Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Criticism is Welcome

I got an unusual request from Dario Clocchiatti, a fresh graduate from Università degli Studi di Udine, Italy. After reading critical responses on many theses posted in this blog, Dario would like to present his MS degree thesis for a review. The thesis work has been done over a period of six months in CMOSIS, under Guy Meynants supervision.

The thesis "Characterization of Single Pixels in CMOS Image Sensors" is available for download at Google Drive. It covers a wide range of information, starting from various pixel operation aspects, all the way to the electrical measurements (optical characterization is not covered) and even PPD device simulations. Some figures from the thesis:

14 comments:

  1. It is surely remarkable that not a single paper from JPL on CMOS image sensors is referenced. Peter Noble's 3T CMOS APS paper is not referenced. The first CMOS APS with a PPD is not referenced. Most Asian papers from Japan, Korea and China are ignored. The recent PPD review paper that we published in JEDS is not referenced. There are many good references in the paper, but it is weird that all of these are passed over compared to some of the trivial references that are cited. I think they stopped teaching how to do a bibliography in Europe based on the last few theses I have seen. Very uneven treatment of the literature.
    I think the approach in Europe is different than the US for an MS thesis. In the US, some concrete advancement to the state of understanding is expected. Not as much as a PhD thesis, of course, but some advancement.

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    1. Yes, I definitely agree, that was one on my weakest points and I was expecting the worst remarks on that. That was one of the main reasons why I waited so long (The document is actually from February-March 2014, so recent stuff is not there). I was hoping I could get the chance of improving the references with post graduation search, but I couldn't follow up that easily.. till now, when I hope I can get new stimulus from some critical review. That's a great honor for me in any case! Thanks!

      It is true that I treated literature in a very superficial way, blame on me. But on the other hand no one had complained, till I decided that someone should actually complain. :)

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    2. Your thesis is your thesis. As long as it is accepted by your university and adviser you can write what you want and how you want to write it. Congratulations on finishing your MS and good luck in your future.

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  2. A couple of remarks : for a MSc thesis it is not really a must to have done "new" things in the project, at least not at the Delft University of Technology. Very often the MSc thesis work is linked to a running PhD project, and in that case it is not an exception to have also new ideas incorporated in the MSc thesis. On the other hand, if the work that is shown here is really done within 6 months, then it is a remarkable amount of knowledge that is gathered and collected, and an enormous amount of information that is written down. It is hard to believe that one person has done this in 6 months. But nevertheless, if it is done in 6 months, Great Job. By posting the material BEFORE (!) its final submission to the committee and asking for comments, the student puts himself is a very vulnerable position as we can experience. But I consider this very encouraging that the person is asking for help/advice from the imaging community. And of course a MSc thesis will show shortcomings, but if the student takes the recommendations he/she gets from this community serious, his/her thesis can only improve a lot. So I would like to thank Dario for willing to take the risk as he did, and I would like to thank Eric (and maybe others will follow) for the comments. Taking these into account will result in a great thesis when submitted to the committee. I would love to see here the final version posted as well.
    To make sure we all understand each other : I am not at all involved in this work, neither part of any committee.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment!
      Please let me explain a little bit about the timings involved, I actually spent 1 year in the writing of this thesis.

      In March 2013 I started my internship in CMOSIS and it ended up in September 2013. Here I had my first introduction to the topic and worked with Guy's characterization team, developing their measurement system for testchips and making use of their equipment to conduct various analyses. I couldn't thank Guy enough for letting me take home the measurement board and some meaningful samples for the 6 months that followed. From September 2013 and March 2014 (graduation) I worked in my home university, where I've actually given a structure to the thesis, written and gathered all the data in there (except Activation Energy extraction, done back at CMOSIS).
      This is the first time someones tries to tackle image sensors in my university, no PhD guys involved at all.. :)

      Since graduation, I've always wanted to somehow share my work. It's past time I've graduated now, but only recently I found the courage to face the community. Unfortunately, as Eric underlines, I seriously stumbled with references, but I still thought that your advice could pinpoint to where rooms for improvement lay.

      Thanks a lot!
      Dario.

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  3. Eric, in Italy the MS thesis counts as 20 credits out of 120 of a 2 year master program. The professors don't always read the thesis text but they mainly evaluate the student based on the final presentation.
    Dario, some of the previous master thesis on this blog, although being very good works like yours, were criticised because of the lack of references. You say you were aware of the lack of references and still decided to present you work here? This is a suicidal mission :D

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    1. In the US, MS thesis research is typically about a year's worth of full-time-equivalent work, and done over 2 years due to coursework. Usually a published paper of some sort is expected.

      My expectation with all student writings, MS or PhD, is that they serve as a reference work for the next generation of students. The text including references should be as complete as possible and written to teach the next generation. This is something I learned from my adviser, but for sure it is a very high standard and not something universal among my colleagues much less across the US.

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  4. This is an amazing piece of work, especially for a 6 month MS project!
    Thank you for sharing that with us.

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    1. Thank you so much!
      While measuring, I found so many similarities with your works that I practically slept with your papers on hand!
      Your appreciation means a lot!

      PS: actually it was 1 year in total between learning, coding, measuring and writing (and iterations)

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  5. I'd like to ask a general question here. In references of a paper or thesis, should we refer to the previous work more relevant to the paper (thesis) or should the most significant work in that specific area be given higher priority?

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    1. There is no right or wrong here. Usually it is best to include all relevant work, first, most significant (by your opinion), most recent, etc. In some submitted papers/abstracts with limited word count it is harder to choose, and you don't want to leave out a paper by a TPC member! It sends the message that either you never heard of it, or you didn't think it was important. We all have that problem when submitting papers, like to ISSCC a few days ago. When word count is not important, best to reference all papers you think are important to understand the context of the current work.

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  6. Nice work! Thanks for sharing with the IS community. You can definitely improve your work by this "crowd review" model and feedback.

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  7. AT, just to be clear, the thesis is posted here post graduation. It would have indeed been extremely unusual to request comments here ahead of graduation.

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