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Architectures; 5-10 Master Thesis Topics

Design, developing and implementing information architectures, involving the technical and institutional linking of multiple systems, is a contemporary challenge facing both research and practice globally.

Would you like to be a part of a group of researchers and students interested in and doing research on architecture?

Would you be interested in studying large-scale, interconnected and complex information systems? Do you want to explore how it is made possible to fit together, scale-up, maintain and rejuvenate such assemblages of information systems (that we term information infrastructures) over time?

Would you be interested to study information architecture in different country contexts?

Then, you can get involved in studying the role of architecture for information infrastructures, and also involved in its design and development. Basically, the architecture of an information infrastructure is the way in which its elements are distributed, managed and interconnected. While architecture can be described in abstract models, their evolutionary dynamics and roles have been researched to a limited extent.

Please get in touch with us if you are interested!

Central research Questions

The aim of this project is to improve our understanding of information infrastructure architecture and its role in information infrastructure evolution and innovation. The overall research questions in this project are:

a. What are relevant frameworks to describe information infrastructure architectures?
In order to investigate this you will have to define and map an existing information infrastructure. This mapping will include structural information (components and their relationships) along with information on standards and regulations that pose specific requirements (if relevant in the specific case). Different notations or architectural frameworks from the literature will have to be applied in order to assess their relevance/applicability to information infrastructures. Students will have to think of different purposes for mapping out an information infrastructure (e.g. to govern, to maintain, to expand) and relate their findings to these purposes.

b. What is the role of architecture in the evolution and innovation of information infrastructures?
In order to investigate this you will have to follow the historical evolution of a selected information infrastructure: how was the situation 2 years ago and 5 years ago? (timeframes can vary based on the specific case) What where the needs and opportunities that triggered change and what are the factors that shaped the evolution? Were there any specific architectural characteristics that played a role?

c. How are concepts of architecture within information infrastructures similar and different to concepts of architecture within information systems in general, as well as other reference fields such as product design and even organisational science?
In order to investigate that you will have to go through the design-related literature looking for concepts on architectural properties. Examples of such concepts include: robustness, resilience, generativity etc. You may give particular attention to one or a few concepts that are particularly relevant to your case.

To answer these questions, the project will screen existing research and literature in this area and empirically study different information infrastructure and their architectures. Potential candidates for empirical sites are HISP (DHIS 2), Cloud Computing, CRVS (Civil Registration and Vital Statistics) and empirical sites within Norwegian Healthcare (OUS and HelseNorge.no within Helsedirektoratet).

The project will involve 5-10 master students (working together on case studies, literature review, seminars etc., writing individual thesis).

We have the following suggestions for master projects (students can also suggest other architectures to be studied):

Master Projects

Project 1: A study of the historical, the current and the future architecture of DHIS 2 (dhis2.org)

1-3 Master Students

Potential supervisor: Petter Nielsen (pnielsen@ifi.uio.no)

The DHIS 2 has changed over time due to a steadily growing number of implementation (now more than 30 countries) and emerging technologies (e.g. cloud computing and mobile) and ways of developing software (from proprietary to open source (FOSS)). The aim of this project is to improve our understanding of the current architecture of DHIS 2, the strategy behind its development, how it is related to the above mentioned changes, how it supports innovation, and how it will accommodate future changes. It is expected that contributions will be made by a critical evaluation of the current architecture and suggestions on how to improve. Such contributions are expected to influence the future of DHIS 2 development trajectory. Empirical research will be based on analysing documentation of DHIS 2 as well as interviews with key ‘architects’ in Oslo and ‘users’ of the architecture in Oslo and elsewhere in the HISP network.


Project 2: Architectures enabling Innovation within Norwegian Healthcare

1-3 Master Students

Potential supervisors: Miria Grisot (miriag@ifi.uio.no) and Xenia Vassilakopoulou (xvasil@ifi.uio.no)

Novel patient-oriented communication technologies, utilizing mobile and/or web access, have great potential in supporting healthcare systems to shift from a provider-centric to a patient-centric mode and to offer ubiquitous access to information and services. However, experience shows that, despite demonstration of clinical value and potential economic value, novel technologies are difficult to implement and utilize. Novel technologies challenge and change existing works patterns, and create tensions in the existing technological infrastructures as well as in institutionalized legal, financial and organizational frames. For instance, patient-initiated access to information systems via mobile or web technologies may go against security architectures of health care institutions. The aim of this project will be to study how the existing “architectures” (i.e. technological, economic, and organizational structures) impact the process of introducing new technologies. Students will have to perform a theoretically informed analysis of on-going deployments of patient-centred technologies.  Empirical research will employ ethnographic methods such as observations, along with interviews and document analysis. Potential empirical sites are: OUS, Sunnaas Hospital and HelseNorge.no (within Helsedirektoratet).


Project 3: Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) architectures

1-2 Master Students

Potential supervisors: Petter Nielsen (pnielsen@ifi.uio.no), Johan Sæbø (johansa@ifi.uio.no) and Sundeep Sahay (sundeeps@ifi.uio.no)

Civil registration and Vital Statistics are vital to the functioning of a society. For example, the central personal registry (Folkeregisteret) in Norway plays an integral part of all parts of public administration and for example a basis for private companies to keep track of their customers (addresses). Folkeregisteret is based on and dependent on reporting from a variety of different sources (police, hospitals, citizens etc.). Crucial components here are the personal identification number (fødselsnummer), the strong incentives for public agencies and the citizens to register information, and the open information approach taken. Another key usage of the Folkeregister is usage of the data for planning purposes in the public sector as well as generation of statistic by Statistics Norway. The aim of this project is to improve our understanding of the architecture of the current CRVS system in Norway (and/or possibly in other countries). Empirical research will be based on analysing documentation of a CRVS system as well as interviews with key actors and users of the system, including the general public.


Project 4: DHIS 2 and Cloud Computing Architecture

1-2 Master Students

Potential supervisors: Olav Poppe (olavpo@ifi.uio.no) and Petter Nielsen (pnielsen@ifi.uio.no)

Implementing DHIS 2 on ‘cloud’ infrastructure in Kenya and providing country wide online access through modems over the mobile network represents a case of massive ‘leapfrogging’. However, such an approach comes with a range of different challenges such as control over data, privacy, lack of incentives to develop local human capacity, new regulations required, and implications on access and use of data. The aim of this project is to improve our understanding of cloud computing as architecture and its implications by investigating cloud implementation and comparing with non-cloud implementations. Empirical research will be based on analysing the system as well as interviews with key actors related to the implementation.


Project 5: Enterprise Architect Role & Core Competencies

1 Master Student

Potential supervisors: Mikael Gebre-Mariam (mikaelge@ifi.uio.no) and Bendik Bygstad (bendikby@ifi.uio.no)

Practical problem: ambiguity about the role and expected competency of architects in healthcare

Research question: What personal, business and technical core competencies do architects need to accomplish boundary-spanning work in the healthcare enterprise?

 - What are the implications of architect core competencies on university curriculum?

Research setting: UiO, mid-large scale healthcare enterprise with architects

Key aims:

1. develop a core competency framework for architects

2. develope principal guidelines on how university curriculum could be informed by the framework

Emneord: Architecture, Open Source, Cloud Computing, Information Infrastructure
Publisert 23. aug. 2013 08:20 - Sist endret 2. mai 2016 17:58