Computer programming is a way of expressing ideas

Janusz Kulon - Computing staff

"I was bitten by the science bug at an early age, thanks to my father who was a scientist with a doctorate in organic chemistry," said Dr Janusz Kulon, a Reader in Computer Science who specialises in Biomedical Applications.

"I have vivid memories of the experiments we performed in the kitchen. One of these experiments, which I was too little to understand, became very popular with our friends. I later found out it was a distillation of liquor!

What do you enjoy about it?
For me, the American astrophysicist Carl Sagan captured the wonder of scientific exploration when he said: "I maintain there is much more wonder in science than in pseudoscience. And in addition, to whatever measure this term has any meaning, science has the additional virtue, and it is not an inconsiderable one, of being true."

Of which research project are you most proud?
Over the years I have been involved in number collaborative projects with companies such as GlaxoSmitkline and Corus Automotive. Before joining USW I worked at Brunel University and was responsible for the design of a Knowledge Base System (KBS) for the manufacturing industry. Recently, working closely with our NHS partner, we were able to successfully apply the concept of KBS in a completely different field of Rehabilitation Engineering, which makes me particularly proud.

Who is your hero?
Bjarne Stroustrup for inventing C++ and opening the world of OOP to the masses. Not only did he allow me to ditch calloc() and malloc() but also helped me to get my first job as a programmer!

What is the best book for computing students?
The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds and The Laws of Physics by Roger Penrose for challenging the claims of artificial intelligence using the physics of computing. Penrose elegantly shows using Gödel incompleteness theorem that consciousness goes beyond the simple accumulation of more and more complex algorithmic capabilities. Fascinating read!

Advice to people considering computing as a career
Develop and maintain interests outside software engineering. Computer programming is a way of expressing ideas, but unless you have an understanding of an application area, you won’t have the insights to make a contribution.