Recent final year projects

This page contains a list of projects that my supervisees worked on in the past years.

HTML4, HTML5, XHTML, CSS: current trends

The student will analyse the current distribution of the main W3C languages by spidering the UK web sites. Some of the answers the student should be able to answer by the end of the project include: what percentage of the web sites use HTML? What about XHTML? CSS? What’s the typical size of home pages? How much of it is CSS?

Improving the Performance of PHP-based web sites: an analysis of the different approaches

The student taking this thesis will do an in-depth analysis of the different approaches that can be used to improve the performance of PHP-based web sites. The student will select a number of appropriate approaches and evaluate their advantages and disadvantages in a number of significative scenarios. Reverse proxies, Zend byte-code optimisation, PHP accelerator and Alternative PHP cache are some examples of the technologies that should be analysed.

Drugs & fake ids: the darks side of the web

Apart from the “visible”, surface web a “deep” and darker web does exist. The dark web relies in the combined availability of crypto currencies and anonymisation to work as a market place for drugs, documents, weapons and illegal items in general.

During summer 2015 we run a project to mine data from the Dark Web. The follow up work will be the analysis of the dataset collected, focusing on drugs and fake documents.

The student will need outstanding experience of database technologies and data science/business intelligence.

Green economy jobs: trends and patterns

The student will be mining internet job boards to find the current state of jobs in the area of green economy in UK.

Where are the most green jobs? What are the salaries? Are the salaries increasing or decreasing? Should you move abroad if you want to work in this area?

Ajax Toolkits: features and popularity

The student will compare the existing Ajax toolkits and investigate their features, usability, accessibility and popularity. A rudimentary spider will be developed, on top of existing Open Source Software, to analyse the popularity of the different Ajax toolkits in a selection of domains.

Android usability: from Froyo to KitKat

The student will set up an in-depth usability evaluation of Android – from Froyo (indicatively from Android 2.2 to Android 4). The study will analyse Android’s interface and suitability for the most common tasks.

The student will need:

  • To have access to one or more android devices supporting at least 3 different minor revisions of Android (e.g. 2.2, 2.3 and 4)
  • To have access to a rooted phone and to be familiar with rooting and installing of custom Android firmware (e.g. Cyanogenmod)
  • To be able to recruit a statistically significant number of test users to evaluate the efficiency, efficacy and satisfaction of their interactions. Users must be tested and video recordings analysed – questionnaires are not acceptable

It can focus on mobile phones or tablet computers.

Content Management Systems

The student will review the more popular proprietary and Open Source content management systems and develop a rudimentary spider to analyse their popularity.

Server side module planner

The student taking this thesis will develop a server-side module planner, to be used by university programmes to manage dependences between modules. The software will be written using PHP and HTML/CSS. The planner will give allow to easily know which modules students have to take and which ones are optional, and would allow them to correctly plan their studies. The software will cover all the degrees in the computing area at ACE, but does not need to be extensible.

Web sites in UK: plotting the speed of the Web

The student will analyse the speed of a large subset of UK web sites, focusing on data collected from the DMOZ archive. The student will develop a prototype software to download the home page of a large number of websites (at least 10,000) and monitor their speed patterns. Some of the answers the student should be able to answer by the end of the project include: What’s the typical download time for home pages? Do the top Alexa web sites perform better? Is speed constant? If/when speed decreases, does it decrease for all websites? What are the more busy hours?

Web Standards: compliance and non-compliance

The thesis aims to investigate the reasons behind compliance and non-compliance to web standards. The student will survey a wide range of web sites and analyse compliance and non compliance to the main web standards. A selection of categories from the Dmoz catalogue will be used to identify the web sites to test. The research will be focusing on quantitative aspects and the student is expected to develop tools for HTML and/or CSS validation (building on top of existing solutions).

Increasing security with banning software

This thesis will investigate the use of banning software to improve the security of Linux systems. The student taking this project will need to acquire familiarity with Linux, iptables and regular expressions. Part of the thesis will include development of additional banning components on top of existing banning software as Fail2Ban.