|Resume / CV||Publications|
I am a computer scientist with a background in R&D who is passionate about technology and engineering. My strength lies in multidisciplinary work, leveraging IT to help solve hard problems in science and engineering design.
I strongly believe in using (and learning) the right tool for the job and am not tied to any particular language, framework, or operating system. The problem comes first. Tools are secondary.
I have experience with consultancy type roles, my main competencies lying in:
- multidisciplinary projects & liaising with domain experts
- machine learning (neural nets, svm, kriging, evolutionary algorithms)
- surrogate modeling, optimization, MDO
- HPC / Cloud
- communication / outreach / teaching
I have worked with many different disciplines, researchers, companies, and applications. This has resulted in a considerable amount of international collaborative experience.
I have worked in research labs in Belgium, Poland, South Africa, USA, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
In addition, my passion for solving real, practical problems has given me the opportunity to work with a large range of institutions and industrial partners, including: Rolls-Royce, Freescale, BMW, Arcelor Mittal, NXP Semiconductors, Airbus, CISRO Austrailia, and RWTH Aachen.
I was the lead architect of the SUrrogate MOdeling (SUMO) Toolbox, now used in many universities and companies for design space exploration and optimization. My tools have also been used to design and build the worlds first 3D printed aircraft.
As well as the topics that are discussed on Hacker News, Reddit and Slashdot, my professional interests lie the intersection of computer science and engineering. The aerospace, marine, and automotive domains fascinate me especially.
Particular topics of interest include:
- Computational Engineering: The application of state of the art computer science techniques and tools in order to help engineers solve challenging design, modeling and optimization problems in science and engineering (e.g., CAE).
- Software engineering: Focus on using the right tool for the right job, clean & maintainable design, test-driven development, rapid prototyping, and continuous integration.
- High Performance Computing / Big Data: Cloud-, Grid- and cluster computing, middleware, distributed resource management & discovery, data management, NoSQL, Map-Reduce, Storm/Kafka, Hadoop, …
- Artificial Intelligence: Machine Learning, Neural Networks (MLP, SOM, Deep Belief Nets, …), Evolutionary Algorithms (GA, GP, ES, …), Support Vector Machines, data mining (clustering, feature selection, …), self organization, …
Additionally, I have an interest in projects with a social, humanitarian, and/or educational dimension. I am an active member of Kiva and Random Hacks of Kindness and a strong supporter of organizations such as Engineers without borders and RLabs. I also regularly volunteer for outreach activities to help with the dissemination of our research to schools and the general public.
Born and raised in Africa, Dirk then moved to Belgium where he received an M.Sc. degree in Computer Science and a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE), both from the University of Antwerp (UA) in 2004. In 2005 he worked as a PhD student in the Computational Modeling and Programming (CoMP) research group researching lightweight desktop grids and related High Performance Computing topics. During this time he also worked as a visiting research associate at the Distrbuted Computing Laboratory of Emory University, Atlanta, USA. There, for half a year, he worked on distributed locking algorithms and integration of heterogeneous grid information systems. This was part of the HARNESS project with The University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Labs.
On his return he joined the Computer Modeling and Simulation (COMS) research group (now merged with CoMP), supported by a grant from the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (FWO). In the meantime, from 2006 to 2007, he was also enrolled part time in the Master of Artificial Intelligence programme offered by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL). He graduated successfully in July 2007.
Starting from December 2007 he was active as a PhD student in the SUrrogate MOdeling Lab in the INTEC Broadband Communication Networks (IBCN) research group at Ghent University. There he worked on surrogate modeling methods for computer aided engineering and optimization, combining elements of software engineering, HPC, and machine learning. During this time he was also a research visitor at the University of Technology of Gdansk, Poland, and Stellenbosch University, South Africa. In addition he was a member of IBBT, an internationally recognized multidisciplinary ICT research center, and participated in many industrial projects. He also remained affiliated with the CoMP group at the University of Antwerp.
In October 2008 Dirk was awarded a research scholarship from the Scientific Research Fund Flanders to cover a 6 month research visit to the Dept. of Electronics at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. There he worked on evolutionary knowledge based modeling of nonlinear devices. In March 2010 he successfully defended his PhD dissertation, thus obtaining a doctorate in Engineering Science from Ghent University. The tools he developed during his PhD are now used in many institutions, both commercially and academically.
Starting February 2010 he joined the Computational Engineering and Design Group at School of Engineering and the Environment of Southampton University with close ties to the Airbus Technology Centre for Aeroacoustics and Noise, the Rolls Royce Centre for Computational Engineering, and the Microsoft Institute for High Performance Computing. At the CEDG he is responsible for the design and architecture of a software design suite for civilian UAVs. During the project his tools helped design multiple UAVs that flew successfully, including the worlds first fully 3D printed aircraft and a UAV for the BBC to be used during the London 2012 Olympics. While in Southampton he was a regular attendee of the London Python Dojo and active member of the local Southackton hackerspace project.
Finally, throughout his career he has always volunteered for outreach programmes. He has helped disseminate research to secondary schools, charities, and the general public. His interest in international development led him to participate in multiple hackathon-type events with a social dimension. He was part of the winning team at the 2011 Water Hackathon, won a special mention at the 2012 Rewired State Parliament Hack weekend, the organizer of the 2012 Random Hacks of Kindness satellite events (the only UK events), founder of SouthREACH, and founding member of the Taarifa.org organization.