Master thesis successfully defended!

published on August 15, 2011

On July 1, 2011, I successfully defended my master thesis at Hasselt University’s Expertise Centre for Digital Media. As usual, it’s very hard to compress the entire spectrum of interesting things to explain in the small allowed period of time that we’re allotted (15 minutes this time). I spent a lot of time polishing my presentation to make sure it was as understandable as possible (despite the fast talking pace), but also as interesting as possible. And apparently it paid off!

Afterwards, I received a lot of very positive feedback my presentation from those attending the defense presentation. Fortunately, the content itself was also deemed interesting and solid: I received a score of 80% (16/20)! I’m of course very satisfied with this result :)

However, it doesn’t end here…

Update August 16, 21:30 CET

Now that Steve Souders tweeted about this, I think it’s necessary to link from this post to important related information:

  1. screencast of the resulting application, which provides a quick (1:30) overview of my master thesis’ capabilities
  2. the master thesis proposal (blog post), which provides more context
  3. my “WPO Analytics” article on Performance Calendar 2010 (blog post), which provides a more accessible high-level overview of the need for automated analysis of real-time performance monitoring data, such as those provided by Episodes

Near the end of May, I was contacted by a co-founder of booking.com1. After some back-and-forth e-mailing, he asked me to visit’s offices in Amsterdam, to share my WPO knowledge with their front-end developers that are working on making their site faster. I proposed presenting both my bachelor & master theses’ defense presentations2, which he agreed with.3

On July 4, immediately after my girlfriend’s last exam, we took the train to Amsterdam. On the fifth, I presented at’s (quickly expanding!) offices, with great success. They really liked what I had to say, about the WPO work I’d done, but also about various other WPO projects out there.
They were also interested in more general things such as using Hadoop for analyzing their enormous log files.
Mission successful! :)

Master award

Then, on July 8, there was the proclamation for my fellow students. I was unable to graduate, since I still have an internship at Facebook to complete. I did pass all my exams though, with an average score of 74% over all courses.

However, during the proclamation, I was unexpectedly called up on the stage (along with two fellow students) and received the Computer Science Master Award, for my performance during my studies and my contribution to a positive image of the bachelor and master computer science at Hasselt University! I didn’t even know these awards existed, let alone that I’d win one!

I’m of course most grateful for having received this award. Thank you, Hasselt University!

I contributed to this positive image through, my Drupal contributions, my bachelor thesis and my master thesis.

My fellow students Robin Marx (whom is the only other student besides me doing an international internship) and Steven Houben (whose outstanding master thesis got him a PhD position at the prestigious IT University of Copenhagen) also received this award.

More info about “WPO Analytics”

For those interested, I’ve attached the following files:

  • the final version of the master thesis text with links (for viewing in a PDF reader) and without links (for printing)
  • the defense presentation, without the screencasts, in both the original Keynote 2009 format as well as in PDF format
  • the “log file” (about an Episodes log file) and “WPO Analytics” screencasts in (relatively) low quality4

Also, soon will go online, much like (offline in December 2016) for my bachelor thesis. If you want to look at the code now, you can, it’s available on Github and it’s in the public domain5.

  1. A hotel booking site with many millions of visitors. It’s in the Alexa top 250. ↩︎

  2. My master thesis was not even complete at this point! ↩︎

  3. In exchange, would cover the travel costs to Amsterdam and pay for 2 nights in an hotel in Amsterdam for me and my girlfriend — which is of course a great deal! ↩︎

  4. High quality version of the screencasts available upon request↩︎

  5. WPO Analytics — my master thesis — is Unlicensed↩︎


fndtn357's picture


Defined and appreciated awesomeness - Congratulations. (from a Drupal community member)

David Jennes's picture

David Jennes

Didn’t know about that Master Award yet. Congratulations with everything, already leaving your mark on the world, nice!

Larry Garfield's picture

Nicely done, Wim! Now are you going to be folding that knowledge back into a Drupal initiative? I hope you do. :-)

Jaak's picture


Wim, ideas like yours attracted thinkers. I was one of those mecanical minded guys with time to spend. A tinker like you (mind the pun) made us proud. Jaak, from