Master Projects (Masterarbeiten)

If you are interested in one of the following topics, please contact the person listed with the respective topic.

If you don't find a compelling topic in our list, we are always keen on hearing about your ideas in the area of our research interests (see the Research section of our website). You are most welcome to discuss your interests with us.

Also, we have a list of finished diploma theses on our website.

List of Projects

Millimeter wave RF frontend for 5G applications (DA)

With the increasing demand for bandwidth in mobile communications applications, broad activities are undertaken in industry and academia towards a future 5G mobile communication standard [1]. 5G promises vast improvements in terms of available data rate, coverage, and latency, all based on new technologies such as advanced modulation and coding schemes, (massive) MIMO, and in particular the usage of new spectrum bands [2, 3]. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently designated several new blocks of spectrum in the millimeter wave frequency bands for these new-generation wireless broadband services.

The goal of this project is to implement a portable RF frontend for up- and downconversion to allow wideband radio channel measurements in the new spectrum bands. In a second step, it is planned to extend the system to a MIMO setup. The project is carried out in collaboration with Swisscom.

Type of project: 20% theory, 80% RF hardware design and measurements
Prerequisites: Interest in RF hardware and wireless systems
Supervisor: Michael Lerjen, Ruben Merz
Professor: Helmut Bölcskei

[1] A. Osseiran, J. F. Monserrat, and P. Marsch, "5G mobile and wireless communications technology," Cambridge University Press, 2016.

[2] T. S. Rappaport, W. Roh, and K. Cheun, "Mobile's millimeter-wave makeover," IEEE Spectrum, vol. 51, no. 9, pp. 34–58, 2014. [Link to Document]

[3] T. S. Rappaport, S. Sun, R. Mayzus, H. Zhao, Y. Azar, K. Wang, G. N. Wong, J. K. Schulz, M. Samimi, and F. Gutierrez, "Millimeter wave mobile communications for 5G cellular: It will work!," IEEE Access, vol. 1, pp. 335–349, 2013. [Link to Document]

Deformation sensitivity bounds for deep convolutional neural networks (SA/DA)

Feature extractors based on so-called deep convolutional neural networks (DCNNs) have been applied with tremendous success in a wide range of practical signal classification tasks [1] such as, e.g., in handwritten digit classification. The features to be extracted in this case correspond to the edges of the digits, and we would want these features to be robust with respect to handwriting styles. This can be accomplished by demanding that the feature extractor have limited sensitivity to certain non-linear deformations.

Recently, [2], [3] established deformation sensitivity bounds for a wide class of DCNN-based feature extractors. These bounds apply to a variety of input signal classes such as band-limited functions, cartoon functions, and Lipschitz-functions. Many signals of practical interest (such as textures) exhibit, however, sharp oscillations and are therefore not captured by these results.

The goal of this project is to use the theory of approximately time- and band-limited functions [4] to develop general deformation sensitivity bounds.

Type of project: 80%-100% theory, 0-20% simulations, depending on the student's preference
Prerequisites: Analysis, Linear Algebra, Signals and Systems I
Supervisor: Thomas Wiatowski
Professor: Helmut Bölcskei

[1] I. Goodfellow, Y. Bengio, and A. Courville, “Deep Learning,” MIT Press , 2016. [Link to Document]

[2] T. Wiatowski and H. Bölcskei, “A mathematical theory of deep convolutional neural networks for feature extraction,” arXiv:1512.06293, 2015. [Link to Document]

[3] P. Grohs, T. Wiatowski, and H. Bölcskei “Deep convolutional neural networks on cartoon functions,” Proc. IEEE Int. Symp. on Inf. Theory (ISIT), pp. 1163–1167, 2016. [Link to Document]

[4] D. Slepian, "On bandwidth," Proc. of the IEEE, pp. 292–300, 1976. [Link to Document]

Phase transitions for matrix separation (DA)

A phase transition is a sharp division of the parameter space of a data processing problem into a region of success and a region of failure. This phenomenon was studied for the matrix separation problem [1, 2] and for the matrix completion problem [3] under specific recovery algorithms. Information-theoretic phase transitions do not depend on specific recovery algorithms and reveal what is best possible without stating how to achieve optimum performance. Recently, information-theoretic phase transitions were obtained for the matrix completion problem [4] and the signal separation problem [5].

The first goal of this project is to build on the techniques developed in [4, 5] to characterize information-theoretic phase transitions for the matrix separation problem, which in its traditional incarnation separates a low-rank matrix from a sparse matrix. The second goal of the project is to investigate pairs of matrix structures (beyond low-rank and sparse) that allow for separation and to characterize their information-theoretic phase transitions.

Type of project: 80% theory, 20% simulation
Prerequisites: Strong mathematical background, measure theory, probability theory
Supervisor: Erwin Riegler
Professor: Helmut Bölcskei

[1] D. Amelunxen, M. Lotz, M. B. McCoy, and J. A. Tropp, “Living on the edge: A geometric theory of phase transitions in convex optimization,” Information and Inference, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 224–294, Jun. 2014. [Link to Document]

[2] V. Chandrasekaran, S. Sanghavi, P. A. Parrilo, and A. S. Willsky, “Rank-sparsity incoherence for matrix decomposition,” SIAM Journal on Optimization, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 572–596, Jun. 2011. [Link to Document]

[3] E. J. Candés and B. Recht, “Exact matrix completion via convex optimization,” Foundations of Computational Mathematics, vol. 9, no. 6, pp. 717–772, Dec. 2009. [Link to Document]

[4] E. Riegler, D. Stotz, and H. Bölcskei “Information-theoretic limits of matrix completion,” Proc. IEEE Int. Symp. on Inf. Theory (ISIT), pp. 106–110, Jun. 2015. [Link to Document]

[5] D. Stotz, E. Riegler, and H. Bölcskei “Almost lossless analog signal separation,” Proc. IEEE Int. Symp. on Inf. Theory (ISIT), pp. 106–110, Jul. 2013. [Link to Document]

Estimation of fractal dimension (DA)

Fractal dimensions such as the box-counting dimension or the Rényi information dimension of a random vector often appear as a measure of the vector's description complexity. Recently, fractal dimensions were shown to characterize fundamental limits in information-theoretic problems such as analog data compression [2,3] and communication over interference channels [4-6]. The exact computation of fractal dimensions is, in general, hard, as explicit formulae are available only for certain classes of well-behaved probability distributions.

The goal of this project is to apply statistical methods to estimate the fractal dimension of probability distributions from i.i.d. samples. Relevant approaches to this problem are reviewed in [1]. The estimation procedure shall then be used to gain insight into the fractal dimension of sources with structure relevant to information-theoretic problems.

Type of project: 60% theory, 40% simulation
Prerequisites: Strong mathematical background, measure theory, probability theory
Supervisor: Erwin Riegler
Professor: Helmut Bölcskei

[1] C. D. Cutler, “A review of the theory and estimation of fractal dimension,” in Dimension estimation and models, H. Tong, Ed., Nonlinear Time Series and Chaos, vol. 1, pp. 1–107, World Scientific, 1993.

[2] Y. Wu and S. Verdú, “Rényi information dimension: Fundamental limits of almost lossless analog compression,” IEEE Trans. Inf. Theory, vol. 56, no. 8, pp. 3721–3748, Aug. 2010. [Link to Document]

[3] D. Stotz, E. Riegler, and H. Bölcskei “Almost lossless analog signal separation,” Proc. IEEE Int. Symp. on Inf. Theory (ISIT), pp. 106–110, Jul. 2013. [Link to Document]

[4] Y. Wu, S. Shamai (Shitz), and S. Verdú, "Information dimension and the degrees of freedom of the interference channel," IEEE Trans. Inf. Theory, vol. 61, no. 1, pp. 256–279, Jan. 2015. [Link to Document]

[5] D. Stotz and H. Bölcskei, "Degrees of freedom in vector interference channels," IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, vol. 62, no. 7, pp. 4172–4197, Jul. 2016. [Link to Document]

[6] D. Stotz and H. Bölcskei, "Characterizing degrees of freedom through additive combinatorics," IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, vol. 62, no. 11, pp. 6423–6435, Nov. 2016. [Link to Document]