2006—2010 PhD in Space Technology, University of Dundee
Synopsis: The ExoMars rover will make heavy use of machine vision algorithms for autonomous navigation. To support the validation of these algorithms, I researched and developed a visual simulation capable of generating realistic simulated images of a Mars-like virtual environment. This is an enhancement of the University of Dundee’s PANGU planet surface simulation tool. The simulation is based on data from the planetary science literature and validated using images from the Mars Exploration Rovers. It includes models of rocks, surface reflectance, atmospheric dust, a rover vehicle and dynamically computed shadows. It provides a straightforward way for autonomy researchers to generate high-quality images for testing, and has potential to be used as a more general rover simulation visualisation tool.
2001—2002 Postgraduate Certificate in Education, University of Aberdeen
1997—2001 BSc (Hons) Computer Science, University of St. Andrews
Degree Classification: First class honours.
Prizes: Class medal and John Honey prize for Junior Honours.
Honours Project: Association Rule mining for Bioinformatics.
Modules included: A.I., Neural Networks, Computer Graphics, Databases, Programming Language Design and implementation, Networking, Theory of computation. I also took courses in Mathematics and Physics.
1992—1997 Forfar Academy
Scottish Highers: Computing, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, English, all at grade A.
Honours: School Dux, prizes for Computing, Physics and English.
2009—2010 Software Engineer, University of Dundee
Development of rover visual simulation software in C++ and Java at the Space Technology Centre.
2004—2006 Teacher of Computing Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen, UK
Teaching 12-18 year olds at a private secondary school.
2002—2004 Teacher of Computing Kincorth Academy, Aberdeen, UK
Teaching 12-18 year olds at a state secondary school.
Summer 2002 English Language Teacher, APASS, Poland
Summer job teaching English at a language camp for Polish secondary school pupils.
Summer 2001 Software Engineer, TVI Europe, Dundee, UK
Summer job developing a helpdesk database for a manufacturing company.
Summer 2000 Summer placement, Institut Laue-Langevin, France
10 week placement at an international neutron science lab. Developed software to improve the usability of the D7 neutron spectrometer.
• Programming languages: C, C++, Java, GLSL, MatLab.
• Computer graphics: OpenGL, GPU programming, real-time shadowing, Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Functions, atmosphere modelling, VRML, 3D modelling.
• Operating Systems: LINUX, Windows.
• Applications: MS Office, Blender, NuGraf.
• Experience of NASA Planetary Data System.
• Experience of Mars Exploration Rover Analyst’s notebook.
• Extensive experience of planet surface simulation using the PANGU tool.
• Planetary rover simulation.
• Vision-based autonomous navigation.
• Autonomous rendezvous.
My current research centres on the generation of realistic images for testing vision-based guidance systems in the context of planetary landers and rovers, asteroid rendezvous and spacecraft in-orbit rendezvous.
2009—2010 PANGU development for ExoMars rover
A project to develop a visual simulation tool to be used to test vision-based guidance algorithms for the ExoMars rover. I carried out the bulk of the research and development of this tool, as well as supporting users.
2007—2010 PANGU Enhancement
I carried out an extensive review of the Mars planetary science literature in order to inform the development of computer models of the Mars environment. I also carried out a proof of concept development demonstrating the potential of the PANGU tool to be used for the simulation of planetary rovers, researched and developed a high-quality dynamic shadow system and created a real-time implementation of the Hapke Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function for modelling the surface reflectance of planets.
2007—2008 Robust EDLS for ExoMars
This study aimed to develop technologies for the Entry Descent and Landing System of the ExoMars mission. I investigated the determination of the transverse velocity of a lander through the combination of the European Space Agency NPAL feature-tracking camera and a radar altimeter.
2006—2008 High-integrity Autonomous Multi-Range Rendezvous and Docking Study
This study aimed to develop a European capability for autonomous orbital rendezvous and docking. The PANGU tool was used as a scene generator to test the vision-based aspects of the rendezvous. I researched and developed new features to allow spacecraft models to be visualised realistically in the PANGU environment.
I have authored or co-authored papers at international conferences, including:
• 10th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space, 2010, Sapporo, Japan
• 4th International Conference on Astrodynamics Tools and Techniques, 2010, ESAC, Madrid, Spain
• 60th International Astronautical Congress, 2009, Daejeon, Republic of Korea
• 7th International ESA Conference on Guidance, Navigation & Control Systems, 2008, Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland
• 10th ESA Workshop on Advanced Space Technologies for Robotics and Automation, 2008, ESTEC, Noordwijk, the Netherlands
Sir James Caird Travelling Scholarship Trust (2010)
To fund attendance at the 10th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space, in Japan.
UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (2008)
To fund attendance at the 2008 Alpbach summer school on Sample Return from the Moon, Asteroids and Comets.
2008 Alpbach summer school on Sample Return from the Moon, Asteroids and Comets
A highly-regarded multi-disciplinary summer school held in Austria. It combined lectures from space engineers and scientists with a team project. I led the development of a proposal for sample return mission to the main belt comet Elst-Pizarro. We were subsequently invited to present this at the 2008 International Astronautical Congress.
PhD Transferrable skills courses
Mind mapping, statistics, speed reading, career management, intellectual property and commercialisation, academic writing, networking, negotiating and influencing.
School of Computing Student recruitment committee, University of Dundee
I organised and led the activities for a very successful competition day for visiting school children. I also participated in the planning of numerous recruitment days.
PANGU users’ web site, University of Dundee
I organised the creation of a web site for users of the PANGU software. As part of this activity I also initiated the development a demonstration version of the PANGU software for use on student projects.
Space technology short course, University of Dundee
I was heavily involved with the development, delivery, administration and evaluation of a new course on space technology taken by students on the Computing undergraduate and Remote Sensing Masters degree courses.
These include gliding, hiking, acting and singing. I am also involved in youth work through the Air Cadet Organisation, in which I currently serve as an officer of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
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