What are you doing now?
I work for Adobe as a Computer Scientist, which is basically a software engineer. I work mainly on desktop software written in C++. My first project for Adobe was plugins for Photoshop and Illustrator to open files from iPad drawing applications. This was great because it resulted in a demo at Adobe MAX (Adobe’s creative conference where they announce new products). Next I worked on a research project that created a library for efficient HTTP transfers of large assets. Since then I’ve worked on a synchronisation programs that let Adobe’s customers sync their files, fonts and settings around their various desktop and mobile devices, as well as access them using Adobe web services. My work on file and font sync was also featured a few times at Adobe MAX, which was very rewarding. The most rewarding thing has been having millions of people using the software I work on. If anybody reading this is interested in working for Adobe then please email the Alumni Liaison for an introduction to Neil.
What is your favorite memory from your time doing research in Computer Science in St Andrews?
I liked travelling to conferences during my PhD. It added a bit of variety to research. I really enjoyed going to the SAT 2009 conference. Although the location in Swansea was not the most exotic, it was a great conference. There were some really good people there who I had been wanting to talk to, and speaking to them definitely helped my research along. Watching a talk by Stephen Cook (the person who first proved that Satisfiability is NP, among other things) was nice. A few years later when I was on a work night out I met him in a pub in Edinburgh, which was odd because he lives in Toronto. You never know when you might have a scientific hero in your midst if only you know who they are!
What was your favorite experience, and why?
I really enjoyed writing my PhD thesis, it was nice to know that the hard work was basically done and I was just polishing the results and presenting them as clearly as I could. While I was writing up I had a couple of other good ideas that led to papers as well. Mainly I liked that I could draw a line under my research and turn 3.5 years of hard work and stress into a nice neat printed thesis, papers and graduation. Gave me a nice sense of closure as I embarked on my industrial career.
Alumni Profile added: Feb 2016