Blog of Joos Buijs

About personal things, process mining and the rest in life.

Posts Tagged ‘master thesis

LaTeX template for (TU/e style) Master thesis

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Hi all,

Writing a thesis, being it a Master or PhD one, works best using LaTeX (unless you like fixing layout and referencing issues in M$ Word).
However, finding or creating a good style is sometimes difficult. And often you just want to use one you just saw. Well, apparently some of you like the style I used for my Masters thesis. So, I want to share this with all of you.

In my opinion it is a good clean style for any Masters thesis, although this one has a titlepage specifically for TU/e (Eindhoven University of Technology) use, but is easily adaptable to any institution.

Soon I will start writing my PhD thesis so an updated version for a PhD thesis will be published in a couple of months (I hope :)).

Please find below the LaTeX files needed to jump-start your own Master thesis in LaTeX (you will start with 27 pages without having typed a single word!).

This style has been the joint work of Thijs Nugteren and myself, so kudos also go to him.

If you use this style, please let us know this in the comments. And when you’re done, be sure to share a link with us so we can be proud with you!

Also, if you have applied any improvements, please share them too, so others can benefit.

But most of all: have fun writing!!!

 

Files:

LaTeX thesis template

Zip file with all the LaTeX files

Example theses: Thijs Nugteren (using an older version of the style), Joos Buijs, Danny van Heumen

Note:

You are free to use and adjust this style without referencing (although it would be nice of course 😉 ).However, this also means that we can not provide any support to customize the style to your needs or help you solve any LaTeX issues (there are many, many resources for that to be found online).

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Written by Joos Buijs

April 1, 2013 at 13:22

Posted in Master Project

Tagged with , ,

Wanted: Beta testers for XESame

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So, finally, the day is approaching that my baby gets the “1.0” label. But, before I dare to put it out there, I would like to have it tested, and not only by me.

So, what (/who) is XESame?
XESame started as XESma during my Master’s project. The goal of XESame is to extract event logs from data sources. The input format can be database tables, text files or even XML files. The output is an eventlog in the XES or MXML format.
A good slogan for XESame would be: “Opens the cave of process mining wonders”, but that would be a bit bragging.

Err, sounds great but then what?
This event log can be used in ProM to apply process mining analysis (which is sometimes called ‘magic‘ (Dutch article), it also produces very colorful and nice pictures…). More about ProM and process mining can be found at processmining.org.

But why do you want to test it now?
In September 2010, at the BPM’10 conference in New York, the ProM 6 framework will be officially released. Included in this framework is XESame. The next few days and weeks ProM 6 will be tested (internally) for the release. Since XESame will be released for the first time and I’m the only one working on it, I would really like some thorough testing and feedback.

Okay, so, how can I help?
Well, you can do several things, depending on what you like to do and how much time you can/will spend. First of all, I would suggest that you download XESame and try to extract an event log from data you have available. Then report back to me if XESame was useful and why (not).
XESame uses JDBC to connect to the data source. Since I can not test XESame on ‘all’ data source types out there, I’m interested in how it works on different types of data sources (e.g. different databases such as MySQL, Oracle, MS SQL, etc.)
Furthermore, if you encounter any errors, please let me know so I can try to fix them.
I’m also very interested in what features are missing and how XESame can provide better guidance in defining an extraction of event log data.

But I already looked at XESMa, do you need my help?
Well, yes, for two reasons: First, what did you think of XESMa when you tried it? Second: the graphical user interface of XESame is completely different from the (rudimentary and bloated) interface of XESMa. So I always need (and will appreciate) your help.

Okay, so how do I get started?
Good question (and I’m glad that you want to get started).

First of all, you need to download XESame of course and run it. Go to the ProM 6 BPM’10 release page and download the latest version of the framework and XESame. This should be under the section ‘Download’ or otherwise ‘History’.
For Windows users there is an xesame.exe file that you can start. For Mac/Linux/… users start the MainFrame class in the org.processminning.mapper.ui package from xesame.jar.
If you didn’t try XESame or XESMa before, it might be a good idea to read my Master’s thesis (PDF, 8Mb), especially chapters 5 and 6 with all the examples. (Not in any way suggesting that chapters 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 are not interesting to read of course.) Although the thesis talks about XESMa a lot, everything should also be applicable for XESame.
And if you’re really interested, look at the XESame source code via http://prom.win.tue.nl:8000/Tracsites/browser/public/XESame/src/org/processmining/mapper or point your SVN client to svn://prom.win.tue.nl/public/XESame (you can use “anonymous/anonymous” for anonymous access, although you cannot commit of course).

Once you’re done fiddling around or when you encounter a serious error or bug or get stuck, contact me and I’ll try to help you. The best way to contact me is to go to my employee page and see if you want to come by my office, give me a call or send me an e-mail (or contact me through Office Communicator on my tue mail address).
Unfortunately, I’m only human so on occasion I might be at the restroom, having lunch or even on holiday (from August 9 until (and including) 20).

So, even if you don’t plan to click on any of the above links, I would like to thank you for reading this post. I hope to hear from you soon and until next time,

Update 28-7-2010 16:50 (CET): I forgot to mention that the ‘official home’ of XESame is http://prom.win.tue.nl/research/wiki/xesame/start (I was too exited…).

Joos

P.S. huge disclaimer follows:
Please note that the author, the department or the university can not be held responsible for any damage caused by direct or indirect usage of XESame (or XESMa). It is recommended that XESame will only be provided read access to the data source and that you run XESame on a copy of the data an not on (the only instance of) the original data source. And of course, XESame is not extensively tested (yet) so it might do strange things to you or your computer. But rest assure, me and my computer survived all months of development.

Written by Joos Buijs

July 27, 2010 at 11:30

The Results of my Master Project

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Update 26-05-2010: The official XESame (or XESMa) website is now located at processmining.org! This post will not be updated further.

So, after 7 months my master project is completed and the results are final!

Last Monday I gave my final presentation (.pptx, 1.7 MB). This presentation gives a good introduction into the problem and topic of my project.

More detailed information about what I did can be found in my master_thesis (.pdf, 9.8 MB). This should also be used as a temporary ‘user guide’ for my application.

Warning: This is a prototype! No support or guarantee is given whatsoever! Use at your own risk!

If you want to test/play with the prototype I created, it can be downloaded at the link below. However, use it at your own risk 😉

XESMa Application Prototype (v 1.0) (.zip, 3.4 MB)

How to start XESMa in 3 steps:

  1. Extract the contents of the zip file;
  2. In Eclipse (or any Java editor), create a new Java Project from the folder you just extracted;
  3. Execute ‘Application.java’ in the org.processmining.mapper.ui package.

Warning: This is a prototype! No support or guarantee is given whatsoever! Use at your own risk!

Now that everything is finished I will enjoy a holiday until May 3. Then I’ll start on a PhD position, here at the TU/e, more about this in another blog post.

I hope I have/get the time to continue to work on XESMa in the future. I have some ideas for improvement. And of course, your feedback is very much appreciated!

Thesis abstract:

Information systems are taking a prominent place in today’s business process execution. Since most
systems are complex, enterprise-wide systems, very few users, if any, have a clear and complete
view of the overall process. In the area of process mining several techniques have been developed to
reverse engineer information about a process from a recording of its execution. To apply process
mining analysis on process-aware information systems, an event log is required. An event log
contains information about cases and the events that are executed on them.
Although many systems produce event logs, most systems use their own event log format.
Furthermore, the information contained in these event logs is not always suitable for process
mining. However, since much data is stored in the data storage of the information system, it is
often possible to reconstruct an event log that can be used for process mining. Extracting this
information from the business data is a time consuming task and requires domain knowledge. The
domain knowledge required to de ne the conversion is most likely held by people from business,
e.g. business analysts, since they know or investigate the business processes and their integration
with technology. In most cases business analysts have no or limited programming knowledge.
Currently there is no tool available that supports the extraction of an event log from a data source
that doesn’t require programming.
This thesis discusses important aspects to consider when de ning a conversion to an event log.
The decisions made in the conversion de nition in
uence the process mining results to a large
extend. De ning a correct conversion for the speci c process mining project at hand is therefore
crucial for the success of the project. A framework to store aspects of such a conversion is also
developed in this thesis. In this framework the extraction of traces and events as well as their
attributes can be de ned. An application prototype, called `XES Mapper’ or `XESMa’, that uses
this conversion framework is build.
The XES Mapper application guides the de nition of a conversion. The conversion can be
de ned without the need to program. The application can also execute the conversion on the data
source, producing an event log in the MXML or XES event log format. This enables a business
analyst to de ne and execute the conversion on their own. The application has been tested with
two case studies. This has shown that many di erent data source structures can be accessed and
converted.

Keywords: data conversion, database, event log, process mining, process-aware information
system

Edit 01-04-2010 11:50: added XESMa execution steps

Written by Joos Buijs

March 31, 2010 at 15:17

Master Project Update: the end is approaching

with one comment

Hi all!

Well, the title says it all, the end of my master’s project is in sight!

The application is ‘nearly done’, there are so many things that could be improved but… well, there is not much time. So, let’s say that the application is at the beta stage then. Yesterday I tried to use it on a real data source instead of my toy database of only 10 records. The results were promising and today I’m processing some of the things we encountered yesterday. For instance the parsing of dates into a Java Date instance is problematic. The format of the date is not always the same and automatically detecting the format used is nearly impossible. Therefore the user (/you) can now define the format used to represent the date and time.

Another type of problem we encountered was related to the ODBC driver but that I can not fix… Other improvements are related to me trying to be too smart (which of course turns out wrong). And some performance issues (but these might be related to the ODBC driver used). And of course a lot of small improvements to the user interface can/should be made etc. So much to do, so little time 🙂

Early this week I also ‘finished’ the visualization of the conversion. The idea is to visualize which tables and columns are used in certain attributes. In the screenshot below a very small event log (with one event definition) is visualized. The conversion uses 2 columns of the event.csv table. I know that the visualization shown is very small and larger visualizations will get messy but it’s hard to get it right… And, well, its only a prototype 😉

I’m also working on my thesis, for about a month now. The contents is structured as follows:

  1. Introduction (context, problem, goal, scope and method of the project) [4 pages]
  2. Preliminaries (explanation of process aware information systems (PAIS), event logs, process mining and other conversion tools) [12 pages]
  3. Conversion Aspects (what to consider when defining a conversion) [8 pages]
  4. Solution Approach (how I planned to implement the application) [7 pages]
  5. Solution Implementation (more details of the technical implementation and use of the application) [14 pages]
  6. Case Studies (2 case studies (SAP and a custom system) to show the validity of my application) [to write]
  7. Conclusion (conclusions and future work) [to write]

So, I still have to perform my case studies, write Chapters 6 and 7 plus the abstract, preface etc. and thoroughly read the entire thesis. And all of that within the next 2 to 3 weeks. And then I’ll have to wait for the reviews of my supervisors and prepare for the final presentation of March 29…

You are all invited for my final presentation of course!!! It will be held at March 29 2010 at 15:00 in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. If you like to attend, please let me know then I’ll inform you of the location.

If you can not attend the final presentation and/or want to read my thesis or try out my application, keep an eye on this blog. I’ll post a link to both of them just before or after my final presentation.

So, now I’m going back to programming again (stupid SQL error…) and enjoy the weekend in a little bit.

TTFN!

Joos

Written by Joos Buijs

February 19, 2010 at 17:17

Taking more time to do a better job

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(First of all, happy 2010 to all of you!)

The week before Christmas I had a meeting with my supervisor Wil van der Aalst and my tutor Eric Verbeek where Wil made a tempting suggestion: if you take more time you can visualize the mapping. His argument was that the project as is would certainly be a good master project. However, if I could visualize the mapping between the data source and the event log, the project as a whole would be more coherent and, well, better. It’s the classic ‘time-cost-quality’-triangle decision: by taking more time we can improve the quality.

Of course, this means that I will spend an extra month on my master project, paying tuition for an extra month and start to earn money a month later. But one of my goals of this master project is to show what I’m capable of, to make it a good conclusion of my education career. Therefore I have chosen to extend my project with (what turned out to be) more than a month. So, my final presentation is no longer scheduled at February 8 but will be held somewhere around the end of March. This also means that I have (much) more time to write my thesis. I’m still scheduling the whole of January for thesis writing but the pressure is off. In February I’m planning to implement the visualization and polish the application and thesis.

Well, that was it for now, hope to see you again soon 🙂

Cheers,

Joos

Written by Joos Buijs

January 4, 2010 at 17:30

About my master’s project: more concrete

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Since my introduction in my last post about my master project might be a little vague and general I thought that it might be a good idea to provide you with the user interface sketches I made a couple of weeks ago. They are not final of course and some details have changed in the mean time but the main idea stays the same.

Two example screens of my future application at work are:

Mapping application just started with only the log and trace elements.

This screen shows the editor after project creation with only the basic log and trace elements (which can not be added or removed).

Mapping Editor, with events

This screen shows the editor with some events and properties defined.

It might be good to note that you should view the mapping at the ‘meta’ level. This means that we do not define the event instances themselves but we define where to find events for the traces (for which we also defined how to retrieve them). To complicate things further, we might not need to specify each event type (e.g. “Create order”, “pay order”) separately but if we have some kind of event log as input, the event name (or type or WFMElt or what you call it) could be stored in the data source. Then you might only specify one event mapping which retrieves all the event instances from the data source.

The second screen for instance shows the definition of the “Create” event which can be found in the table “Order”. The username and timestamp values can be extracted from the data source as defined in this example. This event would be added to each trace that we can extract according to the trace mapping definition.

Additionally, there are some mapping properties needed for execution. These are the ‘default’ entity to use, how to link two entities together (if not defined in the data source) and a possible selection criteria for traces and/or events. Furthermore, the trace needs to have a unique identifier defined so we can connect events to traces.

The log, trace, event and attribute terms are re-used from the XES definition and the whole mapping definition quite closely follows this event log meta format (where this mapping is another meta level higher I suppose).

Well, I know that this might still sound rather vague but I hope at least less vague then in my previous post.

If you have any questions, please ask!

Joos

PS: I’m actually on holiday this week (this is a scheduled post) so I might not reply before November 16 (2009).

Edit 13-11-2009 21:15: Improved some text, ‘fixed’ the images and added tags to post. Memo to self: never create a post 2 minutes before you leave for a holiday 😉

Written by Joos Buijs

November 10, 2009 at 17:00

About my master project

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To make sure that this blog won’t be about funny process models alone it might be a good idea to introduce and explain my master’s project subject: Mapping Data Sources to XES in a Generic Way. Let’s dissect this rather vague sentence to explain what it is all about:

Mapping: in this context it means to let the user define a way to map one data source to another.

Data Sources: most people might think of databases first but text files, XML files and even web services can be considered as data sources. Although it must be seen how many data sources we are able to support, we intend to at least support the common database formats and the CSV (comma separated values) plain text format.

XES: the one requiring the most explanation. Although pronounced (as ‘excess’) similar to one of the well known database formats from a well known software vendor, it means something completely different. In this case we refer to the ‘Extensible Event Stream’ format. This format is an extend-able event log format for, well, storing event logs. For people familiar with the MXML format: XES is the new and improved MXML! For people unfamiliar with MXML: visit processmining.org (more specifically, read an informal introduction to MXML (.PPT, 0,9 MB) or read the more formal MXML introduction paper (PDF, 130 KB)). The XES meta-model is implemented in the OpenXES Java library, more information about XES can also be found there.

a Generic Way: of course, we want our application to be applicable in many situations and therefore it must be generic.

So, in brief, the goal of my project is to develop an application that allows a user to define a mapping from a (set of) data source(s) to the XES event log format and to execute this mapping. Resulting in an event log format that can be used for process mining with (the new version of) ProM.

If you have done one or several process mining project you must know that preparing the data is one of the most time consuming (and, in my opinion, most annoying) part of the process mining project. This master project aims at providing an application that will allow you, the process miner, maybe together with the domain expert, to define a mapping from the data source(s) to the XES event log format without the need to write (Java) code.

Any questions, comments, feature requests etc. etc. are more than welcome!!!

See you at the next post! (Which will either be a ‘funny process model’ or a post showing some GUI designs for the application)

Joos

Written by Joos Buijs

November 3, 2009 at 17:00