Professional

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I have worked on a very diverse set of projects, with a wide variety of technologies, organisations, and domains. From machine learning and drone design in aerospace, to advising governments on open data policy, negotiating complex commercial licencing deals, and speaking at major international conferences.

This has required building a very flexible set of skills in addition to my solid technical foundation. I enjoy connecting and learning about different domains and find Im good at communicating and translating ideas and quick to pick up new things.

What motivates me is not technology itself, but putting technology to work with a real, demonstrable, commercial or social impact.

Over the years I have built up 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 privilege to work with a wide range of institutions and industrial partners, including: Rolls-Royce, Freescale, BMW, Arcelor Mittal, NXP Semiconductors, Airbus, CISRO Austrailia, BAE Systems, RWTH Aachen, University of Cambridge, The World Bank, and many others I am unable to name.

Currently I bridge cutting edge tech with commercial reality as Product Manager for Oxbotica's full stack L4 Self Driving Software.

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About

Runaway academic

Computer Science and AI

Driven by impact

Born and raised in the heart of Africa I went on to study Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, and obtain a PhD in Computational Engineering. Driven by the need to be closer to impact I left academia to work in commercial R&D labs as well as in various startups covering drone technology, data science, machine learning, and self driving cars.

Over time I extended my technical background with significant commercial experience and found my sweet spot where deep technology meets real world impact. I currently work as Product Manager for Oxford spin-out and Autonomous Driving Software company Oxbotica.

Outside of work I have been very active in the Tech community. I have (co)organised multiple meetups in London, been an active speaker, and I have always strived to work on projects that have some wider use to society: I have worked on access to water supply in rural Africa, used flying radar to locate landmines, built a drone based tracking system to search for Orangutans in central Borneo, been an active STEM Ambassador in schools, co-founded the UK Association of Research Software Engineers, and tried to do my bit to quantify the plastic pollution problem in the oceans.

With whatever time is left I tinker with electronics and robots at home, head into nature, hit the heavy bag, or find an icy lake to go swimming in.

Join me for a (virtual) coffee?

Talks

I have been an invited speaker on self driving cars, drone & robotics technology, machine learning, development and ICT4D at a wide range of events.

Talks from 2010-2017 are listed below. I have also done (and continue to do) many talks and presentations through my employment. These are not listed here.

  • TopConf (Dec 2017, Talinn, Estonia)
  • CrunchConf (Oct 2017, Budapest, Hungary)
  • Future technologies and the use of patient data (June 2017, Cambridge, UK)
  • Dev Days (May 2017, Vilnius, Lithuania)
  • PyData Amsterdam (April 2017, Amsterdam)
  • Hacker News Meetup (Jan 2017, London)
  • Code Europe (Nov 2016, Krakow, Poland)
  • UCL Geography Dept (Oct 2016, London)
  • Nantes Machine Learning Meetup (Oct 2016, Nantes, France)
  • Conway Hall Lecture Series (Sep 2016, London)
  • Session chair & speaker, Asia Commercial UAV Show (Sep 2016, Singapore)
  • Imperial Collage Applications of Computing in Industry Lecture Series (Jan 2016, London, UK)
  • PyData London Meetup (Dec 2015, UK)
  • Flowminder & World Food Program Workshop (Dec 2015, Southampton, UK)
  • UCL Geography Dept (Oct 2015, London, UK)
  • MSF Canada Logistics Day and AGM (June 2015, Montreal, Canada)
  • Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries Workshop (May 2015, Bogor, Indonesia)
  • Intelligent Imaging Event (Mar 2015, Dundee, UK)
  • Sussex University Global Development Challenge (Feb 2015, Brighton, UK)
  • Oxford Data Science Meetup (Feb 2015, Oxford, UK)
  • CitiSense Smart Cities Panel (Nov 2014, Barcelona, Spain)
  • PyData London Industry Panel (Feb 2014, London, UK)
  • PyData London Conference (Feb 2014, London, UK)
  • RE-Work Technology Summit (Sep 2013, London, UK)
  • PyData London Meetup (Sep 2013, London, UK)
  • General Electric Aviation (Mar 2013, Hamble, UK)
  • Bedales (Feb 2013, Petersfield, UK)
  • Global South Forum (Dec 2012, Southampton, UK)
  • Imperial College London Megabyte Talks (Dec 2011, London, UK)
  • Strata London (Jun 2016, London, UK)
  • PyData London Conference (May 2016, London, UK)
  • PyCon UK (Oct 2011, Coventry, UK)

Projects

A list of the main projects I have worked on and can publicly talk about.

Active Projects

Side projects that are still active outside my employment.

CLARE, short for Come Look At Robot Entertainment, is an interactive robot I designed together with the kids and have been working on (and still am) for quite some time. Its mostly for fun and to expose the kids to robotics but also allows me to scratch that technical itch as my professional life ventures into documents, spreadsheets, powerpoint, and meetings.

I designed CLARE fully from scratch, including all CAD, wiring, coding, custom PCBs, etc. Its printed on my home 3D printer and features multiple cameras, face recognition and tracking, interactive voice commands, LCD screen, LEDs, and fart detector. It can be controlled with an RC remote or (planned) move autonomously using SLAM.

Pycel. This grew out of the frustration of dealing with Excel spreadsheets as part of the UAV (drone) design workflow. They were platform dependent, hard to automate and parallellise. The result was a compiler that could take an excel spreadsheet we used for aircraft sizing and compile it into stand alone python code for running on our cluster.

While my own need has passed, the project has been picked up by the community and is still active on github.

The SUMO Toolbox is a Matlab toolbox that I developed as part of my PhD in 2010. It automatically builds accurate surrogate models of a given data source within the accuracy and time constraints set by the user. The toolbox minimizes the number of data points (which it selects automatically) since they are usually expensive.

Applied to a very wide range of disciplines and projects, including metallurgy (with Arcelor Mittal), automotive (with BMW), and semiconductors (with Freescale).

While quite old now, it implemented many ideas which later became fashionable again with the rise of deep learning. It is still active and currently in use in many companies and universities worldwide.

Litter Robot. Annoyed by the litter lying around public parks I have been brooding on the idea of an autonomous litter robot for a long time. Now slowly working on putting the system together though its been somewhat highjacked with my work on CLARE (above).

Past Projects

Airborne Orangutan Tracking, a project with International Animal Rescue. As part of an animal welfare and ecological research project, orangutans in Borneo are implanted with VHF beacons so they can be followed through the jungle. Unfortunately the tracking signal has a limited range and manually navigating the jungle to pick up signals is extremely cumbersome. Better coverage can be obtained by flying above the canopy with a drone mounted receiver and homing system.
Image Processing. An project for the University of Cambridge where the problem was to automatically detect and extract printers ornaments from millions of scanned 16th, 17th, and 18th century books.
Airborne GPR. In many parts of the world unexploded ordnance and landmines still pose a significant danger to the local population. A huge variety of systems and sensors have been developed to tackle the project of landmine detection yet the clearing rate is still fairly low and the risks remain very real. In this project I worked on an integrated UAV based Ground Penetrating Radar system for use in landmine detection as well as utilities, law enforcement, etc. The worlds first system of its kind.
GPR-ML. Given a stream of Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) data in the context of demining (see previous project) there is still the significant challenge of identifying landmines amongst the subsurface clutter. This project was about tackling the challenge through the use of real and simulated data and exploiting recent advances in (deep) machine learning.
Anomaly Detection. A project with a Fortune 500 engineering company where the objective is to find anomalies and recurring patterns in event streams and explore their predictive power.
Swarming Systems. A project in collaboration with Bristol Robotics Lab whose aim is to demonstrate a true swarming capability (i.e., not multi-robot) for applications that involve maximizing area coverage.
Accurate Drone Positioning. In any drone application good positioning or localization is key in order for the sensor data to be processed sensibly. There are many ways of estimating position. This project looked at integrating RTK and monocular visual SLAM into a custom drone platform.
Airborne EMI sensor. The two main sensor modalities used to detect landmines are Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and EMI (i.e., metal detector). This project explored the feasibility of having a UAV mounted active or passive EMI sensor. A working prototype was built, to my knowledge the first in the world.

While a scientist at BAE Systems Research I worked on a wide range of projects. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the work there is little I can share publicly.

Projects were typically related to my specific areas of interest. This includes data fusion, big data analysis and visualization, machine learning (with deep learning in particular), Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM) systems, computational engineering, and autonomous systems.

Orchid. A collaboration between the University of Southampton, University of Oxford, University of Nottingham, The Australian Center for Field Robotics, BAE Systems, Secure Meters UK, and Rescue Global.

 

Rather than issuing instructions to passive machines, humans and software agents will continually and flexibly establish a range of collaborative relationships with one another, forming human-agent collectives (HACs) to meet their individual and collective goals.

Human Mobility Analysis: It is well known that humans generally follow very regular and predicable mobility patterns, both spatially and temporally. Lots of work has looked at exploiting and predicting those patterns but much less so on looking specifically at departures from those regular patterns. What can we learn from those departures from routine? How predictable are they?

 

This work was a collaboration with the Agents, Interaction, and Complexity group at University of Southampton. The approach was based around a Bayesian framework to analyse an individual’s mobility patterns and identify departures from routine. It is able to detect both spatial and temporal departures from routine based on heterogeneous sensor data (GPS, Cell Tower, social media, ..) and outperforms existing state-of-the-art predictors.

Applications include mobile digital assistants (e.g., Google Now), mobile advertising (e.g., LivingSocial), and crowdsourcing physical tasks (e.g., TaskRabbit).

GALLOP: Genetic Algorithms for Linguistic Learner Optimization is a python package I developed for feature selection and hyperparameter optimization for Natural Language Processing models.

 

Gallop provides a custom genetic algorithm that can be used to optimize the hyperparameters of models such as Timbl, SVMLight, and CRF++. Gallop also supports evolutionary selection of features or feature groups and can be run on a standalone machine or Torque compatible cluster.

DECODE: Decision Environment for Complex Design Evaluation. An ESPRC funded research project where we developed an agile UAV design environment and manufacturing process. Close ties with the Microsoft Institute for High Performance Computing, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, and the BBC.

 

Multiple aircraft have been built and flown successfully and our work has been covered extensively by the media. Eventually evolved into the 2Seas 3i EU project.

The SULSA project was about designing, building, and flying the worlds first fully 3D printed aircraft.  It was printed in just 4 separate pieces using selective laser sintering and assembled without any screws or traditional fastners. Its elliptical wings were modeled after the iconic Spitfire and the whole geometry generated programmatically.
MDOW was a project in collaboration with Airbus that took a non-conventional view to solving the Multidisciplinary Design Optimization problem in aircraft design. The fundamental being to use an expert system to coordinate the activities of the domain level optimizers instead of a numeric optimizer. This allowed for more traceability and a human-in-the-loop.
The Operational MOdel Order REduction for Nanoscale IC Electronics (O-MOORE-NICE) project was a Transfer of Knowledge collaboration between the Technical University of Chemnitz, University of Antwerp, Technical University of Eindhoven and NXP Semiconductors. It involved developing accurate metamodels for integrated circuits. Topics studied included parameterization, parameter screening, nonlinearity, and combination of approaches from optimization and statistics.
h2O was a research project at Emory University, Atlanta and part of the larger HARNESS project with The University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. HARNESS (Heterogeneous Adaptive Reconfigurable Networked SyStem) was an experimental Metacomputing System aiming at providing a highly dynamic, fault-tolerant computing environment for high performance computing applications.

Outreach Projects

Beyond the technical I also have a strong interest in projects with a social, humanitarian, and/or educational dimension. In addition to the initiatives listed below, Im an advisor to Smart Parks, The Next Generation Computational Modeling DTC, and sat on the original advisory council for UAViators.

FortuneCookieComputer I co-founded the UK Society of Research Software Engineers. Software is a fundamental part of research, and research software engineers are fundamental to good software. Despite this, the role is not well understood in the research community and the missing reward structure in academia often drives them away. The aim of the society is to promote the role of software and its developers in a research environment, promote best practices and tools, and fight for a better reward structure and career path.
Marine Litter. Supporting The Plastic Tide in raising awareness around marine litter. Joined by Plymouth Marine Laboratory and, from Imperial College, the Ocean circulation lab. HPC lab, and Dyson lab. This later evolved into Ellipis Environmental
Missing Maps. The mission is to map the most vulnerable places in the developing world, in order that international and local NGOs and individuals can use the maps and data to facilitate first response. In particular look how drone technology can be democratised to facilitate this.
I co-organised the London Machine Learning Meetup. With over 1600 members its Europe's largest ML community and is one of London's most popular tech meetups.
For a number of years I started and organised the London Big-O Algorithms and Datastructures Meetup. A monthly meetup group that focuses on the core algorithms and datastructres that underlie all of computer science. No hand waving and no marketing speak allowed. Contributions from all fields are welcome, from geology and fluid dynamics to high frequency trading and compilers.
STEM Ambassador. For many years I have been working with schools and charities to talk about the research I have been involved in and to get students interested in STEM subjects and careers. This has consisted of lectures, lessons, interview training, workshops, as well as longer term projects such as helping students build underwater robots.
Random Hacks of Kindness is all about bringing together subject matter experts from charities and NGOs with developers and technologists. The aim being to use technology to help tackle problems related to social issues, health, education, sanitation, and international development. I have run a number of RHoK events and continue to be active in the wider Tech4Good / ICT4D space. I have a particular interest in the potential of unmanned systems in this area.
SouthREACH is a networking group I founded with a simple mission: To bring together researchers, engineers, computer scientists, and enthusiasts from in and around the University of Southampton who want to apply their expertise to help solve problems in international development and ICT4D in a sustainable way. Later merged with the Global South Forum

Other Projects

Various old coding projects.

Flying object detector. A small side project to explore recent work (at the time) in deep learning to build a real time, flying object detector.
The Taarifa Platform is an open source solution for the crowd sourced reporting and triaging of infrastructure related issues. It allows people to submit reports which can be triaged by local councils, improving public services. Taarifa was a winner at the 2011 RHoK Water Hackathon, winner at the 2012 Sanitation Hackathon, selected for presentation at Google Zeitgeist Europe 2013, and finalist at the 2014 World Mobile Congress in Barcelona. Deployed in Uganda, Ghana, and Tanzania.
Bieberscore. A small side project to learn clojure. Given an artist the code will use the Last.fm API to retrieve the top songs, scrape the lyrics and analyse them to tell you how "complex" or "informative" they are.
Coursera-dl. A small library to archive Coursera videos locally and watch them offline.
Domo was an old university project started in order to learn C++/Qt and has long served its purpose. Domo is a music organizer which indexes digital audio sources and manages metadata in a relational database. Musicbrainz support is also available for the looking up of Audio CDs or for identifying tracks based on their TRM fingerprint.

Contact

Please don't hesitate to reach out. I'm always up for a (virtual) coffee.

You can use the contact form below or email me direct, or call me at +44 7763 806 809.