After studying mathematics for a BA at Oxford, I moved to Cambridge to do my PhD, which was in abstract algebra. I then spent five years with Logica (a UK software house) at their R&D lab, where I developed a wide range of neural network applications and also worked in formal methods.
I am currently the Executive Dean for the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and at the University level I am Associate PVC International for China. I am a 50th Anniversary Professor of Systems Analytics. I was formerly Head of Computer Science (2009-2016), Head of Mathematics (2012-2015) and Associate Dean for Research in the School (2006-2008).
I have led the introduction of a range of innovations at Aston: a university-wide research publication repository; work-based Degree Apprenticeships recruiting more than 70 students (featured in `Forging Futures', a recent UUK/UKCES report on university/employer collaboration); and a student-led software company to provide on-campus experience of industrial-standard software development. Externally to Aston, I am the chair of the Natural Computing Applications Forum (NCAF) and have organised the scientific program for many of their meetings. In my spare time I play the piano.
My research spans both the theory and applications of neural networks and other pattern recognition techniques, with a special focus on data visualisation and probabilistic modelling. Much of my work is inspired, directly or indirectly, by industrial problems in bioinformatics, biosignal processing, condition monitoring, remote sensing and financial forecasting. I have put my experience of software engineering to good use through developing the Netlab toolbox for neural networks and related pattern analysis techniques: this has now been downloaded more than 45,000 times and the accompanying book has 1000 citations. I am a member of the Institute of System Analytics. Between October 2000 and June 2002 I was the Director of the Cardionetics Institute of Bioinformatics, which researched methods for extracting clinically valuable information from electrocardiogram (ECG) data. The current focus of my research is in data visualisation (representing high-dimensional data faithfully in 2D so that users can analyse its structure visually) and time series analysis and characterisation (with applications in biomedical signal processing and condition monitoring of complex machinery).
I am also actively involved with ARCHA (Aston Research Centre in Health Ageing). I am working with a research assistant to investigate change-points in peoples' quality of life as they age and also on statistical modelling of biological data.