School in Huddersfield, University in Liverpool
10 GCSEs, 4 A-Levels, a BSc degree in Computer Information Systems and a PhD in Computer Science
Waitress at a hotel and a pub, sandwich maker, part of a team running a campsite, university lecturer, university professor
Professor of Computer Science and Dean of the School of Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Computer Science
University of Liverpool
I'm a Professor of Computer Science, specialising in AI and Law
I have the pleasure of living in and working in Liverpool. I conduct research on exciting topics within AI at the University of Liverpool.
As well as working with a great research team, I get to watch the best football team in the world play and parade their trophies around the city – most of my family are huge LFC fans.
My work involves reading a lot of scientific articles, but I also like reading a wide range of books as part of a book club I attend.
My house is full of board games that I enjoy playing with my children and I also enjoy playing pool.
How I Use Maths In My Job:
My research in AI and Law makes use of maths to capture legal reasoning in mathematical language that can be turned into a software programme. This involves using alegbra to model legal reasoning, particularly using graphs. We run algorithms on the graphs to reach conclusions about legal cases.
I am developing AI to help judges and lawyers.
My job involves two roles: a management role and a role as a professor.
As a manager, I am responsible for overseeing the direction and running of two departments, computer science and electrical engineering. This work involves deciding what we teach, recruting students and running up research labs to enable staff to carry out their scientific research.
As a professor, I read about new scientific results, work on experiments to model legal reasoning using AI, write reports on the results, present new results at conferences, supervise PhD students, work with law firms to help them start to use AI and apply for funding from the government to work on new research ideas. I am also involved in teaching activities where I deliver lectures to large classes of students and supervise students working on their own projects as part of their degree studies.
My Typical Day
Usually involves: meetings, processing lots of emails, teaching students, reading, writing research papers and coffee... lots of coffee!
I start the day by processing a batch of the large number of emails I receive, then I usually have a few hours of meetings. These can be on a wide range of topics: strategy and planning meetings related to my role as Dean of Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Computer Science; or teaching meetings where I give guidance to students on AI projects they are working on; or research meetings where I meet with colleagues, PhD students and collaborators to talk about our ongoing research investigations.
If it’s a really exciting week, I might be attending a conference in another country to present new research results or visiting one of the law firms I work with on using our research in their company.
When I come home, I make sure my children get ferried around to their evening activities: football/swimming/karate/cubs.
The CHRISTMAS LECTURE related to my work:
Lecture 3: How can we all win at 23:00
My favourite CHRISTMAS LECTURES memory is:
Seeing my children enjoy the Christmas Lectures for the first time, as I have done for years.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Enthusiastic, adventurous, driven.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
Lecturers who taught me at university.
What's your favourite use for maths in everyday life?
Discussing with my children the maths associated with solving a Rubik's cube.
What did you think about Maths when you were in school?
I struggled to see how complex maths related to the real world.
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Handing in history homework was a weakness I got in trouble for!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Journalism, though I did always fancy seeing if my teenage years playing darts could get me to a competitive level.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s I loved The Bangles and The Stone Roses. Nowadays I love listening to my cousin, 'The Little Unsaid'.
What's your favourite food?
Spaghetti bolognese (my vegetarian version).
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Scuba diving in the Indian Ocean and a manta ray swam over my head.
Tell us a joke.
Why was the robot angry? Because people kept pushing its buttons.