Gazebo is a strong contender
- The project uses simple robots (e.g. Turtlebot2/3) which affect the drawing algorithm’s requirements and fidelity
- Interest in robotics and embedded systems
- General understanding and interest in artificial intelligence and/or asynchronous systems
- Good coding skills with Python and/or C++
You can expect:
- A lot of low level coding - one of your main tasks will be to implement low-level functionalities on the different platforms to create an API which supports the execution of the creative drawing algorithm in the same manner on the different platforms.
- Independent problem solving – we will guide you in your work, but you are also expected to be able to work individually.An interesting syllabu to work on alongside researchers interested in creative robotics.
- Option to participate in writing a scientific publication (in addition to your thesis).
To apply, send an informal application as an email describing your motivation to study robotics, your (possible) experience with it and other relevant fields, and a transcript of your studies (from Sisu is fine) to Anna Kantosalo (email@example.com). Please mention in the header of your e-mail: “Application for Master’s Thesis Worker in Creative Robotics” and name the application documents (pdf) using your surname (e.g. [surname]-study-transcript.pdf). There is no single deadline for applications. Suitable candidates will be contacted for interviews on a rolling basis and the position will be filled when a suitable candidate is found.
Project team: Anna Kantosalo, Simo Linkola, Christian Guckelsberger (Aalto), Tomi Männistö
Contact: Anna Kantosalo
Hybrid software development (TOPIC AREA)
The current pandemic has brought many, even radical, changes to almost all software companies and software development organizations. Especially, the sudden moves to working-from-home (WFH) in March 2020 forced them to adapt and even rethink many software engineering practices in order to continue productive software development under the new constraints.
Now (December 2021), various hybrid ways of working appear to become the new "normal" for the software industry in general. For instance, many companies are offering flexible workplace arrangements (WFX).
This thesis syllabu theme aims to explore and possibly explain such changes in contemporary software engineering. Potential research questions include the following:
- How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected different software engineering activities (negatively or positively)? What are the mechanisms?
- What adaptations and countermeasures have different software organizations devised to cope with the challenges?
- What could be learned from them for future hybrid software development processes, practices and tools?
Contact: Petri Kettunen
MLOps -- as a derivative of DevOps -- is about practice and tools for ML-based systems that technically enable iterative software engineering practice. We have several funded positions in the area of MLOps in our research projects (IMLE4 https://itea4.org/project/iml4e.html and AIGA https://ai-governance.eu/) that can be tailored to the interest of the applicant. For details, contact Mikko Raatikainen (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Digital Twin of Yourself
Digital twins are virtual world dynamic models of real-world physical objects. They originate from manufacturing domains. In such environments, they are utilized, for example, for predictive maintenance of equipment based on real-time machine data.
Recently the application domains of digital twins have broadened to cover also living objects – especially human beings, for instance, in medical domains (so-called Human Digital Twins). In this thesis topic, the objective is to design a digital twin of yourself. The choice of the digital twin dynamic model is free, and so are the data inputs. One possibility could be, for instance, your real-life physical exercise data (e.g., from a heart-rate monitor). You could also consider your Citizen Digital Twin, following your study data and yourself as a lifelong learner.
Contact: Petri Kettunen
Software engineering and climate change (TOPIC AREA)
Global climate change may have various impacts on future software engineering on the one hand, and software engineering may affect climate change directly or indirectly, positively or negatively on the other hand. All that opens up many potentially important research problems. Specific theses in this syllabu area could be, for instance, the following themes:
- Green IT (e.g., engineering new software with energy-efficiency requirements in order to reduce or limit the power consumption and consequently the carbon footprint)
- Carbon neutrality goals of software companies (e.g., software development organizations decreasing physical travelling in order to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions)
- Developing software products or services for measuring climate change-related factors
The thesis could be a literature review, an empirical case study or a scientific design work.
Contact: Petri Kettunen
Life-long learning for modern software engineering profession
Specific intended learning outcomes for computer science (software engineering) graduates are life-long learning skills. Such skills and capabilities are essential in modern industrial software engineering environments. Workplace learning is a vital part of most professional software development jobs. What are the necessary life-long learning skills exactly? Why are those skills and capabilities essential in different software organizations? How can they be learned and improved? How do software professionals learn in their workplaces? What particular skills will be more critical in the future? Why?
This syllabu could be investigated by case studies in real-life software organizations. The specific research questions could be some of the above or possibly focused on particular skills (e.g., assessing one's own and the works of other software developers).
Contact: Petri Kettunen
Software development in non-ICT contexts (TOPIC AREA)
Software technology is increasingly applied in non-ICT domains and environments (e.g., healthcare, financial sector, telecommunications systems, industrial automation). Such conditions bring up many considerations for effective and efficient software engineering, such as: What are the key characteristics of different use domains (e.g., complexity, reliability)? What is the scope of the particular software system? How are the software requirements engineered? What are the specific constraints (e.g., regulations) in different domains to be considered in software engineering? How to measure the success of the software projects and products? What software development methods (e.g., agile) are applicable in different domains? Why/why not? What particular software-related competencies are needed (e.g., digitalization, IoT, cyber-physical systems)?
This research problem could be investigated both theoretically (literature study) and empirically in industrial case studies. The genuine research questions could be some of the above or formulated individually.
Contact: Petri Kettunen
Creatively self-adaptive software architectures (TOPIC AREA)
We have recently started exciting research in the intersection between the research fields of self-adaptive software and computational creativity, intending to develop novel software architectures that can creatively adapt themselves in unforeseen situations. This initiative is a new research collaboration between the Discovery Group of Prof. Hannu Toivonen and ESE. There are different options for thesis work with either of the groups. To get a better idea of the topic, see Linkola et al. 2017. Aspects of Self-awareness: An Anatomy of Metacreative Systems. http://computationalcreativity.net/iccc2017/ICCC_17_accepted_submissions/ICCC-1…
Contact: Tomi Männistö
Robotics software and software architectures (TOPIC AREA)
We are building an interesting line of research in software and software architectures for robotics. This area is an intersection of software engineering and artificial cognitive systems and considers knowledge from different domain areas where robots perform tasks in the physical world. Thesis work in this area can range from technical and practical to theoretical. The perspectives include questions about traits of the robotics platform architecture that make the development of robotics applications more straightforward and questions about implementing software for robotics systems in different physical environments.
We are currently looking for an MSc thesis writer interested in implementing software for a cleaning robot for construction sites. In this project, we cooperate with Pulurobotics (a Finnish startup providing the robotics platform), NCC, and Palmia (together providing a real-world use case). The project includes both investigating the use case requirements and programming the robot. There is an opportunity for a funded thesis position.
Contact: Niko Mäkitalo
Continuous Experimentation (TOPIC AREA)
Software product and service companies need capabilities to evaluate their development decisions and customer and user value. Continuous experimentation, as an experiment-driven development approach, may reduce such development risks by iteratively testing product and service assumptions critical to the software's success. Experiment-driven development has been a crucial component of software development, especially in the last decade. Companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Amazon and many others often conduct experiments to base their development decisions on data collected from field usage. The syllabu is one of the most active research fields for our research group, and some latest publications are on introducing the concept and the RIGHT model.
Contact: Timo Asikainen
Digitalization and digital transformations: impacts on software engineering and systems development (TOPIC AREA)
Digitalization is nowadays cross-cutting and inherent in most areas of businesses and organizations. Software is increasingly built-in and ubiquitous. Such trends and developments bring up many potential software research problems, such as: What does digitalization entail in different contexts? How should digitalization be taken into account in software development processes? What is the role of customer/user involvement in software-intensive systems development (e.g., digital services)? What are the key quality attributes? What new software engineering skills and competencies may be needed? What is the role of software (and IT) in general in different digital transformations (e.g., vs business process development)? How is digitalization related to traditional software engineering and computer science disciplines in different contexts? What aspects of software development and digital technologies are fundamentally new or different from the past?
This research problem could be investigated theoretically (literature study) or empirically in industrial case studies. The genuine research questions could be some of the above or formulated individually.
Contact: Petri Kettunen
High-performing software teams (TOPIC AREA)
How is (high) performance defined and measured in software development (e.g., productivity)? Which factors affect it - positively or negatively - and how strongly (e.g., development tools, team composition)? Can we "build" high-performing software teams systematically, or do they merely emerge under certain favourable conditions? What are suitable organizational designs and environments for hosting and supporting such teams? See this link and this link for more info.
Contact: Petri Kettunen
Software innovation (TOPIC AREA)
How are innovation and creativity taken into account in software development processes and methods (e.g., Agile)? What role do customer/user input and feedback play in software(-intensive) product creation (e.g., open innovation)? How to define and measure 'innovativeness' in software development? What makes software development organizations (more) innovative? See here for more about the topic. How can Open Data Software help innovation?
Contact: Petri Kettunen