About Me

Me | Research | Hobbies | Computers

Me

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I was born in Birmingham, England, right at the start of 1980. Thankfully I missed the 1970s by just shy of a month! I quickly moved out of Birmingham and lived in Tamworth, a large town 15 miles to the north-east of Birmingham. My parents and most of the family still live in the Midlands. I, on the other hand, upped sticks in 1999 and went to Canterbury, Kent, where I stayed until Easter 2007. In 2007 I moved to Bournemouth, Dorset to pursue a career in The Real World (TM) (insofar as the real world involves living next to a beach!). I have recently moved back to Kent and now live in Medway.

The University of Kent at Canterbury is where I did my BSc in Computer Science (which I graduated with in 2003) and I stayed at Kent Uni to do another degree, this time a PhD in Computer Science. At Uni I usually do a bit of teaching, mainly teaching first-year undergraduates how to program in Java.

I have actually had experience at The Real World. I spent a year between school and University working for a logistics company in Tamworth. Tamworth, being right slap-bang in the middle of England is a really good place to be if your business involves moving boxes around the country, meaning that most people who live in the town are employed as truck drivers, forklift truck drivers or warehouse operatives. The clever people move out.

I also spent just over a year working at IBM at Hursley in Hampshire. This was for the industrial placement year part of my undergrad degree. The year was excellent and I really enjoyed my time there. I got to spend six months living in Southampton (which I hated) and six months living in Winchester (which I loved).

Me | Research | Hobbies | Computers

Research

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In 2008 I completed a PhD in Computer Science at the University of Kent in Canterbury. I submitted my thesis in October 2008. You can download and read it: thesis PDF (25MB)

Publications

Me | Research | Hobbies | Computers

Hobbies

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I like to keep myself busy when I'm not in the Computing Lab scratching my head over another weird research paper. When at Uni I was a member of the Music Society and I played the trumpet in the Concert Band and Big Band there. I was also on the society committee so quite often get roped into helping out organising and running concerts and other events. I started playing the trumpet when I was about 12 and although I wouldn't say I was particularly talented, it at least gives me chance for a bit of relief each week.

I am also very interested in the weather. Britain is lucky in that it has a particularly wide and varied climate and the weather is always a keen topic for conversation. I have a weather station in the back garden (not an ideal site, but better than nothing) and amuse myself with studying the data and seeing how it relates to the past, present and future weather situation. I make sure that the data from my station is collected and available online at www.canterburyweather.co.uk.

Travelling is also a particular passion of mine, both around Britain and further afield. At a guess I have probably been to nearly every county in England and Wales and more than half of the states in the USA. I have also been to quite a few countries in Western Europe. This still leaves much of the world unexplored!

I enjoy walking in the countryside, of which there is plenty in Britain. I usually visit the Lake District once a year and then go on other walks around the south of England during the rest of the year. One of my long-term aims is to complete a route from North Foreland (the easternmost point on the south coast of England) to Land's End (the westernmost point) - a distance of some 1000km (600 miles) and through places such as Canterbury, Romney Marsh, Hastings, the South Downs, Winchester, Salisbury, Stonehenge, the Quantock Hills and the north Devon and Cornwall coasts. I am currently about 1/3rd of the way there, having completed all of the route east of Winchester.

States I have visited in the USA:

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Countries I have visited in Europe:

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Countries I have visited in the world:

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Other things that I get up to include conservation work with the National Trust, cooking, music, snooker (my highest break is 17!) and photography.

Me | Research | Hobbies | Computers

Computers

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I used to hate Windows but a couple of years ago I finally got round to using Linux properly. My main desktop at home runs Ubuntu while my file server runs FreeBSD (cos it was the only thing that worked!). I occasionally hack code - mainly in Java, but I have jibbled (to a lesser degree!) with such oddities as Perl, C, C++, Rexx, Cobol, Haskell, Fortran, and a few others which are probably too obscure to mention. I do quite a lot of web programming, particularly using PHP, SQL and JavaScript. I like trying to find the hardest way of doing something, such as trying to read and write data to the serial port using Java.

I used to run the extremely popular website tcaep.co.uk, but I sold it to the Institute of Physics in 2001 when I ran out of money to host it. By 2001 it was getting some 2 million hits a month - not bad for a site which I knocked together to motivate me to do my physics revision! Sadly the content seems to have disappeared from the Internet - probably due to the rise in popularity of sites such as Wikipedia. The site was launched on 21st November 1997, nearly ten years ago.

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