I obtained my Bachelor of Science, with a double major in physics and computer science, from The University of Western Australia. Studying at UWA taught me many practical skills, but I hold the analytical skills and problem solving abilities that my degree gave to be most important. Physics uses the rigour of mathematics to describe our universe. I learnt to apply mathematical tools to model and analyse many different systems. Computer science is concerned not only with the logical and mathematical analysis of how computers solve problems, but also with using computers to model a wide variety of systems. Studying computer science taught me to describe and explore the dynamics of complex systems using simple yet powerful computational intelligence methods.
For my honours thesis at UWA, entitled 'Fast Selection of Head Related Transfer Functions Through Perceptual Trials', I investigated the feasibility of an algorithm that quickle selects personalised filters for 'out of your head' spatial audio synthesis through a simple 'listen and point' calibration process. The technology would allow startlingly realistic audio to be incorporated into consumer products such as virtual reality headsets, enabling a new level of presence and immersion. Through my research, I gained hands on experience with the academic process and the scientific method, invaluable tools which empower researchers to develop solutions to the world's most important issues.
My first job was a paper route. For two years I saved almost every cent, until I finally had enough to build my first new computer. It taught me to always explore a variety of methods before settling on the one which maximises efficiency. I timed various delivery strategies before finding that zig-zagging down each street, delivering to both sides simultaneously, was the fastest way to get the job done.
It wasn't easy keeping up with the endless stream of orders and dirty dishes that came into the kitchen on busy Friday and Saturday nights, but somehow I always managed. I probably owe part of my success to caffeine, as the ladies at the bar would shout me a can of soft drink at the beginning of each shift. As a kitchen hand I learnt to manage priorities on the fly and multi-task effectively in order to keep on top of a workload that would otherwise have overwhelmed me.
I was invited by Guildford Grammar School (GGS) to become an academic coach, assisting students with their schoolwork. Working at GGS has allowed me to develop skills for the communication of concepts and ideas, but has also given me great joy in passing my knowledge down to others. Nothing compares to the way a student's face lights up when a tricky concept finally 'clicks'. Many of the students I help in the library have engaged me for private tuition, and many of my past teachers also recommend me to students who need a little extra help with their studies. It is a wonderful thing to see a student develop fluency and confidence.
Acurix were in need of an employee to ensure that a large project would be completed on time. I relished the chance to apply my technical skills. We were to install hardware in various locations around Rottnest Island which would provide free Wi-Fi to patrons. Rottnest was a wonderful place to work; both myself and the technician I was assisting had a great time on the island. One of the major install locations was the "Pillbox", a historical military lookout atop a hill on the Island. It served as our long range repeater station, bouncing signals between the northern and eastern sides of the island, which are obscured from each other by hills. The view from the pillbox was magical. Aside from learning a great deal about workplace safety, my partner and I quickly learnt each other's strengths, developing an efficient workflow which allowed us to complete the installation ahead of schedule.
Working in the store, it was wonderful to see customers try on a pair of headphones, listen to a track they've heard hundreds of times before and not only hear new things, but feel new things. I made it my mission to ensure that the customers I served left the store with purchases that they felt best conveyed the emotion of their favourite music. Conversing with customers, I built confidence and learned a lot about the people who came through the store. I went out of my way to try new audio products on my own time, resulting in the store stocking new, better value equipment.
Immersive was a fantasic place to cut my teeth as a software engineer and architect. I learned to consider software architecture choices very carefully to ensure an easy to understand, maintainable codebase. I expanded my knowledge of numerous languages and technologies. I helped remove a third party library from an upcoming fork of the company's product, saving them a considerable amount in licensing fees, added a new hydraulic excavator to the company's primary mining simulation product, and assisted in the development of a cutting edge new virtual reality product for the construction industry. I also instituted process changes that ensured a smoother, more efficient development workflow.
Definitiv is a small company with big goals. Compared to Immersive, things are much more "green field". I've had the opportunity to make major decisions about software architecture and deployment/integration systems. Definitiv's software performs some impressively complex calculations, and the stakes are high; get something wrong and people don't get paid correctly. Subsequently, I've learned much at Definitiv about automated testing and continuous integration. So far, I've implemented a system for automatically filling rosters based on employee availability, implemented complex payroll calculations that require processing large amounts of historical data in a performant manner, and planned and deployed high availability cloud based software solutions.
I was a Scout for many years. I really enjoyed it. It helped me develop social and leadership skills and gave me a deep appreciation of nature and my community. Now that I'm older, I like to assist the local Scout group in their activities, so that other children can have the opportunities that were afforded to me. Plus, it's a great excuse to go camping. I still get the itch to go out once in a while and enjoy a few days of a more relaxing lifestyle.
The Peter Anderton Day Centre provides an important service to the surrounding community. With the help of paid workers and volunteers, aged persons are able to enjoy various excursions and activities. The day centre also affords them valuable social opportunities. Through the centre, patrons can enjoy a day out with people of similar age. I assisted both in the kitchen and in the running of various activities. I feel privileged to assist the elderly, as they have assisted me by laying the foundations for my community. They also never seem to run out of fantastic stories from fascinating eras, and sage advice born of great experience.
Harry Campbell Pope Scholarship
Guildford Grammar School Academic Excellence Guild
Old Guildfordians' Lodge Prize for Specialist Mathematics
Institute of Engineers Certificate of Excellence
Semi-finalist, Australian-International Model Solar Challenge
Speaker for the wining team, 2016 UWA "Game of EZONEs" 12-hour Innovation and Design Challenge