MSc by Research Thesis (Pervasive Parallelism)

Course Descriptor for formal details.


The MSc by Research Thesis describes the results of a project undertaken throughout the MSc year by students of the CDT in Pervasive Parallelism, under the guidance of the supervision team. The project should address an area of relevance to the Pervasive Parallelism remit. It will typically be based on the plan developed during the Pervasive Parallelism course, but can be adapted or indeed radically changed from this as circumstances dictate, in collaboration with the supervision team. Students should be working on the project from their arrival in the school, initially outlining a topic and planning the work, before moving on to execution and reporting.

As discussed below, assessment is on the basis of the submitted thesis. Additionally, students will give an intermediate progress presentation to their supervision team. This is unassessed, and offers the chance to obtain feedback on progress and valuable experience in presentation skills.


Good Scholarly Practice. Please remember the University requirement as regards all assessed work. Details about this can be found under academic misconduct and plagiarism.

The Intermediate Progress Presentation

The intermediate progress presentation meeting should be scheduled by the principal supervisor, to be held in the week indicated above, or thereabouts as arranged.

The meeting should be attended by the student, the principal supervisor, the domain expert co-supervisor, and ideally the wild-card co-supervisor (who should otherwise contribute electronically). The student should give a presentation of around 20 minutes, covering background and objectives, progress so far and plans for the remainder of the project. This should be followed by, or interleaved with, questions and comments from the supervision team.

After the meeting, the supervision team should provide written feedback to the student. This should comment on progress, note any concerns which arose, and suggest adjustments, improvements or other useful observations as appropriate. The report should note the date of the meeting and attendance. It should be e-mailed to the student and to Further informal feedback and discussion is also strongly recommended.

The Thesis

The project is only assessed on the basis of a final written thesis. Additional material, such as the code you submit, may be taken into account in case of doubt, but you should make sure that all the work you have done is carefully described in the thesis. Theses will typically conform to the following format:

In addition, the thesis must be accompanied by a statement declaring that the student has read and understood the University's plagiarism guidelines. Students should budget at least six weeks for the final thesis writing-up phase. Where appropriate the thesis may additionally contain appendices in which relevant program listings, experimental data, circuit diagrams, formal proofs, etc. may be included. However, students should keep in mind that they are marked on the quality of the thesis, not its length. The thesis must be word-processed using either LaTeX or a system with similar capabilities. The LaTeX thesis template can be found via the local packages web page. You don't have to use these packages, but your thesis must match the style (i.e., font size, text width etc) shown in the sample output for an Informatics thesis. Technical problems during project work are only considered for resources we provide; no technical support, compensation for lost data, extensions for time lost due to technical problems with external hard- and software as provided will be given, except where this is explicitly stated as part of a project specification and adequately resourced at the start of the project.


Students must submit their project by the deadline above. Students need to submit hard copy, electronic copy and archive software as detailed below, and in the further information which will be circulated by the Informatics Teaching Office.

Please include the following acknowledgement somewhere prominent (for example on the Declaration or Acknowledgements page). "This work was supported in part by the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Pervasive Parallelism, funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (grant EP/L01503X/1) and the University of Edinburgh."

Hard Copy

Two printed copies of the dissertation, bound with the soft covers provided by the School, must be submitted to the ITO before the deadline.

Electronic Copy

Students must follow the instructions for how to submit their project electronically. Please use the online submission form that is linked from there.


Students are required to preserve any software they have generated, source, object and make files, together with any associated data that has been accumulated. When you submit the electronic copy of your thesis you will also be asked to provide an archive file (tar or zip) containing all the project materials. You should create a directory, for example named PROJECT, in your file space specifically for the purpose. Please follow the accepted practice of creating a README file which documents your files and their function. This directory should be compressed and then submitted, together with the electronic version of the thesis, via the submission webpage.

Assessment and Feedback

In addition to the feedback received on your research proposal during the Pervasive Parallelism course, you will receive feedback on your Intermediate Progress Presentation directly from your supervisor.

In common with standard school practice for the assessment of MSc projects, your thesis will be assessed independently by two markers, one of whom will normally be your principal supervisor, and potentially by a moderator in the event of disagreement between the markers. Only the thesis itself is used for assessment, and will consider a number of basic and other criteria. Knowledge of these criteria will help you to plan your project and also when writing up. They include:

The full marking guidelines are also available.

Miscellaneous Resources

Here are some documents

Murray Cole, Informatics Forum room 1.18, ext. 505154

Home : Teaching : Courses 

Informatics Forum, 10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AB, Scotland, UK
Tel: +44 131 651 5661, Fax: +44 131 651 1426, E-mail:
Please contact our webadmin with any comments or corrections. Logging and Cookies
Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all material is copyright © The University of Edinburgh