Senior Lecturer in Computing Science, Cardiff Metropolitan University
Optimisation, programming language design and implementation, high performance computing, knowledge representation and reasoning. More broadly: science and innovation policy, computer science education.
Tom's research interests lie at the hardware/software interface (and the performance of each): compilers, code optimisation, next-generation microprocessors, high performance computing. He is also interested in novel applications of intelligent systems, declarative problem solving, knowledge representation and reasoning.
His PhD research at the University of Bath (funded by an EPSRC DTA) developed a practical framework for superoptimisation: generating provably optimal code sequences using logic programming. Code optimisation in modern compilers is an accepted misnomer for performance improvement some of the time. The code that compilers generate is often significantly improved, but it is unlikely to produce optimal sequences of instructions; and if it does, is not possible to determine that they are indeed optimal. Superoptimisation is a novel approach to generating optimal code that performs searches over the space of all possible instructions. Rather than starting with naively generated code and improving it, a superoptimiser starts with the specification of a function and performs a directed search for the optimal sequence of instructions that fulfils this specification.
Tom is a member of HiPEAC, the European Network of Excellence on High Performance and Embedded Architectures and Compilation, and is currently collaborating with Microsoft Research Cambridge and HP Bristol on applications of superoptimisation. He is also working with Cardiff University on formal methods for analysing and brokering computational resources in cloud environments.
Alongside his research, Tom is a passionate advocate for computing science: he sits on the Board of Directors of the Campaign for Science & Engineering, the leading independent advocate for science and engineering in the UK, as well as the National Assembly for Wales Cross-Party Group on Science & Technology. He is also the Chair in Wales of Computing At School (CAS) and a Trustee of The BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and has recently chaired the Welsh Government’s review of the ICT curriculum.