Welcome to Robot Dialogs. This is a place where I will record my progress, mistakes, errors, failures, lessons learned and hopefully occasional success in my designs and implementations of robots and other technical endeavors. I will try to make it as educational, informative and entertaining as I can...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thesis: Change of Plans

Many of the people who are closest to me have seen the struggle I have had attempting to finish my master's thesis at RIT. Throughout the past year and a half I have pursued a research topic in the area of speech understanding. More on the basic approach I have researched is in this post. Unfortunately while I was still at RIT and in the process of choosing this topic my professional interests swayed away from the general area of expertise found in the Computer Engineering department at RIT. I began to take courses in robotics, machining and real-time systems and after several academic and personal projects, many of which can be found in other posts on this site, I found an area of expertise that satisfied my need for continued learning, flexible/interesting/changing work and the expression of creativity. In short: I love building robots.

As a result of this change (or perhaps a refining) of interests and the lack of mentor-ship and expertise at RIT my chosen thesis topic, while still valid, no longer held the appeal that it did in the beginning. At the same time I had finished all of the required course work for a Masters degree and without the excuse of course work had great need to enter the working world. And so recently I was faced with a difficult choice: attempt to get an extension from RIT to finish the research that had lost appeal to me or finish school with my bachelor's degree + a slew of graduate courses. I can say officially that I have chosen the latter.

With all of the reasoning mentioned above there is one reason above all that swayed the decision. It is a bit of advice that I myself gave (but took 2 years to heed): "Your thesis should be something you can be proud of. It should lead you into an area that you want to be involved with for the rest of your life." For me that area is robotics not speech recognition/understanding.

And so I stand, finally, officially graduated and certified with a Bachelors of Science from RIT. My plans at this point are typical: get a job I enjoy so as to begin a career I can be proud of, find a place that I want to live and in general to 'get a life'. Although this decision has lifted a great weight from my shoulders, I still have a great deal of work to do before I can claim that I am happy. For now I can only observe that I feel happier.

In the future I may still pursue a master's degree at another school. I know for certain that I will take classes at some point in the future simply because I do love school and learning and a career in technology demands continued education. As for my research in speech understanding I will probably finish (at least to some degree) the idea simply to prove the validity of it. But it has officially been demoted to side project status, and it may take some time for me to want to open that can of worms again.

Fortunately for my followers and readers this means more interesting and fun project updates than previously! Especially now that I can follow my passions and hobbies without feeling guilty. You can take my word that there are some very cool ideas on my ever growing project list.


  1. Hey bro, you made a difficult choice as well as the right choice. I'm glad you chose your passion at the risk of doing the "official, politically-correct" thing. There is no sense in it. G and I are always hoping the best for you, and congratulate you for taking the path less taken.