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Dr John Pelan
Sainsbury Wellcome Centre
46 Cleveland Street
  • Head of Scientific Computing
  • The Sainsbury Wellcome Centre
  • Faculty of Life Sciences

 I currently hold the following positions:
  • BCS Fortran Specialist Group - Chair
  • Liaison to IOP Computational Physics Group

Research Summary

I have always enjoyed programming, particularly at low-level (assembly language), and interfacing hardware with the external world or with other hardware. My first programming publication dealt with interfacing an external temperature sensor module to a Commodore C64.

For my undergraduate dissertation, I looked at the hardware implementation of a multilayer perceptron device for distinguishing between spectral colour distributions using non-calibrated filters. This was intentionally analogous to an electronic nose but using CdS cells instead of  gas sensors as it was significantly easier to work with light than odours. It could learn to distinguish between cereal boxes based on their colour spectra using supervised training.

My master's publication concentrated on the hand-coding of some BLAS subroutines in i860 assembly language to extract maximum performance from that Intel CPU (in the wider context of a Meiko Computing Surface).

I started my formal research career working with the Iron Project.  This was an an international collaboration of atomic physicists and astrophysicists. It had the aim of developing and applying new methods in theoretical physics to the calculation of accurate, large-scale atomic data for radiative and collisional processes for astrophysically important elements. This involved, amongst other things, developing, optimising and curating Fortran code and running it on HPC platforms.
My PhD substantially overlapped with this activity.

I then jumped ship from academic research into academic support,  into the procurement, deployment and management of HPC systems, particularly systems based on Linux or other POSIX environments.

Teaching Summary

I used to teach at master's level:
  • Introduction to Computing
  • Motion in Gravitational Fields (Numerical solution of PDEs)

Academic Background
2010   Master of Laws University of London
1997   Doctor of Philosophy Queen's University of Belfast
1992   Master of Science Queen's University of Belfast
1991   Bachelor of Science (Honours) Dublin City University
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