Colin Hardy

What research are you undertaking? 

Towards comparison of large networks (graphs) using computer graphics and interaction. Aimed at exploratory analysis, i.e. gaining “insight” and “understanding” of large, complex data sets.

What is the purpose of your research?

To demonstrate that computer graphics and interaction can enable comparison of data sets that would otherwise be too large to analyse and explore.

How will this apply to real world applications? 

Software engineers need to understand how a software system has changed between subsequent versions.

Project managers need to compare various work schedules. Epidemiologists can compare social networks with networks that map the spread of contagious disease to see if they correlate (e.g. HIV/AIDS is linked with sexual relationships).

What facilities and specialist equipment do you use to help you carry out your research?

State of the art desktop computers with high-end graphics cards needed to run my software – we have whole labs of such machines so I can carry out user studies with several participants at the same time. Similarly the machine on my own desk is powerful enough to execute and develop complex, graphically intensive software.

What do you particularly enjoy about your research?

The support, space and freedom to think and try out my own ideas. The notion of becoming an expert in an international discipline. Involvement at all levels: from running graph theory tutorials with level 2 undergraduates to seminars and conferences where I can mix with people at various stages in their career who have similar interests.

Why did you choose to undertake a PhD? Why did you choose to do this at the University of Leeds?

Came to Leeds to do bachelors degree so I could get a job in IT but enjoyed an academic setting so wanted to stick around and prove myself at a high academic level. The research-led curriculum and internshipduring my BSc made transition to PhD level easier and I already knew it's a friendly, supportive school. Happy to stay in same house, some friends stayed on as well so had a ready made support network. This was especially important to me as a mature student.

What are your plans after you complete your PhD?

Postdoc research towards academic career – also interested in lecturing but possibly would like to spend some time working for large corporate such as BT or Google.