What are your suggestions for a Masters thesis topic, or ideas to spark my own creativity? The project should be original, have a "significant programming component," and be appropriate for publication in an academic journal. But other than that, I've got pretty free reign. And I think that's part of my problem. Programming assignments and exams I can knock off with little stress. But given a blank piece of paper (or text editor) and say "fill this," I'm at a loss.
To anticipate some questions you might have:
"Why should I do your homework for you?" The thesis proposal is typically 15 to 20 pages, with the completed thesis 30 to 50 pages, not including source code. While your ideas are appreciated and are helpful, I wouldn't say one or two sentences counts as 'doing my work for me.'
"Why not go to professors at your school?" At my school it's considered very bad form to go to professors for thesis ideas. I do not know why. I can, and have, gone to profs for feedback on ideas I've had (and that feedback has generally been, "yeah, what else you got?"), but I can't go to office hours and fish for thesis topics.
"Contribute to an open source project, take over an orphaned app on Source Forge, etc." I'm in a computational, not engineering, track. A project that is programmatically significant but theoretically uninteresting won't do. Now something that uses a novel heuristic so solve an intractable problem would fit the bill.
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