CDS 90, 2005-06

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CDS 90 - Senior Thesis in Control and Dynamical Systems

CDS 90 is a course consisting of research in control and dynamical systems, supervised by a Caltech faculty member. The topic selection is determined by the adviser and the student and is subject to approval by the CDS faculty.

Course Guidelines

  1. All thesis work will be done on campus under the direct supervision of the thesis supervisor or another faculty member (e.g.,a post-doc). The student is responsible for finding a supervisor to support the work.
  2. Students wishing to perform a thesis under the supervision of a JPL staff member should have the JPL researcher contact the course instructor to discuss where the research will take place, who will be responsible for insuring safety precautions are taken, and how the student will be supervised. All arrangments for work at JPL must be completed before Add Day of the fall term.
  3. Letter grades will be given for the three terms of work; the registration specified in the catalog is three terms, 9 hours per term.
  4. Late work will not be accepted unless prior approval has been given by the thesis supervisor and the course instructor.
  5. The final draft of the thesis must be completed by the last day of (senior) finals for the academic year.
  6. Oral presentations will be given at the end of each term; these are important and count heavily in the grading. Careful preparation is essential. Each presentation should begin with title, supervisor's name, and a brief description of the work, its purpose, etc. easily understandable by non-experts. Visual aids are limited to three uncrowded viewgraphs for the first two presentations (fifteen minutes long, including questions); there are no such rules for the final presentation.


First Term: Work during the first term should be directed to finding a focused research topic and performing an preparatory work required to carry out the thesis (background reading, construction of any required experimental apparatus, etc).

  • Midterm: Each student must submit to me a short summary (one page, typed) of the proposed thesis project, and the name of the supervisor.
  • Final: There will be a meeting of all thesis students and advisors during finals week, at which each student will give a 10-15 presentation on their work, including a description of the work to be completed for their thesis.

Second term: The bulk of the research work should occur during second term. By the end of this term, the basic results of the thesis should be complete.

  • Midterm: Each student will submit to thecourse instructor a 4-5 page document serving as a first draft of the introduction to the thesis; this should include a few references as well.
  • Finals: There will be another general meeting for short oral reports. A two to five page document summarizing the main results achieved to date is due at the time of the oral report.