I am a PhD Student in computer science.
During my my first 2 years I developed an algorithm that seems to work fine in a certain field of applications.

My adviser recently told me that he is starting a spin-off with a colleague of a different department and that he plans, in a couple of years to use my algorithm in it.

Now, considering that:

  • I am not interested in joining my adviser spin off as an employee
  • My advisor can understand the outcomes but not the 100% of the logic of the algorithm
  • In the future I want to make my own company based on that algorithm

I am quite worried.

How fair (and common) is that an advisor plans to use the code of one of his to students to make money (none of which will finish in my pockets)?

The fact that he will use my algorithms, will limit in any way me to use them in the future for the same scope (in a different field)?

May talk to him be a good way to solve this problem?

I don’t know how to deal with this fact.

“Prependum” clarification:

Strictly speaking, the supervisor has no actual authority in this decision (I think)– it is between myself and the course convenor. However, I feel that `overruling’ my supervisor by appealing to the convenor is unprofessional, and would inevitably affect the working relationship. This could be very counterproductive, and make an extension somehow pointless without the willing agreement of my supervisor.

I know there is a similar question here, but I am looking for advice in my particular hairy circumstance.

The Issue

I am currently writing an Honours Thesis in an Australian university due in less than a month. Since the end of last year, I have suffered from severe depression (been to hospital; self-harm; seeing a psychiatrist; etc) and have made this known to the Honours convenor who has pre-approved any reasonable extension I might ask for.

The problem is with my thesis supervisor. They are highly averse to extending the project, as they are a very busy person. I understand this; it is not their responsibility. However, they also believe that obtaining an extension would be inequitable for other Honours students. I have made them fully aware of my condition, and stressed to them the magnitude of the impact it has on my studies. For instance, I (conservatively) estimated that I work less than half of the amount of time I would be able to if not afflicted. I also have had a meeting with them with several visible cuts on my arm.

Their response to my concerns is that regardless of my condition, I have made significant progress. They believe I am capable of obtaining a High Distinction with my current progress. It is apparent from their other comments that they do not understand what depression truly is (i.e. “everyone gets nervous at the end of an Honours thesis”).

At this point, I feel very pressured by my supervisor into submitting my thesis on time, but I do not think this is fair. I think that regardless of their perception of my academic performance, I have had dramatically less opportunity than other students due to my severe condition. However, it seems that mental illness is so poorly understood in this situation that what I think is a reasonable and fair extension (i.e. 6 months onto a 6 month thesis) is probably never going to happen in my institution, despite my gathering of evidence over the last six months in the form of letters from a psychologist.

On one hand, I recognize that it’s not fair to ask my supervisor to continue supervising for the duration of an extension (and neither do I think they will willingly). On the other hand, I have been open and clear about the possibility of this happening from the very beginning of my project, and I believe they are seriously wrong about what they deem equitable. Their claim that an extension would be inequitable makes it clear to me that they are judging my condition based on my academic performance rather than on the actual opportunity I have had.

The Question

I’m really unsure what to do in this situation and would appreciate advice. Here are options I’ve considered:

  • With the aide of my psychologist, lobby for a significant extension that I believe to be equitable. This is problematic, as it is difficult even for me to judge how long that should be. Furthermore, my supervisor probably won’t be available. If they are, they will be so reluctantly and perhaps begrudgingly.

  • Concede to my supervisor’s wish for me to finish on time, and possibly end up with ~HD anyway.

  • Obtain a short extension (~1-2 months) and spend that time refining my thesis without the aide of my supervisor.

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I have an undergrad degree in Electronics Engineering from University of Mumbai. My average CGPA in the second half of my degree program (last 4 semesters) is 6.8/10 and 2.7/4.0 according to a conversion scale I found online.

My GRE score is 315 (V: 151, Q:164) and I’m expecting 100+/120 in TOEFL. By the time I begin my applications, I will have 5 months of work experience as a part-time PHP developer at a UNESCO awarded NGO. I am building my portfolio website and I aim to upload some of my small projects to showcase my skills.

As you can see, I have a bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering and I wish to pursue Masters in CSE. I did have courses like C Programming, Java, Microprocessors & Microcontrollers, Computer Organization, Computer Networking, and Digital Image Processing in my undergrad program. I don’t have any backlogs in these subjects. I had five backlogs in the first four semesters of my undergrad program and zero in the last four. I hope it shows an acceptable curve of performance.

I want to know if I will get a decent grad college to pursue my MS in. I consider the Top 60 colleges in the USA as quite ambitious. I don’t want to graduate from a grad college that’s ranked beyond Top 110. I would appreciate it a lot if you could help me with my dilemma. I don’t have enough time to retake the GRE as I’m applying for Fall 2017 and I took my GRE yesterday.

I need you to address the impact of the change of field, low GPA, and my work experience while evaluating my profile.

I am planning to apply to the Top 60-110 Universities in the USA.

I am applying this year for a PhD program in US schools.

My chances to get accepted will be higher next year, but I don’t want to miss the chance of getting accepted this year. should I wait for the next year, or should I apply this year and ask the university to reconsider my application for next year? The problem is with the application fees, it would be very hard to apply for 2 years, the application will cost me around $200 (including the scores of GRE, GRE Physics and TOEFL), and I am intending to apply for 10 universities.