Finally! It's over! Never again! The defense mostly followed the specified procedure. I first had about 45 minutes to give a presentation of the results of the dissertation, then the first opponent, Neil Jones, gave a 15 minute summary putting my work into a larger context.
After his summary, he proceeded to ask several high-level questions about various parts of the dissertation. One question I liked a lot was (paraphrased): "are the axiom-based Java testing techniques you propose in your case study applicable to Stratego and would you actually use them?". All the tools and prototypes discussed in the thesis are written in Stratego, and are applied to Java, C and a toy language called TIL. However, few of the tools are actually available for Stratego itself. This is the classical story of the cobbler's children's shoes... I certainly think it would be worthwhile to do the work necessary to make some of the the tools available to Stratego as well.
Peter Mosses followed with a series of detailed questions. Clearly, Peter had read the text and figures very carefully, because some of his questions were about rather subtle issues and ambiguities in my work. There were also a few (fortunately minor) mistakes that made some of the figures more difficult to comprehend than necessary. He also nailed me on a very embarrassing definite-instead-of-indefinite article mistake. Normally, these things do not matter very much, but in this particular sentence it sort of reversed one of my main arguments in the dissertation. Whoops;)
After I'd answered their questions as best as I could, they retired to discuss whether my performance was good enough. This is mostly a formality in the current tradition, so I can't say I was very worried at that point. Once they came back, the dean proclaimed my successful completion of the degree, and we all rushed off for some (sadly delayed) champagne and cake.
I even wore a suit, and here's a picture to prove it:
Much thanks to Uwe Wolter, who was the local member of the committe and therefore the grand orchestrator of all the formalities, the formal parts went smoothly. After the defense, the stressful part of the day started: I had to collect all people's menu choices for the evening, send my family and friends shopping for the evening's party, clean the apartment and of course smear huge swaths of marzipan cake all over my suit. Thanks to very good help from my brother, his girlfriend, Håvard (my roommate) and my mother, and Tilde, we managed to get ready just in time to arrive ten minutes late for the scheduled dinner.
Since Eelco took the pictures, he's not in any of them. Fortunately, Tilde has a few pictures of Eelco, and of the other people present. I'm still waiting for those and will upload a few once I get them (and get some green lights from the people depicted).
After dinner, we all (committee, advisors, friends and family) drove back to my apartment and Tilde whipped up drinks to all. She even tricked one into me;) I was very pleased to see that my office neighbour and student advisor, Ida Holen, found the time to show up. Also, I had friends flying in from Oslo (okay, Holmestrand) and Trondheim for the event, namely Karl Thomas, Karina and Leif Olav. Thanks guys! Hope the drinks and food was worth it;) The usual Bergen posse showed up as well, including Stig, Fay, Knute, Glenn, Espen, Tommy x 2 and Paul Simon (if I forgot somebody, ping me).