Blog of Joos Buijs

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

Posts Tagged ‘supervisor

Master Project Update: the end is approaching

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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.




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 🙂



Written by Joos Buijs

January 4, 2010 at 17:30

The preliminary results are in…

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…and it looks good 🙂

The first preliminary results are those of my intermediate presentation of December 15. It went well, although there is always room for improvement of course. I managed to have a working version of my application by then so that was nice to show. Furthermore, there were actually people there besides my supervisor, tutor and third committee member.

The other preliminary results are the first XES event logs generated by my application. Although generated from a ‘single table source’ using a rather straight forward mapping, it is promising and rewarding to see your event log being loaded in ProM (version 6) and everything works.

Enough work remains to be done, some small (e.g. change some texts in the user interface) others larger (e.g. ordering of events in the event log and automatically linking those tables used in the mapping). But on the other hand, I still have more than a week to implement those functions and completely test my application. For comparison: I needed 2 weeks to build my user interface and update my domain model accordingly. Another 2 weeks where needed to get as far as I am now.

Since the GUI is rather stable I think I can show it to you. So, here it is:

Basic user interface of the XES mapper appication

As you can see, it consists of three main parts: The bottom part is for the ‘general mapping settings’ such as a name and description, the connection settings to the data source, managing the XES extensions (shown in the screen shot), console output and executing the mapping. The top left part is for navigating the mapping definition, here you can select the element (log, trace, event or attribute with ‘children’) you want to edit. The top right part allows you to add, edit and delete attribute definitions (shown in the screen shot), define some mapping properties and for the log specify the event classifiers (you probably have no clue why you want those but don’t worry, you’ll learn in the documentation of the new XES version).

Also, I think that, now I know the application is likely to be born without complications and is likely to survive, I can think of a (nick)name for my baby… I have a nice one in mind but I won’t announce it just yet, you’ll see it at the release.

So, the next week(s) I will add some more functionality to the application, test it thoroughly on test data and eventually on case data. And I will also work on the most exciting part: the thesis! I don’t mind working on the thesis, it is probably the most prominent result of my labor but its not, well, exciting… Programming is nicer, there you can hunt bugs, search for performance improvements and play with your creation. A thesis is just a thing that sits there and you can look at it. Luckily I’m writing it in LaTeΧ so I can still have compiling errors and won’t have to fight with a Word processor.

Well, for now I wish you all a nice Christmas holiday and a very nice New Year in case I don’t blog in the next 2 weeks.



Written by Joos Buijs

December 18, 2009 at 16:50

Funny process model week 47: When to meet with your advisor?

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I’m starting to notice that my ‘Funny process model’ series is not so much about process models any more… Hmz, maybe process models are not meant to be funny??? Well, here is a funny PhD comic then:

My meeting is scheduled for Friday morning every other week. The ‘Pro’ is true, the ‘con’ not, or not so far at least.

– Joos –

Written by Joos Buijs

November 20, 2009 at 17:00

Funny process model week 46: Economic crisis impact in university staff

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Well, strengthened by the comment of Anne on my last ‘funny process model of the week’ I dare to post this one from PHD Comics:

My only hope now is that Anne is right or that my supervisor does not read my blog (before March 1).

Enjoy the weekend!!!

– Joos –

P.S. My holiday was superb!!! Nice cottage, nice environment and nice girlfriend 😉

Written by Joos Buijs

November 13, 2009 at 22:00