Introducing the team: Craig Lucas, NAG Senior Technical Consultant
Craig, describe your role at NAG?
I am a Senior Technical Consultant based in NAG’s Manchester Office. Here I manage part of NAG’s High Performance Computing group. I come from a numerical linear algebra background. For my MSc dissertation I looked at nearest correlation matrix problems, something I still work on today, and this year I have an MSc student looking at more new algorithms. Another big interest of mine is shared memory parallelism with OpenMP, and in particular helping users to better exploit it.
Can you give examples of the customer problems you help solve via NAG Technical Support?
Technical Support is a great way to interact with our users. Queries can range from something very simple, helping people link their program to the Library for the first time, to an in-depth discussion about the accuracy of an optimization routine. It is often challenging and always an opportunity to learn something new about the mathematics of the Library. Sometimes I need to read our documentation to help me get started!
Tell us something special/unusual about NAG?
Working at NAG is very collaborative, whether that is working with universities or with other NAG colleagues. One day I might be listening to a Manchester student talking about their new research, another I might be at the whiteboard in the office discussing the nuances of a new NAG algorithm.
Tell us something special/unusual about yourself?
I came to Mathematics relatively late and was 27 when I went to university. I had somehow drifted into Civil Engineering as a teenager, working in the area of land reclamation. Much of my work was dealing with closed coal mines; this was Staffordshire in the late 1980’s. Perhaps I had some sort of epiphany, I certainly realised that a childhood interest needed some proper exploration. I will always be grateful to Graham Bowtell at City University who decided to take a risk on a mature student without any proper mathematics qualifications.
Are you attending any exhibitions or conferences this year?
My next conference is The Manchester SIAM Student Chapter Conference 2015. This annual event is another great opportunity to hear what young researchers are working on. I co-judge the Best talk and Best Poster prizes. It is a nice way to give back to a community that NAG really relies on.