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July 2017

Final Year Project Advice – Biotechnology

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The Final Year Project Advice Series aims to give all final years some insight on the project and its technicalities and lighten their burden. Here is an article for all the final year students of Biotechnology.

Biotechnology has a vast number of disciplines and areas to choose for your project. Ideally projects in the field Bioinformatics, Molecular Biology, Genetic Engineering, Bioprocess Engineering and Process optimization can be done. But there might be some resources which might be limited and some more fields might be possible if they don’t consume a lot of resources. Discuss the possibilities with your project team members and with the supervisor for all the possibilities.

Selecting the discipline can get confusing given the number of options to choose from. With respect to NITW, the allotment will be GPA wise and supervisors will also be allotted in a similar fashion. Some department faculty are very flexible in general and allow students to take projects beyond their expertise too. Do approach your supervisor regarding your idea during the initial project meets and discuss about possible solutions. It will be really helpful if elaborate discussions about the idea of the projects possible, the time and resource constraints and requirement are done supported by literature review and cost estimate (in case of extra resources). You can also consider working on an extension or module of project of your supervisor as it will be well funded and well-structured and might save a lot of your time designing your own experiments.

Identifying faculty who have done extensive research and studies in your field of choice will prove to be of great help as they will be more than willing to assist you. The faculty expertise is available on NIT Warangal’s website. And by the time you enter final year you will definitely know the faculty expertise. Some faculties and/or their doctoral students have experience with different fields, so your supervisor can probably mentor you in most of the project ideas. Also most of the projects might require more than one laboratory. Faculty other than your supervisor are also helpful in case you require their mentorship in the project. I would suggest you to focus on discussing about the potential project with your supervisor and its feasibility in the department as mentorship will not be a major issue.

As far as grading of the project is concerned, In general, you get an EX only if you have a research paper or if you publish your results. The rest of the grades will be assigned on the overall participation in the project. You might have to report continuously for the project meetings, show progress and meet the regular deadlines. Also you might have to come up with alternatives in case you are short of some resources. If the project is a short duration project and used only a month of work, you can add some more extensions to project work. Your knowledge towards the subject is reflected during meets and discussions with the supervisor and some input will have to be put for that.

The ideal way to execute the project will be to discuss the project idea in length. Some projections like duration of the project, resources required and project design will need some working out. I would suggest to not have a project duration of more than 2-3 months because there are some delays always. The discussions will require around 2 months. So until mids of 7th sem you can work on discussions, literature review and designing the experiment. Then you should start some modules of your project and order chemicals/reagents (if required). Show some progress by the end of 7th sem. In 8th sem try to finish the project as soon as possible, because labs will be busy after midsems in 8th sem, in case some experiments are not working you might need a fresh batch of compounds and reagents. Also some extensions in project might be added based on previous results.

Keeping these points in mind, finding your way through the project will definitely become much easier and even enjoyable.

Contributor: Krishna Gupta

Final Year Project Advice – Chemical

As promised, Innovation Garage keeps bringing to you, more articles for the Final Year Project Advice Series. Here is one for all the chemical engineering students.

Projects in Chemical Engineering can basically be divided into 2 main categories:- Design and Experimental/Synthesis. Experimental projects are mostly tough considering the amount of lab work required and neither preferred nor encouraged to be done at the undergrad level. It is better to therefore take up a design project which essentially inculcates your UG curriculum and program outcomes and are easy to work upon. Design projects are generally aimed at establishing a plant for production of a given compound while evaluating economics of the process.

After the groups are formed and the guides are allotted, the most daunting task is to select a suitable compound whose plant needs to be designed from a vast database of chemicals. Try to select a topic on which sufficient literature is available in the standard journals. I would suggest to take a compound on which much work is not done however data is sufficiently available. Sources which may help include journals like Chemical Engineering Journal, Chemical Engineering Science and others. Please avoid predatory/open journals; much of the information provided is unauthentic and plagiarized.

Regarding design, one person in the group must be allotted at least one component to design. Relevant design procedures can be obtained from standard reference books or journal papers. The calculation of the design parameters is one of the most time-consuming parts. Complete all the calculations by hand first and then recheck. If the calculations are repetitive, you can use MATLAB codes or Excel Sheets which would definitely reduce your time and effort. One must understand the physical and practical significance of the results obtained. Discuss with your team members and guides before you finalise the results. Better to use a simulation software to validate your results.

Design projects usually give little scope for analytical thinking and inference drawing. One is expected to follow a set of rules and complete the task. Most importantly one must be able to explain the significance of the data sets and methods and defend the results. Clear knowledge of the data and subject matter can really help you with it. As you have seen, design projects mostly include theoretical studies thus one must be prepared to go to any extent to compile the requisite data. One must hence cite appropriately for future reference to avoid wastage of time. Sort all the papers, figures and tables accordingly in drives or folders and use as and when required. Keep a database of all the physical and chemical properties for ready reference.By the end of the term, you will be left with a lot of data which may create confusion. Hence it is advised to prepare the report simultaneously with your work. Don’t pick up lines directly from the journals for your final report! Try to reframe as much as possible.

Keep a tab on your progress and meet up once a week to discuss the status with your guide and team members. Try to obtain sufficient work to complete and never hesitate to notify to your members or guide any bottlenecks if faced. Help out your friends if you can. You can also ask other professors for their advice.

In addition to being the part of the your curriculum, the project also finds its place in the questions you may face in the technical interviews for the core companies during placements. One must therefore be on their toes and prepared to explain the details as and when required. Continuous progress is thus mandatory.

Once done and if you feel you have something novel to present, consult your guide and apply for the IICHE Awards for best design project. It can be another feather in your cap!

 

  1. Ambuja’s Best Home Paper or Design Project Report Awards for an Undergraduate Chemical Engineering Student

http://www.iiche.org.in/studentawards.php#5

 

  1. Acharya P C Ray Award for the best and second best Project Reports (Home Paper) or Plant Design in the Final Examination of the
    First Degree Course in Chemical Engineering

http://www.iiche.org.in/studentawards.php#7

Contributor: Deepesh Sawhney

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Final Year Project Advice – EEE

The Final Year Project Advice by the Innovation Garage aims to help all final years with their pxroject work and make the otherwise tedious task, enjoyable and easy to do. With that goal in mind, IG brings to you another article in the series for Electrical and Electronics Engineering Students.

There are a vast number of disciplines to choose from for your project in EEE. Some of the most popular ones are:

  1. Electrical Machines
  2. Power Systems
  3. Embedded Electronics
  4. Renewable Energy Sources
  5. Machine Learning

There are different factors to be kept in mind while choosing the discipline for your project, from department faculty and guide to personal interest and available facilities. In EEE, selection of project largely depends on faculty allotted. Best way to select a project given the faculty allotment scenario is to go and talk with your faculty, discuss with him/her what you would like to work on. In such a discussion, the faculty might suggest something which suits you and also relates to their field of work. Try asking for options, and select one from those. In most of the cases, faculties give multiple research papers to students after such a discussion so that students can go through them and choose. In this phase, don’t hesitate to ask for options or to say that you don’t like a particular project which faculty offers you! Be polite and say what you want to, otherwise you might get stuck for whole year with something you don’t like.

As EEE doesn’t let us choose the faculty and randomly allocates faculty to groups of students, identifying faculty with specific expertise does not have great priority. However, before going for first meeting/discussion with faculty (as mentioned above) make sure you check his/her profile on NITW website, and his/her research papers which can be easily found online.

As far as the grading is concerned, in EEE, it is pretty straightforward. It includes marks given by professors and guide in your presentation. The project presentations should never be taken for granted. Professors sitting in the seminar hall are very good at knowing whether you know what you are presenting or not. They might also interrupt you in between and tell someone else to explain the part you were explaining, so there is no point in dividing the presentation and being complacent with prepping only your part.

Execution of the project is in fact the most vital step of the entire project. The most important point and perhaps also the most cliched one is to WORK REGULARLY. Even if you are working little, do work on some portion every week and give updates to your faculty. Your relation with your guide is of utmost importance, however at the same time, it is very easy to keep it well. Make it a point to visit your faculty once every week, drop him/her a mail about your progress/problems you faced/how did you solve them every 2-3 days. This makes them know that you are not ignoring your project and are putting some real effort. Make sure each and everyone in your group works. Be it preparing presentation, soldering or writing report in Latex. If you are one of the lower cgpa slabs, don’t think that the other person will take care of whole work because at the end this attitude will come back to bite you. Faculties will immediately notice that you don’t know anything and maximum grade you get will be a solid C.

It is very easy to score a good grade in project work in our department. You just need to make sure that you have some concept in your project which your guide and faculties at presentation don’t know about, and you need to research and implement it properly. If you do work hard on it, you will be able to explain about it in presentation and minimum a B (and in best case A) will be guaranteed. Do work on your presentation skills. Rehearse before presentation. It has often happened that a person knew everything about a concept, but just because he/she couldn’t explain it properly his/her grade got affected.

Keeping the above suggestions in mind, completing the project will not seem like a burden and definitely become a much easier task.

Contributor: Tejas Niphadkar

Final Year Project Advice – Civil

As Innovation Garage continues its series on the final year project advice, here’s one for the students of Civil Engineering.

In Civil engineering at NITW, following is the priority order of specializations based on the amount of time a professor could invest on a final year undergraduate project: structural engineering, water resource and environmental, transportation engineering, geo-technical engineering.

Selecting a discipline is one of the most difficult steps in the entire project. Following criteria should be considered in choosing a topic for the project:

  1. AREA OF INTEREST: The most important criteria in selecting a project is the student’s (or team) interest. Unfortunately, in the Civil engineering department, a guide (or adviser) is allotted based on the average GPA of a team, not a lot of flexibility in choosing your adviser and hence the area of research. If you have a chance of choosing your adviser, chose that professor who works in your area of interest (usually a student is not aware of the area of interests of a professor, department’s website should be a good start in this regard).
  2. INFRASTRUCTURE: Your idea might not always always be feasible given the available infrastructure. Like materials, testing facilities etc… Sometimes, even if the materials (e.g. cement, aggregate, admixtures) or infrastructure (e.g sensors, UTM) can be arranged, it might take a long time for you to procure them given the institute’s tedious purchase policy. Keep in mind, you are working in a government funded organization, it might take some time to arrange for things. Be patient, hopefully it should work. Support from your guide is key for getting things done in this case. Working on simulations (finite element, matrix based methods or coding) will be a safe bet. If I am not wrong, the institute has a license for software like MATLAB, Abaqus, Stadpro etc. Simulations these days form a very important part of research. Quality work can be done, given you spend some time.
  3. INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH: Students in the Civil engineering department should definitely consider working on interdisciplinary projects. Unfortunately, the curriculum doesn’t stress/insist on doing this. I consider this to be very important. Get out of your comfort zone and start working on coding in MATLAB, start working with electronics (working with arduino’s, signal processing etc..). If you are considering taking up Master’s or PhD this is very very important. I cannot stress more on this.

Identifying which professor among the faculty in your department is proficient in your chosen discipline is very helpful as you will always have someone very qualified to approach to and get an expert’s view on any issues. Check the research papers uploaded on the institute website by various professors and identify which one of them has done the most research in your field of interest.

The grading of your project varies from the first semester of your final year to the second. In the First semester, grading will be based on your interaction with your guide, literature review and discussion with him/her. Whereas in the second semester it is purely based on your presentation in front of the committee.

Finally, with regards to the execution of the project, there are many approaches for you to choose from. Here is one effective approach:

  1. Literature review: This is the part where you review previous work done on your idea/project. The institute subscribes to lot of journals, this should come in handy. You come up with what the researcher has done, what are the shortfalls, what was the strength. This is a very important part of your work.
  2. Improvising: Based on the shortfalls of previous work done in your area of interest, you improvise. Also, you can apply a principle to a different application, something which has not been previously explored.
  3. Simulations: You try simulating material behaviour or circuit behaviour using software based on concepts like finite element methods, finite difference methods or coding. This is the step where you try describing what is actually happening using a bunch of equations.
  4. Experiments: You perform experiments to improvise on previous work and show results that actually prove you are improving the previously used methods/models/techniques. You also perform experiments to validate simulations basically to see if your equations describe the actual behaviour.

The above suggestions and techniques should give a valuable insight to the final year project work and hopefully provide a helping hand to the students as well.

Contributior: Sai Kalyan Evani

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Final Year Project Advice – ECE

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With the beginning of the new academic year, begins the ever dreaded hustle of attending classes, completing assignments so on and so forth. For a few of us, this academic year also proves to be a final hurdle before heading out into the real world. The final years.

But worry not! Innovation Garage is here to lend a hand to help you overcome this final hurdle successfully. IG brings to you, suggestions and advice on your final year project right from your seniors for every branch.

Naturally, the first course of action while deciding on a project would be to identify which discipline or area in your branch you would like to base your project on. With respect to Electronics and Communication Engineering, the areas of interest are virtually endless. You have options ranging from Device modelling, Signal processing, image processing (or closely related to computer vision), embedded systems, sensor networks, micro controllers to IoT, Antennas, Computer networking, Circuit simulation or optimisation on Tanner or Tspice, and DSP. ECE has a vast amount of disciplines. The list is practically unexhaustive.

Having these many areas to choose from, the question arises, how do I choose a discipline that’s suitable for me? Select topics from IEEE or other Engineering colleges abroad such as MIT since they have project submissions almost every semester. Kick starter is also a great source for fresh and current ideas. In ECE, you will have the chance to select a project, but the project discipline should match with the expertise of your guide, and the selection of the guide is not in your hand. It’s random. But given the guide (and hence the discipline), you can come up with various projects matching the discipline.

Try to avoid purchasable products as much as possible. Buying hardware or software products which are proprietary will cost you more time and effort to build your project. Open source products and services are highly recommended. This has an added benefit that enables you to publish your project if it becomes successful without considering legal problems as faced by proprietary products.

In addition to your assigned guide, you can always take help from the large number of highly experienced faculty present in the department. In order to get an idea about who to approach with your project idea regarding any queries or questions, go through the research papers uploaded by them on the institute website as this helps in gaining perspective regarding which Professor has the most knowledge and experience in your field of interest.

Plan in advance on how you are going to execute the project. Meet with your team at least 2 times a week and maintain a fixed schedule. Create a google drive to maintain records of all required documents and software and try to collaborate in a continuous manner with your team. Maintain a record of the tasks planned with their deadlines and complete them one by one strictly adhering to your set deadlines. Keep updating your guide weekly on the progress made with the project work as well. Keep an eye out for sample data and data sets which you may critically need in your project. Equally distribute your work in the team and don’t neglect anyone in the group. If any member is lagging behind try to understand their reason and make them realize the importance of completing the task on time. If not try to help them but you should not finish the task. The main reason for this is at the panel if teachers think someone doesn’t know the project they will ignore rest of the team and may grill the member unfamiliar with the project.

The project being a group activity requires a good amount of coordination and cooperation for successful completion. Setting strict deadlines and maintaining proper communication between the group members and with you mentors or guides is one of the best ways to make fast and timely progress with your project.

Contributors: Sreerag Sreenath, Vishal Jain, Saurabh Dewangan

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