I am a computer science PhD candidate. I have been reading and learning a lot of my interested research area - and now it's time to formally defend my research proposal.

There is a computer architecture that has already been discussed (online articles) over blogs and videos and some companies are using it already. it's relatively new architecture though (2 or 3 years old). But I haven't found out any academic research done on that architecture for deploying/implementing it with use cases. But it has been referenced (online article, blogs etc) in academic research journals and articles.

I was thinking to write my PhD research on that new architecture with proper use cases and references. But at the moment I am having doubts about whether I should proceed or not? Or what approach should I apply in order to proceed?

Your suggestions/opinions will be highly appreciated either positive or negative.

  • 4
    Discuss with your advisor – Basile Starynkevitch Mar 3 '18 at 21:25
  • @BasileStarynkevitch Thanks for your advice - I will ultimately discuss with my supervisor when I know if I am asking the right question (don't want to leave negative impression for my PhD supervisor), but I wanted to get opinion if anyone else out there has encountered this issue. – Ben Mar 3 '18 at 21:33
  • just realise you can't be the perfect student - stuff can and will, go wrong, so follow Basile's advice as your supervisor has information we, perforce, don't have... – Solar Mike Mar 3 '18 at 21:58

Don't stress too much for your proposal. In all likelihood your PhD will evolve as you progress. As you said you've been reading a lot. Don't be surprised if there is little material to reference. After all, that is the point of doing Ph.D. research: you will be adding to an area of knowledge which at present is little understood.

My Prof once told me that in year 1 the student should be guided, in year 2 the student finds their feet and in year 3 the student leads their supervisors

And yes, speak with your supervisor. This will answer your doubts and display you are really commited to being rigourous.


Do ask your supervisor, but I understand not wanting to ask your supervisor about an idea that's out of the blue. It can also be hard to know what a research proposal or dissertation "should" be until you are writing one.

Two things to check:

  1. Is this in the realm of concepts that your supervisor has conducted research on or written about or taught about?

  2. Is this the kind of question that has been an acceptable thesis topic at your school or with your supervisor in regard to past technologies? You can ask around about previous students' thesis topics and what graduates wrote on. To get more systematic, you can ask librarians at your institution about accessing past dissertations in your program. (DO NOT read prior theses, but DO look at the titles and read the abstracts on the more relevant ones.)

You're safer with your topic if you find overlap with your supervisor's work and previous students' work. If not, try skimming some theses that sounded interesting and think about the kinds of questions they ask and their scope. You (probably) want to make sure your questions engage with deep questions that ultimately are not specific to the technology. Potentially, this might mean user experience principles or architecture efficiency.

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