Computer System Professional with over 40 years experience in the application of technical excellence to data processing systems to the improvement of profitability, the solution of operational and technical problems, and the fulfilment of marketing requirements. Background includes:–
- Interfacing with the end-user client to determine the business requirements of proposed and existing computer systems;
- Identification of technical problems;
- Management of technical resources (personnel, equipment and systems) towards the resolution of these problems;
- Devising and executing programs of technical education;
- Analysis and reportage at a government level;
- Presenting technical information in sales situations at varying levels of technical and management involvement to enable a sales message to become a substantive reality;
- Deep technical and systems programming in a variety of languages on a wide range of equipment.
EMPLOYMENT & CONSULTANCY
February 2011-January 2015 Westheimer Energy Consultants Ltd.
Computer Software Consultant on the design and development of a sophisticated data access system focused upon oil and gas seismic data, though from the beginning designed with wider data formats in mind. This archive and access system (ISDS) is designed for storing and handling extremely large amounts of data (for example, many hundreds of petabytes, and beyond), each unit of which might itself be very large (for example, hundreds of terabytes). This system permits large cross-sections of data to be flexibly accessed, and allowing complex subsets of the base data to be recovered without having to retrieve and sift through large quantities of the original saved data.
The initial design of ISDS suggested using the StorHouse system, but was extended to allow additional database systems to be used. One development path followed was the use of Oracle, resulting in the enlargement of ISDS, and increasing its flexibility.
ISDS is designed to permit data access of 2D, 3D and 4D cross-sections, without being limited to just these. ISDS allows data to be recovered from skew and irregular shapes, not related to the original geometry of the data origin. ISDS also allows data to be accessed, in a single query, which comes from more than one base survey. There is no limitation within ISDS on the degree of prior filtering of the data being presented – raw, pre-stack, post-stack, multiplexed or demultiplexed.
April 2007-May 2009 Misys plc.
Senior Technical Author, responsible, within a team, for producing several layers of both user and overview documentation for some highly technical systems, during their development phase. This involved cooperation with colleagues in several different countries (Ireland, India, Germany, USA, UK) to determine the exact technical contents of the systems, and the planning and production of the documentation, using techniques that permit coordination of various documentation forms, with re-use of the documentation material.
The systems being documented were being developed in Java, xml and C++, using the Eclipse engine. The management technique for some of these developments is Agile, with its continually rapid and flexible refocusing of tactical aims within the strategic overall plan. The method of documentation production has to be able to follow these changes of direction, and be sufficiently flexible to adapt to the addition and removal of fundamental system features. The documentation management tool being currently used is AuthorIT.
Consultancy contracts performed by idkk Consultancy Ltd.:
November 1999-January 2007 uc.com Consulting Ltd / FileTek UK Ltd.
Technical head of a team which designed and wrote the interface software for the world’s largest relational database, requiring security clearance for an MoD site. This is the MASS archive system at the Meteorological Office, firstly at Bracknell, then at Exeter. The MASS system archives data from several different operating environments – Cray, NEC, IBM MVS, HP/UX and Windows NT, with extensions to other Linux systems under consideration. Data archived from one environment may be restored to another (with all the implications this has for number formats, and character sets, etc.). The controlling software (called mouse – Meteorological Office Unified Storage Environment) was written in highly portable and standard ANSI C, and Unix scripting, and was designed to be extremely robust, and able to cope with many peta-bytes of data simultaneously.
The archive system itself is the StorHouse system (produced by FileTek Inc.), which uses a Sun Solaris attached to a Powder Horn tape library and robot. This is yet a fifth operating system added to the mix (and from which the mouse central scheduling is performed). The StorHouse system is unique in its approach to archiving and managing very large amounts of data, and has no real upper limit to its capacity. The MASS system has been loaded with several petabytes within its first eight years. By August 2006 there was already over a petabyte of data in the system, with more than 850 terabytes of that being directly managed by mouse.
The work included liaising both with the user and with the primary systems supplier, analysing technical requirements, producing coherent technical designs that both matched those requirements and also left room for future expansion – even though the directions of expansion were not yet known, managing a team of experienced technicians who produced the software, overseeing the documentation and ensuring that milestones were met without compromise in quality.
The mouse system has subsequently been rewritten and extended, to cover new requirements, and to take advantage of what was learned from the initial use of the system. The extended system (mouse 2) uses high-availability clustering, more efficient data-caching techniques, more advanced C++ and Java, and is intended to allow the archive/retrieval to be available from even more systems.
The user in this project is not just one user, but several theoretical meteorological and analytic teams, each of which has its own viewpoint, and differing technical needs. Each of the base operating environments has its own “sub-culture”, and balancing the wishes and perceptions of each of these groups of users is a political, as well as a technical, job.
The technical side of the job required expertise in systems design, man management, quality C programming, integration across differing operating systems, database design, and the production of quality documentation at all levels.
Languages and systems on this project: C, C++, SQL, Java, Fortran, Unix shell scripts (C shell, Borne shell, ksh, bash), MVS JCL, StorHouse control, Sun Solaris, HP/UX, Windows (NT, XP, etc.), Cray, NEC, HTML, Linux.
Web References: Met.Office: http://www.meto.gov.uk/
FileTek and StorHouse: http://www.filetek.com/
August 1999-October 1999 Eurobase Systems Ltd
Technical analysis and systems updating on Eurobase’s Client-Server system, which is sold specifically into the insurance market, which involves C++ and embedded Oracle SQL. The Eurobase systems (including “Synergy”) use Windows NT Client stations, and Unix Servers. The Unix varieties currently supported are Dynix (Sequent), AIX (IBM) and HP/UX (Hewlett Packard).
June 1998-June 1999 DST International Ltd
Technical consultant and developer on systems involving DST’s system AWD (Automated Workflow Distribution), which involved work at several of DST’s clients, including Centraal Beheer (Holland), NatWest, Barclays, Prime Health, EFDS and (for about six months) Legal & General. Added client-specific system components written in C and C++, running under various operating systems, including Unix (HP/UX, DEC and SCO), Windows (NT and 95), OS/2, and IBM’s MVS. These new components also involved MVS JCL, Unix control shell scripts and SQL scripts. The AWD system uses (largely) the Oracle database, and at Legal & General, within the FPF system, it is interfaced with a large number of other, different operating environments, including VMS and CICS. AWD systems are Client/Server, and are connected by a variety of different connection protocols, including Ethernet, Novell, Token Ring and Microsoft Networking.
Was involved in the correction of problems discovered by clients in parts of the (rather complex) AWD system, which involved analysing the origin of the problems, correcting the source code or control files, testing the corrections, implementing the updates at the client site without interference with their production running, and documenting the altered systems.
Because of the complexity of the AWD system, several C/C++ compilers are used: MSVC 1.5 (16-bit), MSVC 2.0 (32-bit, Server code), MSVC 4.0 and above (32-bit, Client code), Visual Age under Windows (OS/2 code ported to NT), Visual Age under OS/2 and C/Set under OS/2. One of the requirements of development is to produce code compatible across all of these environments.
April 1998-May 1998 Ç-Dilla Ltd
Was involved in the production of (a) conversion tools, for the automatic modification of Windows-based software, and (b) advisory reports, indicating the scope of the translation problems and their solution. The Ç-Dilla systems are written in C++ and PC Assembler language, and are primarily aimed at the Windows 3.xx, Windows 95/98 and Windows NT systems.
April 1997-March 1998 The Dodge Group
Senior Technical Manager, responsible for the conversion of an intricate software system from an “English language” only environment to one capable of producing messages – and handling data – in Japanese. This software is written in Oracle and Sybase SQL, C, C++ and Visual Basic, and runs on a variety of Unix platforms, as well as the client front-end on PCs (under Windows NT, 95 and 3.1). The Dodge software deals with banking and accounting, and is installed in several countries, including the UK, USA, France, Hong Kong, South Africa and Japan.
Also involved in planning the technical parts of future development projects, prior to their being undertaken by the development teams.
October 1995-March 1997 Cedardata plc.
Systems Programmer, involving work with both in-house and client Unix and VAX/VMS systems, and Y2K verification. The software produced by Cedardata uses Oracle, and is written in both the Oracle languages (SQL, Pro*C, Designer/2000), and in C, as well as being supported by substantial scripts in the Unix shell languages (for the “make” process). Responsible for the production of the software for both building and installing the latest GUI version of the cfacs system, as well as evaluating enhancements to, and fixing problems on the internal LAN (Ethernet and TCP/IP).
1987-1999 LaserPrint Services Ltd.
In a consultancy rôle, which it was possible to overlap with other projects, responsible for the design, production and support of the ROLO (XPFC) laser-printer support package, which operates under IBM MVS/JES2, Unix and Windows NT. This involved the design and production of software written in IBM Assembler language, and in C, suitable for easy transfer between many different versions of the Unix system. User documentation, training and support for users in several countries were undertaken. More detailed information about this (rather complex) software system may be obtained from the web site http://www.xpfc.com/.
Experience prior to idkk Consultancy Ltd.
1983-1995 GSI (UK) Ltd.
Technical Services Manager (and later, Head of Research and Development) firstly in the UK, then in Paris. The work involved both the management and production of complete systems as well as systems programming under both VM and MVS on GSI’s international network of IBM (and IBM-clone) machines. Some of the design and development work was carried out on Unix systems (SCO, AIX, Sun and HP), as well as on networked PCs. During the twelve and a half years with GSI the programming languages used included: Cobol, Fortran, MVS JCL, C, VM control, REXX, Pascal, Basic, IBM Assembler, MS/DOS control, PL/I and formal notations for language description. In addition, a great deal of French was spoken (especially during the 18-month secondment to Paris).
Was involved in the updating, and correcting for Y2K, of the internal machine accounting system for the MVS mainframes – a suite of PL/I and Assembler programs which take the SMF records generated both by IBM’s own software and by GSI’s enhancements to MVS.
(Note that subsequent to my employment there, GSI was bought by ADP, and now exists as a part of that company).
1980-1983 Quantime Ltd.
Programming Manager of a company specialising in the production of computer software for market research. Responsible for identifying, designing, resourcing and managing the production of software to support Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI). This job also involved liaison with prospects during the initial selling, and support of the customers thereafter – a substantial amount of this being overseas. During the development phase of this software, responsible for a team of eight (including a technical author). These very successful software systems were implemented in Fortran, Assembler and ‘C’ on Prime, VAX, Perkin-Elmer and various micro-computers. Operating systems included Primos, CP/M and Unix.
1975-1980 Solvfield Ltd.
Director of a private company providing consultancy and technical support to users during software conversion. Responsible for identification of problems arising from language and machine incompatibilities; for client education, the design and construction of compilers for translating automatically between high-level languages (using our own, very sophisticated compiler-compiler), and reporting at all levels in the terms appropriate to those levels.
Researched for, and wrote a very substantial report for the Commission of the European Communities on software conversion tools and aids, as part of the large three-part “Studies in Software Portability”. This involved interaction with colleagues in France and Germany to obtain a broad European picture by interview, questionnaire, literature search, and commercial analysis.
1972-1975 Advanced Information Access Ltd.
Chief Analyst, reporting directly to the board, responsible for the design and initial implementation of a multi-user real-time operating system. Tasks included the specification of job-descriptions and the selection of requisite personnel, technical design of the operating system and its interfaces, the evaluation and selection of hardware, the design and implementation of user languages, and the day-to-day management at a technical level of the writing, integrating and testing of what became the ADAM system – the first micro-computer system to support PL/I.
1969-1972 Olympic Computer Services Ltd.
Technical Support Analyst, firstly with Computime Ltd., and then (after the dissolution of that company) with OCSL, which was set up by a selection of the technical staff of Computime. Responsibilities included answering clients’ technical queries, systems programming for the various IBM OS/370 systems, with the maintenance of user interfaces on a range of machines. Also involved were user education, program realisation, and considerations of operational efficiency.
Systems Programmer with the Central Electricity Generating Board. Responsibilities included the running of a technical advice “clinic” for more than 150 programmers, the provision of support software in providing clean user interfaces, and the measurement of system usage and performance statistics. Extensive use was made of training courses, including OS Internals.
1963-1966 University College, London
Read for and obtained a B.Sc. (Honours) degree in Mathematics, after a course which included as specialist subjects Numerical Analysis, Computing and Mathematical Logic. Was a “Generating Board Scholar”, receiving a grant from the CEGB awarded after competitive interview.
1956-1963 Sloane Grammar School, Chelsea
S-Level: Pure Maths.
A-Level: Pure Maths., Applied Maths., Physics, Chemistry
O-Level: Maths., Physics, Chemistry, French, Latin, Music, English Language, English Literature
Member of The British Computer Society, and was (for seventeen years) Chairman of its Natural Language Translation Specialist Group
Associate Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications
1977 “PROTRAN – A generalized translation tool for natural and algorithmic languages”, in Overcoming the Language Barrier, Verlag Dokumentation, Munich. Proceedings of the third European Congress on Information Systems and Networks, EEC. ISBN 3-7940-5184-X.
1979 “PROTRAN – An Introductory Description of a General Translator”, in Practice in Software Adaption and Maintenance, Proceedings of the SAM workshop, Berlin, April 1979. North-Holland Publishing, 1980, ISBN 0-444-86449-5.
1982 “Translation by computer of open-ended responses” in Proceedings of the 35th annual ESOMAR congress, Vienna, 1982. European Society for Opinion and Market Research, Amsterdam, 1982. ISBN 92-831-0082-4
1987 Computer Translation of Natural Language (with W. Goshawke and J. D. Wigg). Sigma Press, Wilmslow. ISBN 1-85058-056-1
Progress in Machine Translation – Natural Language and Personal Computers. Sigma Press, Wilmslow. ISBN 1-85058-156-8
- C Unleashed (with Richard Heathfield, Gus Miklos et al.), MacMillan Publishing, USA. ISBN 0-672-31896-2. Three chapters on Arbitrary Precision Arithmetic, Compiling Arithmetic Expressions and Natural Language Processing.
2002 A Lad in Knaphill & his Magic Lamp, Agrintha Books, Exeter. Pantomime script.
2005 Cinderella and her Bearded Sisters, Agrintha Books, Exeter. Pantomime script.
2007 Emerald Pie, Agrintha Books, Exeter, ISBN 978-0-9553399-1-2. A comic novel for children, originally written in 1981.
2007 The Carpenter’s Carpet, Agrintha Books, Exeter, ISBN 978-0-95533-993-6. A set of short teaching stories for children, drawn from the old traditions and religions of the world.
Date of Birth: 22nd April 1945
Marital Status: Married, with two children (and two grandchildren).
Other: Speaks very competent French.
Has a deep interest in music, playing the piano, church organ, violin and recorders. For several years conducted a ladies choir – as well as the Met Office choir. Reads a great deal: philosophy, linguistics, poetry, science-fiction, law, fairy-stories, general science and comparative religion – indeed, almost anything to hand – as well as considerable technical updating.
Has the ambition, one day, to learn more languages and more about linguistics, and is currently studying both Sanskrit and Farsi. Already has a smattering of Russian and Italian, together with extremely rudimentary (reading) Spanish – but can explain computers only in English and French!
Fully fluent in the following computer languages: Pascal, C, Cobol, Fortran, IBM Assembler, MVS JCL, PL/I and the various Unix shell script languages, as well as make and awk.
In addition (although a little rusty on these, their not having been used for some time): Algol 60, Algol 68, basic, RPG, PLAN and Lisp.
Has made technical study of HTML (for the Internet), TCP/IP and Ethernet, as well as the various techniques for interconnecting PCs in Local Area Networks.
Is fully competent in the use of various tools widely used on PCs and networks (e.g. Word, Open Office, Windows (3.1, 95, NT, 2000, XP, 7, etc.), Excel, Visual C++, Powerpoint, Mac OS X, Linux), the Internet (active site at http://www.idkk.com/) and of e-mail systems (with active account attached to web site [email@example.com]).