My background is in formal pure mathematics, with a great deal of computer experience. My research covers the application of computers to problems, in abstract algebra, I work on developing general algorithms such as vector numeration, on applying known algorithms and mathematical ingenuity to solve specific large problems such as finding the maximal subgroups of very large sporadic groups, and on the development of the GAP (groups, algorithms and programming) system.
For a mathematician, I am very practically minded. I have little interest in developing algorithms in the abstract without attempting to implement them and I write programs to produce the best possible performance rather than simply to demonstrate the algorithms
I am Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Computational Algebra (CIRCA) at the University of St Andrews. The Centre undertakes mathematical research with computer assistance, develops new techniques for computation in abstract algebra and develops and distributes software implementing these techniques. The Centre also organises conferences, seminars and training courses and coordinates the international efforts to develop maintain and promote the GAP (groups, algorithms and programming) software package.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article