Education and training
Educated at Manchester Grammar School and Manchester University culminating in BSc in Physics and Electronic Engineering.
Postgraduate and early work experience
Postgraduate work in the Physics department at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.
- as a Research Student using a Finite Element analysis FORTRAN program to design the support structure of a multiple-objective telescope,
- as an Experimental Officer designing Electronic Instruments in the Low Temperature Laboratory working on contact electrification (static electricity). Designed an Electrometer capable of measuring currents as low as 2 electrons/sec for use in vacuum systems.
Employed by International Computers Ltd for 18 months as a Technical Programmer.
Writing in ALGOL and ALGOL68 on a 1906 worked on development of a silicon-level Circuit Simulation system for ECL ASICS,
- Designed an advanced mathematical model for an integrated transistor.
Solved a 2nd order homogenous differential equation, the only time I really used degree level maths 'in anger'.
In the process came to a thorough understanding of what makes transistors tick.
- Worked on improving fast numerical analysis methods.
- Interfaced ICL LSI logic design system to Ferranti ASIC manufacturing process.
Wrote software, shuttled tapes between sites, supervised tests.
- As a user, diagnosed a fault on the mainframe when it developed a bit-sigificant error in the floating point unit.
In 1977 joined a contract agency and took several six-month contract Technical Programming jobs.
- In a dyestuffs works programmed a computer controlled plant scrubbing stack-gas using Kent K70 (PDP8) programmed in Assembler and Basic-like proprietary language.
Much walking around the site and some high climbs up the plant investigating malfunctioning instruments.
Exciting experiences included bursting a pipe through a programming error and escaping from a cloud of (someone else's) ammonia gas.
- Supported a pipeline drafting system on IBM370 programmed in FORTRAN.
Worked on contract for Shell Oil as Technical Author and Systems Programmer until 1982.
In the latter part of this period I worked part time while developing my engineering business.
- Wrote, edited and published in-house software manuals
- Documented extensive 'heritage' library software in FORTRAN, COBOL and ASSEMBLER.
- Worked as a senior programmer in the general software team supporting central library and operating system on UNIVAC 1100 systems.
- Designed and published File Security system to Shell group.
- Diagnosed, and took responsibility for recovery from, a parity-undetected data corrupting fault on a disk controller on Shell's international central computer network
- Wrote and tested modified disk formatting system in proprietary macro language to optimise disk usage.
- Installed, modified and tested Assembler communications software for UNIVAC - IBM link-up