What I do

I’m a scientist, researcher, software developer, and sometimes film-maker, guitarist, photographer and artist. I live in the people’s republic of Sheffield in the UK, a green city of hills and rivers and surprising things.

My main job is within the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Sheffield, where I work on quantum computing with very smart people including Earl Campbell, Yingkai Ouyang, and Joschka Roffe. We’re working on quantum chemistry simulation (which may lead to a new wave of drug discovery and advances in material science) and quantum error correction (an essential ingredient in the recipe for a truly general quantum computer). My current post ends in December 2019, so I’ll be looking for work should you be hiring nerds within or without academia.

I spend the second half of my week at the excellent Sheffield Tech Parks as part of the Cooper Project, which is a scheme to help aspiring entrepreneurs develop their ideas into businesses. Sheffield has a good tech and startup scene, and there are some very exciting startups growing here.

The third half of my week is mostly spent consuming as many books, films, art exhibitions and hillwalks as possible, whilst also keeping up my membership of Sheffield’s stellar pub scene (in particular, see The Rutty).

What I’ve Done

My academic background is in Computer Science and particularly AI and software engineering. Until earlier this year I was working in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Sheffield. I try to spend a day a week in the department to keep in touch with the great people there, including my PhD supervisor Professor John A. Clark , quantum person George O. O’Brien, and many others in security, software engineering, and AI.

I’ve worked as a nerd in industry in the distant past, and have occasionally developed commercial software in recent years too. In particular, I’ve worked with New Space companies on satellite tech, and right now I’m also building engineering tools for that sector.

Over the last decade I’ve done a lot of film-making, inexplicably becoming typecast as an Assistant Director, although I’ve done a fair bit of writing, sound, and even some acting (under duress). Before that I studied dark room photography, although nowadays it’s all digital.

I’ve also been involved in making art installations with a few artists, most notably on The Democracy Machine – which has gone through two incarnations, one of which emigrated to a gallery in Germany in 2018. I’m very interested in how tech can transform art and how art can transform tech. If you’re an artist in Sheffield and you’re interested in collaborating please drop me an email.

I’ve been playing guitar and writing songs for a very long time without any noticeable improvement, a hobby that is probably best kept between me and a few unfortunate neighbours.

Where’s the rest of your website, David?

I’m currently (October 2019) rewriting my website. If you’re missing academic papers, blog posts, or other resources please get in touch. They will return.