Centre embraces exciting future as it joins the Department of Engineering Science

Move will ensure future sustainability and growth of Centre, says outgoing Director Professor David De Roure [on handing over leadership of the Centre to Dr Wes Armour]

The Oxford e-Research Centre is pleased to announce its integration with the Department of Engineering Science from 1st August 2017.

The move follows 11 successful years for the Oxford e-Research Centre as a multidisciplinary applied research department, developing and applying innovative computational and information technology in both academic research and industrial applications. The move will bring a number of benefits to both sides, including access to a wider range of collaborators and stakeholders, greater efficiency and economies of scale, and further opportunities to utilise the Centre’s expertise in digital methods, which enables its researchers to work across traditional academic boundaries.

Having overseen the Centre’s development into a successful hub for interdisciplinary collaborations within and outside the University, Director Professor David De Roure is handing over leadership of the Centre to Dr Wes Armour on 31st July at the end of his term. De Roure says: 'I have thoroughly enjoyed leading the Centre over the past five years and feel confident that integration with the Department of Engineering Science will ensure the future sustainability of the Centre and its projects. It will also provide more opportunities for Centre staff to engage with and teach students, further our public engagement activities and broaden our existing links with industry'.

Dr ArmourDr Armour adds: 'I look forward to building on our existing relationships with collaborators not only in Oxford but nationally and internationally also. The transition of the e-Research Centre into Engineering Science, with whom we have natural synergies, including our work in Data Science, will allow us to expand existing research themes and initiate new areas of research. I believe these synergies will give us the opportunity to form collaborations harnessing our different areas of expertise and knowledge, with the aim of delivering new and exciting projects with societal impact, enhancing people’s day to day lives'.

The Department of Engineering Science is continuing to grow and consolidate its position as the leading Engineering department in Europe (and top 3 in the World). This year, self-driving vehicles equipped with autonomy software developed in the Department’s Mobile Robotics Group (now the Oxford Robotics Institute) were successfully tested in public for the first time in the UK. The department has also raised the first £5M in funding for a new Information Engineering building to accommodate the growth of its research activities in robotics, machine learning and computer vision.

The Centre and the Engineering Science department are already utilising their different but complementary skills and expertise on some of the same research projects. The 15cBOOKTRADE Project uses material and documentary evidence from the thousands of surviving books from 1450-1500, to address fundamental questions relating to the introduction of printing in the West. The Centre has been involved with the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages project since its launch last year, advising on and applying visualisation techniques to book data to track their distribution and use, under the direction of Professor Min Chen. The Department of Engineering Science’s Visual Geometry Group, under Professor Andrew Zisserman and Yujie Zhong, are working with the project team on image-matching and image-annotation software to enable visual searches of illustrations of the 15th Century.

Professor Lionel TarassenkoProfessor Lionel Tarassenko, Head of the Department of Engineering Science, says of the move: 'We are a collegial and multi-disciplinary Department, with no boundaries between the different engineering disciplines. Information Engineering, which started in the Department in 1985, now underpins many of our activities. The global need for information engineering is a direct reflection of our desire to acquire knowledge and improve our lives.

Information Engineering is now having an impact not just on the rest of the Department, but is also reaching out to other domains. For example, the Oxford-Man Institute (OMI) in Quantitative Finance, a world-leading centre for interdisciplinary research with a particular focus on machine learning, became part of the Department a year ago. This year, we are delighted to welcome the Oxford e-Research Centre, which will bring new multi-disciplinary research into the Department. We are looking forward to working closely together with our new colleagues in the OeRC across multiple domains in information engineering and data science. This will happen at several levels, from post-doctoral research to final-year undergraduate projects, and we are very excited about the new opportunities that this move provides for Oxford to maintain its position at the leading edge of e-Research.'

Dr Armour – biography

Dr Wes Armour leads the Scientific Computing group at Oxford e-Research Centre, which currently has 10 members with recruitment for a further 3 underway. His grant portfolio spans a range of different funders (STFC, EPSRC, ERC and Leverhulme) which reflects the interdisciplinary projects that the Group is involved with.

Research interests are strongly focused in Scientific Computing, specifically the use of HPC and Many-Core technologies to answer scientific problems or to have impact in people’s day-to-day lives. Topics of work are centred on modelling and simulation, Digital Signal Processing (DSP), HPC/many-core and real-time computing for Big Data / Data Science.

Dr Armour joined the University of Oxford in 2011, accepting a James Martin fellowship to work with Professors Mike Giles and Anne Trefethen on the application of Many-Core technologies in radio-astronomy. In 2013 he became a senior researcher in Scientific Computing at the Oxford e-Research Centre, followed by Associate Director for Scientific Computing in 2014.

For more information about the Oxford e-Research Centre (OeRC), please visit their website.

 Published on 01 August 2016