View Dirk  Gorissen's profile on LinkedIn LinkedIn Resume Publications     ProjectsProjects


I am a computer scientist with a background in R&D who is passionate about technology and engineering. My strength and motivation lies in multidisciplinary work, leveraging computer science to help solve hard problems in science and engineering.

I strongly believe in using (and learning) the right tool for the job. Its about the questions you ask, not the tools you use.



My background in R&D has always required a very flexible set of skills. From machine learning in aerospace and Javascript web-app development, to debugging Fortran MPI code, big data analysis, and speaking at major international conferences.

I have a solid technical background with additional experience in consultant and project management type roles. My main competencies include

  • multidisciplinary projects & liaising with scientists and domain experts
  • software architecture and engineering (Matlab/Java/Python/C#/C++/Js/Clojure/R)
  • machine learning (deep neural nets, random forests, SVM, evolutionary algorithms)
  • (big) data analysis, processing, and visualization
  • surrogate modeling, optimization, MDO
  • communication / outreach / teaching

I have built up a considerable amount of international collaborative experience across many domains. I have worked in research labs in BelgiumPolandSouth AfricaUSACanada, and the United Kingdom.

In addition, my passion for solving real, practical problems has given me the privilege to work with a large range of institutions and industrial partners, including: Rolls-RoyceFreescaleBMWArcelor Mittal, NXP SemiconductorsAirbusCISRO Austrailia, BAE Systems, 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.

A list of the main projects I have worked on can be found on the projects page. Further details and recommendations can be found in my LinkedIn page.


My main professional interests lie at the intersection of computer science and engineering. The aerospace, marine, and automotive domains fascinate me especially.

Particular topics of interest include:

  • High Performance Computing & Big Data: Cloud-, Grid- and cluster computing, distributed resource management, data analysis & visualization,  NoSQL, Hadoop, Storm, Kafka,  ….
  • Artificial Intelligence: Machine Learning, Neural Networks (MLP, SOM, Deep Belief Nets, …), Support Vector Machines, Evolutionary Algorithms (GA, GP, ES, …), self organization, Bayesian nets, …
  • Computational Engineering: Using computer science techniques and tools in order to help engineers solve challenging design, modeling and optimization problems (e.g., surrogate modeling, geometry optimization, CAE, …)
  • Software engineering:  Focus on using the right tool for the right job, clean & maintainable design, testing, rapid prototyping, and continuous integration.

Additionally, I have an interest in projects with a social, humanitarian, and/or educational dimension. I am an active member of Kiva, Random Hacks of Kindness, UAViators, and a strong supporter of organizations such as DataKindEngineers without borders and RLabs. I am a STEM Ambassador and regularly volunteer for outreach activities to help with the dissemination of research to schools and the general public. I am also the organizer of the London Big-O Algorithms and Datastructures meetup and London Deep Learning Meetup.

Short Biography

Dirk Gorissen holds Masters degrees in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence and a PhD in Computational Engineering. He has worked in research labs in the US, Canada, Europe & Africa and worked with a large range of industrial partners, including: Rolls-Royce, BMW, Arcelor Mittal, NXP, and Airbus. His interests span machine learning, data analysis, surrogate modeling and computational engineering. Particularly in the aerospace, automotive, and marine domains. After eight years he left academia to join BAE Systems Research where he works on big data analysis, deep learning, Integrated Vehicle Health Management and autonomous systems related topics. He has a strong interest in UXVs, is an active STEM Ambassador, organizer of the London Big-O Algorithms & Deep Learning meetups, and is active in the Tech4Good / ICT4D space.

Full Biography

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 iMinds, 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 was 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. During this time he was also a regular attendee of the London Python Dojo and numerous related meetup groups in London.

After 8 years he decided to leave academic research and move to industry. He first took up the opportunity to do some contract work and for 3 months developed an evolutionary optimization and feature selection framework for Natural Language Processing (NLP) models. In May 2013 he then took up a full time position as a principal research engineer in the Information Processing group at the Advanced Technology Centre of BAE Systems. Here he works on a wide range of projects with general themes covering: (big) data analysis, information retrieval, data fusion, machine learning, computational engineering and Integrated Vehicle Health Monitoring (IVHM) systems. Around the same time he also co-founded the UK Community of Research Software Engineers and took over (& revived) the London Big-O Algorithms and Datastructures Meetup. The only meetup of its kind, focusing on the fundamental algorithms and datastructures that make advances in scalability, performance, and efficiency possible. He later also co-founded the  London Deep Learning Meetup.

Finally, throughout his career he has always volunteered for outreach programmes. He is an official STEM Ambassador and 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, was the organizer of multiple Random Hacks of Kindness events, the founder of SouthREACH, and founding member of the organization. He is also an active member of the SoMakeIt Makerspace project and on the advisory board for UAViators, the Humanitarian UAV community.