About Me

Dr. Andrew Broad
About Me

I am a 33-year-old Englishman with strong interests in computing and tennis.

I have the title Doctor because I have a PhD in Computer Science. I was a student at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Manchester from 1994 to 2003. I started my BSc in Computer Science in September 1994, graduated with First Class Honours in July 1997, and came back as a research-student in September 1997. I got my MPhil in 1999 and my PhD in 2003.

My main skills are in computer-programming and academic research, and my main research-interests are as follows:

I now have a permanent job as a C# programmer.

My Undergraduate Days

I am a former pupil of Lymm High School, where I attained nine GCSEs in 1992:

I attained four `A' Levels at Lymn High School in 1994:

In my first year at Manchester (1994/95), I took the following modules:

In my second year (1995/96), I took the following modules:

I also won the Professors Prize for being the best second year single honours student.

In my third year (1996/97), I took the following modules:

My CS3900 project, under the supervision of Nick Filer, was entitled "A Problem-Solving Algorithms Library", and was about implementing pattern-directed inference systems, truth-maintenance systems and constraint-reasoning systems in C++.

At the end of the third year, I confirmed my position as the top student by winning the ICL prize. Better yet, I won the prestigious Williams/Kilburn Medal, which isn't awarded every year!

My Postgraduate Days

By the end of my first degree, I knew that the two wide areas of computer science that most fascinated me were programming and artificial intelligence. I had also developed a specific interest in case-based reasoning (CBR), which I learned of in my final year (it's not on the undergraduate syllabus although it should be, but I wrote my second CS3411 essay on it!). I could see that CBR was the key to what I'd never dared dream of before: making computers more intelligent than man!

So when I applied to do an MPhil/PhD, I declared CBR as my primary research interest. Nick Filer was appointed to be my supervisor once again, and I was allocated to the CAD Group, which has since been renamed the MINT Group.

I started my research with the long-term vision of applying CBR to code understanding and its inverse process, code generation. Comparative code understanding (comparing the semantics of two pieces of code) and comparative code generation (modifying one piece of code to fit the semantics of another) are of particular long-term interest to me. You can read more about this research in my research plan that I wrote for CS700 in January 1998, although my vision has changed considerably since then!

My MPhil project was on the application of CBR to understanding the constraints on EXPRESS information models (a particular kind of code), which forms the building block for my PhD project on comparative code understanding.

For my PhD project (Comparative Code Understanding of Information Models), I implemented a system that compares two EXPRESS models, inferring correspondences and reporting differences. It assesses the semantic equivalence and relative semantic strength of the constraints on the two models. If semantic equivalence cannot be assessed at the code level, it extracts and compares higher-level constraints in order to do so. This combination of comparison with the extraction of higher-level knowledge is the most important contribution of my PhD thesis, which aims to establish comparative code understanding as a field in its own right.

My Hobbies

I am in love with the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, which is what attracted me to computing in the first place! I used my Spectrum +2 until it broke in April 2003; now I use a Spectrum-emulator. My fascination with the Spectrum has always been to program as well as just playing games. I am one of the world's leading experts on the classic games Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy, and I enjoy writing my own versions of them using editors that I wrote myself (see my download page).

I am heavily into tennis; I follow the professional game with great interest. I am a fan of Monica Seles, Maria Sharapova, Daniela Hantuchov�, Jelena Dokic, Iva Majoli, Karina Hab�udov�, Vera Zvonar�va, Nicole Vaidi�ov�, Anna Chakvetadze, Lucie �af�rov�, Iroda Tulyaganova and Magdal�na Ryb�rikov�. I'll watch any tennis that the BBC has the decency to televise on Freeview (which is pathetically little, except during Wimbledon). I have attended the WTA tournament at Eastbourne in 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2008, and the one at Birmingham from 2004 to 2009. I enjoy the occasional game of tennis or table-tennis.

I enjoy listening to music, and am accumulating a vast record-collection. I am a fan of David Bowie, Radiohead, Bj�rk Gu�mundsd�ttir and No Doubt. I like a wide variety of music (mostly popular, although I'm not averse to a bit of classical).

I enjoy learning natural languages, and have taught myself some basic Slovak as this fits in with my tennis-interests (I may learn Serbian, Croatian and Russian in the future).

I like reading fiction, as well as factual literature. My favourite novelist would have to be J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (I have written MM/JSW games of both). I also like C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, and William Sleator's science-fiction novels, which deal with such thought-provoking themes as time-travel and the fourth dimension (I particularly recommend Strange Attractors, The Green Futures of Tycho, The Boy Who Reversed Himself and Interstellar Pig).

As regards films and TV, I am very keen on George Lucas's Star Wars saga, and actually prefer the new prequel-trilogy to the original Star Wars trilogy! Episode III - Revenge of the Sith is the greatest film ever made IMO. I'm also very keen on the films of David Lynch because of their surreality, peculiar logic and intriguing character-shifts (Mulholland Drive is a prime example). My favourite TV-programmes include Neighbours, Home and Away, The Simpsons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel (I'm a latecomer to BtVS - no spoilers beyond Season 3, please).

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