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Why take a doctoral degree at the UPC

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Because of Excellence

The UPC is listed in the main international rankings as one of the top technological and research universities in southern Europe and is among the world's 40 best young universities.

Its main asset: people

Satisfaction with the work of the thesis supervisor is highlighted by 7 out of 10 UPC doctoral students. Support and availability get the best ratings.


More than half of the students of the UPC’s Doctoral School are international and a third obtain the International Doctorate mention.


Graduate employment of a high quality

Almost all UPC doctoral degree holders are successful in finding employment, mostly in jobs related to their degree.

The best industrial doctorate

The UPC offers the most industrial doctoral programmes in Catalonia (a third) with a hundred companies involved.

The industrial setting

The UPC’s location in an especially creative and innovative industrial and technological ecosystem is an added value for UPC doctoral students.

Theses for defense agenda

Reading date: 04/10/2023
  • ANGELATS COMPANY, EDUARD: On hybrid positioning using non-semantic image information
    Thesis file: (contact the Doctoral School to confirm you have a valid doctoral degree and to get the link to the thesis)
    Department: Department of Physics (FIS)
    Mode: Normal
    Deposit date: 18/07/2023
    Reading date: 04/10/2023
    Reading time: 11:00
    Reading place: CTTC, parc Mediterrani de la Tecnologia ¿ Edifici B6 Av. Carl Friedrich Gauss 7 08860 ¿ Castelldefels Barcelona, Sala de la defensa: Auditori Edifici B6
    Thesis director: COLOMINA FOSCH, ISMAEL
    Thesis abstract: Hybrid or multi-sensor-based positioning has been a research topic actively investigated in the last decade. In this context, the possibility of using information extracted from imaging sensors, for positioning, is very appealing to mitigate the problems that GNSS or INS/GNSS-based trajectories have in terms of robustness and accuracy. On the other hand, different processing workflows, sensor positioning quality or system calibration errors, may also produce even in GNSS-friendly conditions, that multiple geospatial datasets are not properly co-registered. This thesis proposes the use of non-semantic information, this is, the use of a set of geometric entities or features, to improve the trajectory estimation in a multi-sensor-based approach. This thesis covers the mathematical modelling of non-semantic information, implements several hybrid-based trajectory estimation approaches that use this kind of information with the appropriate modelling, and also explores the use of non-semantic features to model the trajectory error modelling.The implementation of combined models allowing to use of observations from camera or LiDAR sensors is the first contribution of this thesis. The proposed models have enabled improved trajectory determination in both urban post-processing and airborne environments with good accuracy (cm level). The implemented INS/GNSS trajectory error models are relatively simple but proved to be efficient. The combined models have been tested, in post-processing, using a bundle adjustment approach, with real data from metric cameras and aerial laser mapping systems as well as in Terrestrial Mobile Mapping systems (TMM). The second contribution of this thesis is the characterization of trajectory errors that TMM may have in GNSS urban scenarios. The non-semantic information extracted from the images has allowed, using an integrated sensor orientation approach, to model these errors in an urban environment. This modelling opens the door to the development of new, more advanced trajectory error models that go beyond the deterministic models currently used. The determination of trajectories in real time, in GNSS unfriendly environments, is also explored in this thesis using non-semantic features. An approach has been implemented based on a tightly coupling sequential nonlinear least squares using GNSS positions, image coordinates and raw inertial measurements. The proposed approach exploits a sliding window bundle adjustment technique to use the image coordinates of tie points and the positions and attitudes derived from the last epochs to determine the position and attitude parameters of the most recent epoch. The approach has been evaluated using both real and simulated data from a mobile mapping campaign over an urban area with long GNSS outage periods, with promising results.This thesis also presents an approach to improve the determination of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) trajectories using open aerial data obtained in the framework of a national mapping project (PNOA). The development of this methodology is another contribution aiming to ensure the geospatial coherence between the orthophotos, and digital elevation models obtained with an RPAS and the orthophotos and digital models of the PNOA. The results, applied in the context of a multi-temporal and multi-sensor high-resolution archaeological documentation, show that photogrammetric products can be generated with a similar accuracy (cm level accuracy) to the ones generated with more complex approaches. Last but not least, this thesis presents a seamless indoor-outdoor positioning approach with encouraging results (meter-level accuracy) in several scenarios. This contribution opens the door for enhanced tracking of members of civil protection and emergency teams. This is an open field of research with not widely accepted /adopted solution yet.
  • CHO, MEEHWA: Dos crecimientos en una ciudad. Dos ciudades en crecimiento
    Author: CHO, MEEHWA
    Thesis file: (contact the Doctoral School to confirm you have a valid doctoral degree and to get the link to the thesis)
    Department: (DUTP)
    Mode: Normal
    Deposit date: 26/06/2023
    Reading date: 04/10/2023
    Reading time: 11:00
    Reading place: Sala de Graus ETSAB. Planta Baixa (E.T.S. Arquitectura de Barcelona)Presencialment
    Thesis director: SABATE BEL, JOAQUIN
    Thesis abstract: After more than a century of existence, a district considered marginal in my city is tragically disappearing without a trace. This inspired me to examine its development and destruction. Busan, the first industrial and the second largest city in South Korea, has experieneced a population explosion three times since the beginning of the modern city. Evidently, urban planning comes after spatial expansion and occupation. Therefore, planned and unplanned districts now coexist within the city of Busan. Both districts have developed through a process of repeated exclusion, expulsion and eventually acculturation of the most underprivileged population at different periods. A spatial discrimination not only erases the ¿other¿ at the real space structure but also at the official history, both in its descriptions and drawings. Therefore, before tackling the morphological analysis, making its existence visible and incorporating it into the historical narrative is essential.This story is not limited to be a testimony of the suffering of the affected citizens, but also intended to reveal the turbulent modern history of the South Korean society that are condensed in the growth of the city: which entered modernity from the most peripheral corner of the world by 19th century imperialism; began the 20th century being occupied by a foreign force; later on in the middle of the last century, suffered an extreme poverty during the actual as well as the ideological war; however, within in a few decades later the country recovered to being a developed one; recently, it achieved a miraculous socioeconomic growth, which, however, hides part of its history.The discrimination that is born from imposing new urban patterns, has reproduced each time a new hegemony. Inevitably entailing a class conflict. In order to reveal the successive attempts at acculturation, or direct expulsion, we tried to discover the process followed by two different urban growths throughout five periods. In which, urban policies were repeatedly subordinated to the objectives of the dominant group and the government, either from an external force or from the Korean society itself. Observations of the dynamics of various agents involved in housing policies revealed the reciprocal relationship between two growths and as a result, the successive urban transformation.Few morphological studies have been addressed in South Korea. Therefore, this research represents a novel contribution to the knowledge of urban formation, which in turns reveals its contribution in building a dramatic inequality. The case study, Busan, has even fewer studies related to its urban history and to the morphological analysis despite its critical importance in the advancement of modern Korean history. We intended to address and to provide for future research projects, an intense morphological analysis that contains varied documentation of formation and transformation along with the historical description with fifteen representative axes.Apropos of the apparent irregularity of that "other city", the analysis revealed patterns, specific rules that resulted from a collective organization, based on a traditional spatial composition. Therefore, the analysis uncovered that this "other city" is not marginal, but rather historical. It is the only place where the traces of traditional space still remain today that is quite different from some heritage elements that are artificially preserved out of their urban context. If one day the South Korean society tries to recover the tradition that has been despised, covered , or considered inferior when it comes to pursuing belated modernization, and also tries to reconnect with the contemporary society, the "other city" would offer, if we arrive on time, the only physical testimony to achieve it.
Reading date: 05/10/2023
  • ROBLES GONZÁLEZ, ANTONIO: Private user-centric management of electronic services in smart communities
    Thesis file: (contact the Doctoral School to confirm you have a valid doctoral degree and to get the link to the thesis)
    Department: Department of Network Engineering (ENTEL)
    Mode: Normal
    Deposit date: 13/07/2023
    Reading date: 05/10/2023
    Reading time: 12:00
    Reading place: Aula Màster C3-005, Campus Nord (ENTEL-MAT)
    Thesis abstract: Smart community services are reaching nearly every area of our daily life, often requiring private information from their users. The scope of all contributors to these services is to collaboratively share information for the benefit of all stakeholders, including citizens (user), organizations, schools, and governing institutions. User contribution can be participatory --flence intentionally given --0r smart community services can gather information opportunistically from user sensors and/or APls nearly automatically or with less user influence. The present dissertation focuses on participatory user contribution. SCS increasingly demand consciously undertaken participatory user contributions, that predominantly require a login-based user verification process based on an identification (I) and authentication (A) process. Throughout this process, the user logs in with a user identity, regardless of whether it is a real one or not. The verification process is associated with immanent privacy threats to users. The users can contribute with tagging, posting, or uploading information demanded by the SCS, which may need reliability guarantees linked to the trustworthiness of the users. Nowadays becoming more aware about their privacy and right to self-determine, users are not so willing to contribute unconditionally to the SCS, leading to a conflict between user privacy and the SCS requirements. The verification process for a user login as well as his contributions implies user privacy threats. Chapter 3 and 4 of the dissertation focus on the privacy threat analysis (PTA) of the user verification process and chapter 5 on user self-determined privacy aware contributions to the SCS. Chapter 3 focuses on the PTA of the verification process in the modelling phase. We extend the scientifically grounded LINDDUN PT A framework to be used systematically for modelling of the verification process to perform a user login. Our contribution includes the modelling of the I and A processes, considering IA methods, the extension of the trust boundary concept, and extensively extends the privacy threat mapping table. Our contributions are assembled in a systematic and reproducible step-by-step guide intended for privacy auditors including knowledge and decision support, whereby the results do not depend on the knowledge of the auditor or his intuition. The results provide the requirements for the authentication schemes (AS) to be implemented or selected. Chapter 4 focuses on the PTA of the verification process of realized AS. Bonneau et al. proposed a comparison framework to extensively evaluate AS for usability (U), deployability (D) and security (S), namely, the UDS framework. We extend it with a new defined privacy (P) category to become the UDSP framework. Our evaluation of the 38 AS -including biometrics -with the UDSP framework reveal inter alia fundamental privacy threats, for which we propose guidelines for more secure implementations. Chapter 5 focuses on self-determined and user accepted revocable privacy. The contributing user in particular is exposed to privacy threats when he contributes to a critical incident of a SCS, that requires evidence and trustworthiness for the contribution. That is the reason why we propose a taxonomy concept for classifying the criticality of incidents, including a mapping to enhanced privacy requirements and the cryptographic primitives that would support their realization in a privacy preserving fashion. The taxonomy for user self-determination comprising enforceable graded revocable privacy, which is nonetheless partially applicable to the right to be forgotten, is exemplified for two proofs-of-concepts applying cryptographic primitives alike blacklistable anonymous credentials and group signatures with distributed management.
Reading date: 06/10/2023
  • EL GHARBI, MARIAM: Design and Characterization of Wearable Antenna Sensors for Healthcare Applications
    Thesis file: (contact the Doctoral School to confirm you have a valid doctoral degree and to get the link to the thesis)
    Department: Department of Electronic Engineering (EEL)
    Mode: Article-based thesis
    Deposit date: 24/07/2023
    Reading date: 06/10/2023
    Reading time: 11:00
    Reading place: Sala de Conferències TR1-ESEIAAT (Terrassa)
    Thesis abstract: Wearable antenna sensors are a promising technology for developing new applications in the healthcare field since textiles are widely used by everyone due to the maturity of textile manufacturing. According to the last decade's market behavior, it is expected that consumers will claim smaller and more intelligent communications systems which will improve their quality of life. In this respect, wearable antenna sensor technology is one of the key implementations of the future smart clothes field and they may find their place in our daily life. Currently, the researches on wearable antenna sensors are receiving increasing interest while wearable antenna sensors on textile have less research, thus it is a novelty and motivation of this thesis. This thesis deals with challenges regarding wearable antenna sensor design, characterization, and measurements on textile. Based on the analysis of the current state of the art, there are several new research that merits to be explored, thus generating the specific objectives of this thesis. The first objective is to develop new textile antenna sensors with high performance including low profile, high sensitivity, low cost, and high durability; the second objective is to explore wearable antenna-based sensors that can be used for body signal/healthcare monitoring and communication purposes; the third objective is to test the performance of the antenna sensor in real-world scenarios, such as breathing monitoring, and the fourth objective is to develop antenna sensors that can be integrated into clothing for breathing monitoring combined with other commercial electronic components, such as Bluetooth/WIFI transmitter.For achieving the first objective, an embroidered fully textile antenna-based sensor is proposed to detect various concentrations of salt and sugar using microwave signals. Different concentrations of salt and sugar are identified through variations in frequency shifts and magnitude levels observed in reflection coefficient measurements. In addition, the rinsing reliability validation measurements are performed. The proposed sensor offers high sensitivity and compact size. To achieve the second objective, a textile antenna sensor for in vitro diagnostics of diabetes for monitoring blood glucose levels is proposed. The experiments are performed to detect different diabetic conditions including hypoglycemia, normoglycemia, and hyperglycemia. To attain the third objective, a new embroidered meander dipole antenna-based sensor for real-time breath detection using the technique based on chest well movement analysis is proposed. For the fourth objective, an embroidered antenna-based sensor is integrated into the T-shirt to demonstrate the sensing mechanism based on the detection of different breathing patterns through the resonance shift frequency and the received signal strength indicator (RSSI) using a Bluetooth transmitter. The results show a good sensing performance and its ability to detect and monitor different breathing patterns.This thesis has been developed at RFLEX (Radio Frequency Identification and Flexible Electronics) group, which is part of the Electronic Engineering Department at UPC partially supported by projects: TEC2016-79465-R, TED2021-131209B-I0, and PID2021-124288OB-I0. This Ph.D. thesis has been written as a Compendium of articles, five articles indexed in the Journal Citation Report are already published and one additional is under submission, which are included as an annex in this thesis.Keywords ¿ Antenna-based sensors, embroidered textile, frequency shift, microwave sensing, breathing patterns, wearable system, e-textile, breathing monitoring.
  • GONZÁLEZ FLÓREZ, CRISTINA: Understanding size-resolved dust emission from field measurements in Morocco
    Thesis file: (contact the Doctoral School to confirm you have a valid doctoral degree and to get the link to the thesis)
    Department: (DECA)
    Mode: Normal
    Deposit date: 18/07/2023
    Reading date: 06/10/2023
    Reading time: 10:00
    Reading place: Place: ETSECCPB UPC, Campus Nord Building C1. Classroom: 002 C/Jordi Girona, 1-3 08034 Barcelona
    Thesis abstract: Atmospheric mineral dust is composed of a variety of mineral particles exhibiting distinct composition, shape, and size. Thewide range of diameters exhibited by dust particles, spanning more than three orders of magnitude, partly determines theireffects within the Earth System. This PhD thesis focuses on dust emission, and especially on the emitted dust particle sizedistribution (PSD) and its variability. It has been conducted within the context of the ERC project ¿FRontiers in dus tminerAloGical coMpos ition and its Effects upoN climaTe¿ (FRAGMENT), which aims to understand global dus t compos itionand its climate effects. Dust is generated through saltation bombardment and aggregate disintegration, and less efectively byaerodynamic entrainment. Constraining its PSD at emission is crucial as it strongly affects the impacts, lifetime, and globaldistribution of dust. However, our understanding of the emitted dust PSD, including its potential variability, its underlyingcauses, and the fraction of particles with diameter >10¿m, remains limited.This thesis provides new insights into the emitted dust PSD and its variability based on meteorological, saltation and size -resolved dust concentration measurements conducted during the FRAGMENT campaign in the Moroccan Sahara inSeptember 2019. Saltation and dust emission occurred regularly at this location, although sandblasting efficiency was lowercompared to previous studies, probably due to the paved sediment surface. During the campaign two types of dust eventswere identified: regular events associated with diurnal wind cycles caused by solar heating, and haboobs, intense duststorms formed by convective downdrafts. The obtained dust concentration and diffusive flux PSDs show statisticallysignificant dependencies upon friction velocity (u*), wind direction, and type of event. Notably, diffusive flux PSDs shift towardsfiner particles with increasing u*. In this thesis, this feature has been attributed to a large extent to the effect of dry d eposition,which is modulated by the wind-direction-dependent fetch length, and u*. However, an enhanced fragmentation of aggregateswith u* may also play a smaller role.The dry deposition flux was estimated using a resistance model constrained with field observations, which was then used toestimate the emitted dust flux. It has been shown that the deposition flux could represent up to ¿ 90% of the emitted dust fluxfor particles >10¿m in diameter and up to ¿ 65% for particles as small as ¿ 5¿m. These results imply that the emitted dustPSD is coarser and less variable than the diffusive flux PSD. As far as I know, this is the first time that the effect of drydeposition upon the diffusive fluxes is identified and quantified experimentally, supporting recent results based on numerica lmodelling. This finding has implications for the evaluation of dust emission schemes and their implementation in transportmodels as the typical assumption that the diffusive and the emitted dust PSDs are equivalent could be invalidated.Another remarkable feature is the difference in PSDs between haboob and regular events. Haboob PSDs show lowerproportions of sub-micrometre particles for equivalent or higher u* intervals, along with more dry deposition and variability indust mass fractions with diameters >3¿m. The mechanisms proposed to explain this variability include a smaller andvariable effective fetch during the haboob events, and/or an increased resistance of soil aggregates to fragmentationassociated with the observed increase in relative humidity along the haboob outflow.Finally, compared to the invariant emitted dust flux PSD predicted by Brittle Fragmentation Theory, our dust flux shows asubstantially higher proportion of super-micrometre particles. Overall, these results highlight the need to adequately considerdry deposition when estimating the emitted PSD from concentration measurements, even in studies limited to size

The Doctoral School today

  • 45PhD programs
  • 2131doctoral students 21/22
  • 1591thesis supervisors 21/22
  • 305read theses 2021
  • 982021 thesis with I.M. and/or I.D.
  • 233 I.D. projects (29% from G.C. total)

I.M: International Mention, I.D.: Industrial Doctorate, G.C.: Generalitat de Catalunya