After graduating from Cambridge University with a degree in Computer Science I joined the European Bioinformatics Institute, working as a relatively junior programmer. The institute focused, and focuses today, on the handling of the vast and ever increasing volumes of data from the biological science community, in particular that produced from the various genome sequencing projects. While working in what is now the sequence database group I created a set of web based tools for the in house biological data curators, in the process introducing the first applications based on Java servlet technology.
The EBI was a challenging environment to work in, requiring interaction with end users and management, particularly when introducing new concepts such as the rapid application development platform Talisman. I created Talisman to accommodate the frequent changes in curation applications - by creating a domain specific language and a web based user interface dynamically constructed from this langauge I was able to modify web based applications and deploy to the live server while the users of those applications were sat at my desk, avoiding lengthy recompilation stages and completely eliminating server downtime. This is not a particularly exciting concept in 2009, but ten years ago there was nothing quite like it available.
In 2002 I moved within the EBI to the Industry Support Programme. While I was primarily working on the recently funded myGrid project I also liased with the various pharmaceutical companies subscribed to the programme as well as a general technology advocacy role. Within myGrid I instigated, designed and implemented the Taverna scientific workflow system - this went on to become one of the most successful outputs of the UK e-Science core programme and continues to attract large numbers of users today. This also brought me into close contact with the grid and distributed computing communities, in particular those responsible for web services and related standards.
In early 2008 I left the EBI and created Cryptic Squid Ltd. as a vehicle for consultancy and other projects. Throughout my time at the EBI and with the wider myGrid consortium I was fortunate to work with a diverse range of very talented individuals, and to travel and present my work and that of the rest of my group in tens of different countries across the world. I have worked at an advanced technical level, but I have also been extensively involved in strategic planning and communication of ideas through publications and presentations. The skills and experience I have acquired in the process, both technical and managerial, are what I bring to my consultancy work.