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Dr Ahmed Al-Refaie
Dr Ahmed Al-Refaie profile picture
  • Scientific System Analyst (Centre for Space Exoplanet Data)
  • Dept of Physics & Astronomy
  • Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

Dr Ahmed Faris Al-Refaie is the Head of Numerical Methods at the UCL Centre for Space Exochemistry Data at Harwell. His expertise is in developing high-performance, parallel scientific software.

Completing a PhD in Computational Molecular Dynamics at the UCL ExoMol group in 2016, he developed the cutting-edge GAIN-MPI code that exploited Nvidia GPUs and parallel computing to accelerate molecular dynamics by 1000x. His thesis won 2nd Place at the IOP 2017 Computational Physics Group Thesis Prize.

His first postdoctoral role at UCL (2017) saw him develop a novel parallel molecular electron collision code, MPI-SCATCI scaling to 1000s of cores and significantly reducing runtime within the UKRMOL+ software suite.

Ahmed's next role was in the CFEL-CMI group at DESY (2017), developing data-acquisition software for their labs. His CMIDAQ software, a modular suite of codes, could interface with various lab hardware (cameras, digitisers, pulse generators, valves etc.) across multiple computers over the network and collate them to a centralised node with an extendible user interface. CMIDAQ has seen use in experiments at the PETRA-III and FLASH accelerators. He has also developed the PymePix software, the first python library for the state-of-the-art Timepix3 camera performing acquisition and centroiding at 100 Hz.

In his current role as Head of Numerical Methods at CSED (2019), Ahmed developed the TauREx3 code for atmospheric exoplanet retrievals. The code has seen widespread use having over 40,000 downloads and over 40+ publications, and has been the main code of service for almost 75% of new exoplanet PhDs across the field. Dr Al-Refaie has authored/co-authored over 50 research publications.

Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary
Dr Al-Refaie has been working an the forefront of exoplanet atmosphere research.
Teaching Summary
Taught Short Courses

  • Advanced Python (2022)
    • Lecturer and course designer
    • 1 week
    • Hybrid in-person and over Zoom
    • Live coding sessions
  • C++ Graduate Programming Course (2016)
    • Lecturer
    • 1 week
    • In-person
  • C++ Graduate Programming Course (2015)
    • Lecturer
    • 1 week
    • In-person
  • C++ Graduate Programming Course (2014)
    • Assistant
    • 1 week
    • In-person


  • Max Hipperson - (PhD) Secondary supervisor

15-APR-2019 Head of Numerical Methods Physics and Astronomy UCL, United Kingdom
01-OCT-2017 – 01-APR-2019 Postdoctoral Researcher CFEL CMI DESY, Germany
01-SEP-2016 – 01-AUG-2017 Postdoctoral Researcher Physics and Astronomy UCL, United Kingdom
Academic Background
  MSc Astrophysics – Astrophysics Queen Mary University of London
  BSc Hons Mathematics and Physics – Applied physics,Dynamics,Fluid mechanics,Mathematical & theoretical physics,Mathematical methods,Mathematics,Physics,Quantum mechanics,Radiation physics,Thermodynamics Queen Mary University of London
  PhD Molecular Dynamics University College London
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