Staff Introduction – John Isaacs – Lecturer.

Hi, I’m John and I’ve just joined RGU as a Lecturer in Computing, here is a little background and an idea of the things I’m interested in.

Orgininally I studied Biology at Dundee Uni,  but on graduating realised that working in a lab just wasn’t for me. I had always had a habit of taking things apart and wondering how they worked, I enjoyed using computers so much during my biology studies that I wanted to know how these worked too, so I enrolled in a Computing degree at Abertay University. I knew pretty quickly that I had chosen the right direction and after graduation I stayed on to do a PhD there. I taught various computing subjects and languages as a teaching assisstant during my PhD and on completion was appointed as a Lecturer in 2011. After 13 years at Abertay, as staff and student, I decided that it was time for a new challenge.

I had visited RGU a few times for different events over the last few years and my PhD was examined by Professor Richard Laing at the Scott Sutherland School, so I already knew what an exciting and creative place it was. I was pretty excited about the opertunity to come and join the teaching and research here.

I’m a coder at heart, but my main research interest is in the use of visualisation, modelling and simulation in displaying and helping people to understand  complex information. As part of my PhD I developed an interactive visualisation platform, based on computer games technology, which allows user to play with scenarios and understand their impact. This platform has been applied to a number of areas; urban regeneration, demographic change, land use management and pollution control. One of the many reasons I wanted to come to RGU was to expand the use of this type of visualisation to other areas.

I am also interested in mobile technologies and have been  involved in a European project investigating apps for older and disabled users across a number of countries.  Mainly this looked at how we can develop apps that are both eaiser to use for older people and to provide assisstive applications that could encourage older people, who don’t use these devices, of their benefits.

So, that’s about it really, my friends call me the perpetual student and one of my favorite quotes is from Michalangelo, “Still I Learn”. I’ve just never lost that child-like curiosity, this helps to explain why my desk is usually covered in arduinos, Pis, wires, toys  and other bits and pieces I’m in the process of creating. If you want to see what I’m taking apart today, feel free to give me a shout.