Alexander Nareyek

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As I often get questions on what makes a good background for a successful final-year project: Personally, I noticed that good predictors (in general; of course every specific case might be different) in getting a good FYP grade are the passion/interest a student brings for a topic (this one is hardly surprising) but I also noticed a relation with the level of proficiency in English (I'm not sure what the reason for this one is). The level of grades are not much important - unluckily, the Singaporean education system is a lot based on memorization and the like, which is very different from what you will need to make your FYP happen. And check all the great comments below from previous students! Once you are in the group, many more resources, like a Wiki and so on, will become available to you. There will be weekly one-on-one meetings with me, and usually, many other events.
If one of the topics sounds exciting to you and you are not just looking for a good grade but also to actually learn something out of the FYP experience, cast your vote and I'll be happy to supervise you on a hopefully very rewarding and exciting FYP journey!



I usually ask my previous final-year project students for comments for the upcoming generation of FYP students. Here are the ones from the students who finished last year (the new comments from this year are not yet in):

  • "The motivation for this report is to tell the whole world that if you want to learn a lot of things from your FYP, Prof Alex is THE SUPERVISOR. The goal is to convince all prospective FYP students that you MUST take Prof Alex's projects. (Trust me, this approach is the CORE structure for your entire FYP =P).

    (Start with CONCRETE EXAMPLES!) For example, I learn how to DEFEND (trust me it is not easy) why Linear Regression is the model to use instead of other available models such as SVM. Prof Alex is VERY analytical and critical towards our work. Weekly meetings before CA2 have been terrifying (MotivatioN?). However, I will definitely assure you if you dare to take up the challenge to sincerely learn and go through TONS of literatures, the pleasure/reward gained from this experience is immense. In our future working lives, it is a must for us to confidently defend our ideas and approaches to the problem. Do not feel very disappointed if you can barely defend yourself against Prof Alex's relentless questionings. Think through what Prof Alex has asked and improve on the project. Be VERY CLEAR of the research methodology, motivation and aim of your FYP. Dare to ask when you are not clear of anything and be VERY HONEST with your experimental data. You will be surprised what you can really get from your analysis. One huge plus point about Prof Alex is...... The speed of his email replies!! A lot of my friend complaint that their supervisors do not bother replying their emails or took a long time to! This is especially frustrating when you need your prof to confirm certain stuff before you can start to proceed to the next stage. I must thank Prof Alex for all his teachings and supervision and have really gained a lot from this FYP.

    Prof Alex is definitely THE SUPERVISOR that you should not miss! :-)"

  • "Working on an FYP under the supervision of Alex is much more than a pleasant and valuable learning experience. He guides his students to tackle the problems analytically and constantly encourages them to think critically during the process. In fact, Alex is the one of the best and most responsible professors I've ever met in NUS. He takes real interest in the students' work and progress and helps them to push their boundaries so that they can get the best out of themselves. Moreover, he also puts in a lot of effort to engage the students to work as a group and share their thoughts. This makes the FYP much more fun than just an individual project. In the past one year, we've had monthly breakfast meetings where we enjoyed good food while having chats with each other, game competitions where we teamed up to play cool games, and rehearsal sessions before CA4 in which we helped each other to improve our presentation skills. Through these activities, we've got to know each other and made new friends.

    Some recommendations for new FYP students: (1) Tme management is key. So do set your timeline asap, make plans ahead and stick to them. (2) Think critically throughout the process. You should always know why you make a decision or how you come to a conclusion. For example, if you decide to use a certain method, you should know very clearly the reasons. (3) Writing the thesis and giving presentations are just as important as doing the project. If you can't present your work well, your effort might be wasted. So how do you write a good thesis and present your work properly? Work hard enough and consult Alex if you need any advice."

  • "Prof Alex is a friendly supervisor! He is always smiling (even when dishing out more work to do XD), and he makes sure that his students are on the right course, research-wise. He also makes sure that students finish their work on schedule. At the same time, he gives his students the freedom to research on the methods they want to employ. Not to mention, hes' really patient with student inquiries and replies his emails promptly. All of this makes him a great person to work with :)

    To future FYP attention to SCHEDULING!!! If you really follow your schedule (and Prof Alex's deadlines), you will have absolutely no problem finishing your thesis on time (and laugh at your peers who are rushing at the 11th hour). And...make sure you clarify your objective of your FYP...and follow it (to the end XD)."

  • "According to my own FYP experience, Prof Alex is a very responsible, helpful and fun loving supervisor.

    • Responsible: He is always strict with deadlines submission and online documentation of the project. And this helps me always keep myself on track with a good pace.
    • Helpful: He is knowledgeable in his domain and can provide necessary information needed by the students. And he is good in a way that he always chooses to help me find out solutions by myself, rather than telling me what exactly I should do.
    • Fun loving: He works hard and plays hard as well. He knows how to keep a work-life balance, and tries to create such an environment for the students. That's why we had our PS3 game competition, monthly breakfast session and CA4 retreat.
    Things to be beard in mind about FYP:
    • From the very beginning of the FYP, keep a master schedule to constantly monitor your work.
    • Try to do some FYP work everyday. Rushing for CAs in the last few days really is really suffering, and the quality of the submission is not good most of the time.
    • Make friends with fellow students and other graduate students, who can help you out with their experience and technical skills at times you are badly in need.
    • Fully make use of the one-hour meeting with Prof Alex, be well prepared with lots of questions before the meeting.
    • Do not stress out, have a good balance between work and life."

  • "Prof Alex dedicates a lot of time and effort to his FYP students. His weekly schedule is packed with hourly meetings with each FYP student. Having a fixed weekly meeting really helped us get on the right track and move efficiently with the project. Furthermore, he is friendly and approachable, and organizes monthly meet-ups for all his FYP students for bonding purposes.

    Always keep a schedule, and keep up with it. Time management and proper planning is very important. It is good to aim to finish tasks even before your schedule's deadline, as you'll never know when something crops up and causes a delay in your work. Keep reviewing what you have written, and try to find loopholes in it to improve on it. Remember to give explanations for every step taken in your project."

  • "Prof. Alex is the ideal supervisor who can well facilitate with your academic research. Through the entire FYP period, he continuously provided me useful feedback and kind guidance. Prof. Alex is very rigorous to academic study, you may even find that he correct your syntax in your thesis. However this is very important and good to you because this can train you to be rigorous to yourself and become successful in the future. Besides the academic stuff, the gathering breakfast on every Tuesday morning is a very interactive network session for students to share both life and academic experience with each other. In a word, he is not just a very good supervisor, but also a very good friend.

    The first thing is that for the several week immediately you start your FYP, you must be clear what you will be exactly doing for your FYP topic. You can do this by hot discussion with Prof. Alex - this can be very useful and crucial for your entire FYP process. May be at first you feel a bit lost of your topic, but more discussion and reading can help you find your direction. Research is very different from purely study courses. You should read and try as much as possible to make your research comprehensive and meaningful. You have to be proactive which means that you need to book the meeting session with him every week to discuss with him and give him what you have done in the past. This can ensure that you are on the correct track and spend your efforts on the right thing instead of wasting your energy. Another very important thing is that you have to be persistent with your FYP study. Do not leave everything to the end of the FYP, this can be very detrimental and you will struggle a lot at the end. A final word, all the best to the following FYP students!"

  • "Alex is a nice and highly responsible professor. It is really nice to work with him. He really taught me lots during the FYP.

    Always plan the work carefully before you start working on your FYP. It will save you a lot of time and prevent you spending too much time on some minor problems and missing out other more important parts."

  • "Dr Alex knows what examiners will look out for in FYP presentations, so having him as a supervisor helps a lot in preparations for every CA. He even held a rehearsal session before each presentations (which would make up 60% of the CA) - how good is that!

    Do look out for time management throughout FYP... you'll need to pay a lot for one-two weeks of slack. If you really want to make sure everything goes smoothly, DON'T take the 1 month semester break!"

  • " Prof Alex is a great supervisor who provides lots of welfare for his FYP students. He may be critical at some times, but it is all great advice for your project.

    By taking up his projects, you gain to learn a lot of stuff which is currently missing from what you are studying right now. Not only this, You learn how to schedule your time better (WHICH IS VERY IMPORTANT!) and do your work independently. Always remember, concrete examples and ample time is needed for your FYP so that you will not rush through your FYP in the last minute or rather week.

    Last but not least, I would like to thank prof alex for his time spent on the supervision and guidance in my FYP."

Below are the comments from the students that finished in the year 2009:

  • "Alex is a supervisor with a heart. He is willing to spend time discussing or reading through reports and gives constructive comments to help students improve. Have a good attitude and hunger for learning as there will be areas in the project where you know nothing about and never learnt before. Always challenge yourself to think out of the box for better solutions. Most importantly, have fun in the process of problem solving."

  • "Prof Alex is a very dedicated supervisor. Other FYP students rarely meet their supervisors and I have also heard them complain about how the supervisors do not tell them if they are on the right track. Prof Alex is the total opposite. He will never fail to meet you weekly and will always be there for you when you need him and his advice. You have to be consistent and give him your weekly updates in order for him to help you out. He prefers his students to be independent and consistent in their work."

  • "Alex is approachable and easy to talk to, don't hesitate to clear any doubts in the project with him. Progress through the project with a constant pace, time is always against you. Plan ahead, know what is required of you and what your plans for tackling the project are and allocate realistic amount of time for the tasks."

  • "Why Prof. Alex:

    • Free breakfast
    • He has lots of knowledge/information on the industry (useful for both FYP and career planning).
    • Be informed on lots of informative talks and visits conducted by other experts (some may be useful for FYP, others useful for future career).
    • He is nurturing, caring, patient, and approachable (can consult him on career issues too!).
    • Access to a high tech computer lab with lots of powerful computers and gaming consoles (wow factor when friends accompany you to the lab)
    • He can be quite critical of your work which is both good and bad. Good because he gives lots of advise and opinions for improvements to FYP. Bad because you need to be prepared for lots of amendments and changes to your work :-)
    Advise for Future FYP Students:
    • Write your weekly/biweekly reports in proper words and sentences to save time when writing CA papers as you can more easily compile the paragraphs into your CA paper.
    • Ensure that your CA reports are clearly structured and written to guide the reader. For each section/sub-section of your report, ensure that you have the following:
      • A short introductory paragraph to briefly introduce the reader to the goals of the section/sub-section.
      • A short concluding paragraph to summarize the main ideas that were talked about in the section/sub-section (treat the reader like an ignorant child who knows nothing about your topic).
      • Explain the rationale for every action that you take or every plan/decision/conclusion that you make.
    • Its normal to feel completely lost and clueless about your topic at the beginning of the project. Don't be shy to ask for tons of help/guidance/advice from Prof Alex and your co-supervisor. As the project progresses, be sure to get confirmation from Prof Alex that you're on the right track and seek his opinion on risky ideas (don't risk wasting precious time and energy on off topic ideas).
    • Do lots of research during the first half of your FYP to give yourself a big picture of your topic (be sure to also include it into your CA1 & CA2 reports). The research will also help to steer you in the right direction for approaching your topic. You usually won't have much time left for additional research by the 2nd half of your FYP which is more hands-on and requires lots of data gathering and trial and error (time consuming).
    • For CA2 and CA4 presentations, make your slides lively by including lots of colors, pictures, sounds, videos and animations (if applicable).
    • The external examiner allocated to you would probably have different marking criteria and area of focus from Prof Alex. Try to observe his reactions for CA2 presentation and probe him from time to time about your topic to see his area of interest. Give extra attention to presenting those parts to him/her for CA4.
    • Get lots of support from friends and family. You won't believe how stressful FYP can be and having them for support, consoling, and advice can help to pull you through the tough times.
    • Don't take too many modules per semester (limit to 3 mod per sem or it'll be very stressful).
    • Allocate some slack time (for computer breakdowns, fixing bugs in your program, etc...). Also backup your work constantly on multiple storage media in case your data gets corrupted!
    • Starting FYP in the 2nd half of semester would give you an additional 3 months of extra time (vacation break period) to work on your FYP at the expense of delaying graduation by 1 semester."

  • "I thoroughly enjoyed working under Prof Alex. He was very helpful and patient with me throughout all our weekly meetings. Moreover, I found him to be a very friendly supervisor who was always willing to give you a prod in the right direction. From my experience, pay close attention to all the ideas and help he offers during the weekly meetings since it is very beneficial to the progress of the project especially in the latter stages. Moreover, remember to put in consistent work during the course of the project and not to leave anything to the last minute since it gets very hectic during the last few days. Good luck! :)"

Below are the comments from the students that finished in the year 2008:

  • "Alex may offer you a free breakfast and a one-to-one meeting for you to discuss your problems everyweek. He is quite dedicated to help you, so make good use of these opportunities. You may need to pay attention to manage your schedule. FYP relies more on self-exploration, so you always need critical thinking about the problems and never wait somebody to tell you the answer."

  • "Alex is a very friendly FYP supervisor with a great amount of knowledge in the field of Artificial Intelligence, and he guides students with weekly meetings, constantly checking if the students are on the right path of approach on the project. When working on the FYP, it is important to be consistently working on it all the time despite the heavy workloads of the other modules. Communication is a vital aspect, especially for students working in teams, and each has to play a role to ensure that the FYP is progressing as intended in the schedule by meeting up frequently to discuss plans and issues. Doubts or difficulties in any areas should be cleared and overcomed quickly as there are simply too many unforeseen problems that could arise as the project gets more in depth."

  • "Prof Alex was an excellent supervisor. He not only set aside time each week for us to discuss our projects individually but also treated us to a weekly breakfast for all project members to get to know each other better and this effort is much appreciated. His supervision style is different from what I was used to. I expected much guidance or instructions on what to do but a lot of autonomy was given on the direction of our projects. While this was good as it encouraged us to explore different areas, a bit of short term guidance or instructions might help us get more direction so that we might actually accomplish more work. It was however all in all, an excellent learning experience and it was a priviledge to be under Prof Alex's supervision."

  • "Alex has been a keen observer of the project progress and has provided valuable and timely feedback and advise throughout the year. He has taken out time for personal consultations and group meetings every week and I am thankful to him for initiatives like the weekly breakfast which prove his consistent involvement with his FYP students.
    FYP is a long task and requires discipline and time management along with technical skills to accomplish it well. It helps if you make a good plan with some buffer time always and then stick by it. The general approach to be used, which involves problem formulation, possible solutions and then justified decision, is as important as the depth of your solution, so always apply the general approach to any problem."

  • "Alex gives the freedom to explore and do a real research project. And I don't know another FYP supervisor who puts in as much effort in helping the student as he does. Be self-initiative, make it clear what you want to do and do it as early as you can. Take the chance to do something that you'll feel proud of, and work harder. Depends on project topic, good programming ability can be an advantage."

  • "Alex is a very helpful supervisor, when you can pay attention to his advice and suggestions =). Spend more time on your research work in the first few weeks of the first semester. Sufficient preparation work can help you to be focus on meaningful research area and to avoid wasting your energy on something other people have done before. Try to plan ahead and do not depend on last minute work, procrastination will make your life miserable in the last few weeks in the university."


New Topics for AY 2012/2013

There will only be TWO projects available this year!

  • Dynamic Pricing Strategies for Virtual Goods in Computer Games (H553010)
    Project Nature: Programming + User Study
    Project Keywords: Computer Games + E-Commerce
    2 Students
    In computer games, players are often confronted with a set of purchase decisions for virtual goods, e.g., for purchases from an in-game cash shop. These can be functional items (like a sword) or vanity items (like a piece of decorative clothing), and can be lasting or consumable. For the game developer, this leads to the question of determining prices for these goods for profit maximization.
    In this project, we investigate techniques to dynamically alter prices such that the optimal price levels for a given set of game items can be reached, e.g., based on player demand. Many other aspects come into play, such as fairness and different player types.
    This FYP involves surveying and analyzing the literature that is available on this topic (ranging from game design to psychology and marketing/business), analyze the findings, develop potential pricing strategies based on this, and analyze the performance of the pricing strategies by way of a user test study with a test game that is to be designed.
    Prerequisites: None

  • (2nd Coming Soon / For EE Students)


Last update:
19-Feb-2012 by Alexander Nareyek