Introduction to my Work

Decision Support

Data center Energy-efficiency

Cloud computing

Dependable computing

Demographic simulation

I have been an active Computer Scientist since the year 2000, publishing over 50 internationally peer-reviewed papers and articles and gaining my PhD in 2006. My research spans a wide range of topics within the Distributed Systems domain, with an emphasis on Big Data Analytics, Cloud Computing, Decision Support, Energy-efficient Computing, and Dependability. As of 2015, I am a University Academic Fellow, have been Team Leader of the Distributed Systems and Services Group (under the overall management of Prof. Jie Xu) at the University of Leeds since 2004, and have been lead researcher on numerous successful research projects. I have also led (and continue to lead) several UK-China research collaborations including the highly-successful COLAB project, and have developed strong links with the Chinese Computer Science community.

I have worked in the Decision Support field for over 7 years, and currently work as Lead Software Architect and Investigator on the E3DC project - a commercial proof-of-concept project that aims to develop the data centre analytics technologies created by my students and myself at the University of Leeds into production technology for a new start-up company. Prior to this, I worked as lead architect on the Technology Strategy Board funded STRAPP project, working with Rolls Royce Plc. and Cybula Ltd. to develop state-of-the-art provenance support for their decision support systems. This involves writing software to integrate with and enhance Rolls-Royce's Equipment Health Management (EHM) system (for their aircraft engine monitoring systems), and Cybula's Brain Injury Index (BII) system (to provide decision support to neurologists). I have also worked on developing web portal based decision support systems for the ESRC funded MOSES and GENESIS projects, which aimed to allow local government and businesses to track and predict demographic changes in defined regions of the UK; this involved developing responsive visualisation systems, integrating the decision support system with back-end cloud-based processing, and developing a cloud-based storage system for end users. My work on this project received a Best Paper award at the UK e-Science All Hands Meeting, beating over 100 other submissions.

I have been involved in research into Energy-Efficient Cloud Datacenters for the last 3 years; this has involved coordinating work undertaken by my PhD students and members of the Leeds DSS group to produce state-of-the-art energy-efficient scheduling algorithms for Cloud datacenters, giving talks at industry conferences and meetings to raise awareness of the role that software can play in improving energy efficiency, and working with the School of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds to develop cross-disciplinary Data Center courses and establish links with local Data Centers. Our work on energy-efficient scheduling has won international acclaim, most recently in the form of a Best Paper award at the 7th IEEE International Symposium on Service-Oriented System Engineering, in Santa Clara, USA.

My work in Cloud Computing has been on-going since the year 2003 (when it was generally known as "Grid Computing"), and has spanned a wide variety of projects. This began with the "e-Demand" project at the University of Durham, funded by the EPSRC and the (then) DTI, which aimed to develop technology to facilitate coordinated resource sharing in dynamic, multi-institutional environments. I was responsible for designing and developing software to enable fault-tolerance in such systems (the ability to tolerate system faults and continue to provide correct service in their presence). I was heavily involved in the UK's "e-Science" core programme (a $400 million programme funded by the UK Research Councils), attending every UK e-Science conference and several international Open Grid Forum events, and most recently edited a special issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society - the world's first science journal - on the subject. I am an active and long-standing member of the White Rose Grid e-Science Centre, and was formerly a member of the North East Regional e-Science Centre (NEReSC). I have supervised several PhD students who have focussed on Cloud Computing security and dependability, and I lead the international team who developed the "CROWN-C" distributed Grid middleware system that was featured in a 9 page article in IEEE Computer Magazine.

My research into the subject of Software Dependability has also been a strong theme throughout my career. In addition to the fault-tolerance work I performed as part of the e-Demand project (see above), I completed my PhD thesis in 2006 on the subject of "Topology-Aware Fault-Tolerance in Grids". This thesis identified, for the first time, the "Common Service Problem" that can potentially hinder the application of fault-tolerant algorithms to service-based systems, and developed a solution using data provenance. I also obtained a MSc. by Research in the area of Fault-Injection testing, and authored a number of papers investigating the cost of n-channel fault-tolerant systems. My Dependability research is on-going, and has featured in my work for Rolls-Royce on the STRAPP project, as well as work my current PhD students are involved with; recently, this won a Best Paper award at the IEEE ISORC 2012 Conference in Shenzhen, China.

In addition to the research themes described above, I also lecture several postgraduate classes, chair weekly DSS Group meetings, write grant proposals, and supervise five PhD students. I have served as a committee member for many national and international conferences, and information about this can be found on the "Committees" section of this website. Information about recent major projects can be found on the "Projects" page. Finally, Contact information is available under the "Personal" section of the site.

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