I've given a number of presentations at seminars and conferences. Most of them are available online; I've listed each below with a brief summary. The PDF files are available in bulk via github.

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Talks on software

VOEventDB and Sustainable Software

Hotwiring the Transient Universe V, Villanova, PA, October 2016

An invited talk for an audience lying at the intersection of astronomy and software development. I gave a brief teaser-introduction to VOEventDB, and tried to use parts of that project to illustrate some points on the wider topic of sustainable software.

A brief introduction to version control systems

Southampton, November 2013

A short (fifteen minute) explanation of version control, aimed at an academic audience. The goal was to introduce the underlying concepts of version control systems, and give an idea of when they are most useful.

Talks on transient astronomy

Which transient, when?

Southampton colloquia series, May 2015

Hotwiring the Transient Universe IV, Santa Barbara, May 2015

I gave this talk to the astronomy group in Southampton, and a shorter version at Hotwired IV. Here's the abstract:

Next-generation astronomical facilities such as the LSST and the SKA will be game-changers, allowing us to observe the entire southern sky and track changing sources in near real-time. Keeping up with their alert-streams represents a significant challenge - how do we make the most of our limited telescope resources to follow up 100000 sources per night?

The biggest problem here is classification - we want to find the really interesting transients and spend our time watching those. However, classification based on the initial survey data can only get you so far - we'll need to use robotic follow-up telescopes for rapid-response observations, to give us more information on the most promising targets. To get the most science done, we need to be smart about scheduling that follow-up. We're exploring use of active learning algorithms (AKA Bayesian Decision Theory) to solve this problem, building a framework that allows for iterative refinement of a probabilistic classification state. Because there are no algorithms that fit this problem 'out-of-the-box', we've built our own analysis framework using the emcee and PyMultiNest packages to power the underlying Bayesian inference. I'll give an overview of how our proposed system fits into the wider context of an automated astronomy ecosystem, then give a gentle introduction to Bayesian Decision Theory and how it can be applied to this problem.

How to build a TraP: An image-plane transient-detection tool

Southampton lunchtime seminar January 2015

Oxford SPIMAX talk, January 2015

Hotwiring the Transient Universe IV, Santa Barbara, May 2015

The TraP ( is a pipeline for processing streams of astronomical image-data in near real-time with the aim of identifying transient and variable sources. This talk will give you a working understanding of what the TraP does at the algorithmic level, to allow you to judge for yourself if it's relevant to your work, or if you might be able to reuse parts of it in another context.

In the first half I give a brief recap on the kinds of astronomical transients we hope to see in image-plane radio surveys, and how new telescopes such as LOFAR are changing the parameters of what's possible in the radio-domain. I then give an overview of how the TraP works, using plenty of diagrams (and no code!). Finally I talk a little bit about the development model behind TraP, and how you can get started with it if you're interested.

From gamma-ray to radio: Multi-wavelength follow-up in the first five minutes

RAS LT2 meeting, London, November 2014

In this short talk I cover some research highlights from the 4 Pi Sky project, including recent successes in fast radio follow-up and exploratory work on the potential of radio observations for transient classification. Finally I introduce our work on making the VOEvent standard more accessible to the astronomical community, with the long-term goal of enabling more optimal automated follow-up strategies.

Tunable algorithms for transient follow-up

LOFAR-TKP meeting, Jodrell Bank, September 2014

This talk gives a gentle introduction to Bayesian decision theory, a methodology I'm trying to apply to the problem of automated follow-up prioritisation and scheduling.

Training your astronomy robots to work as a team

Radio transients with SKA pathfinders, South Africa, July 2013

I present a case that the astronomy community is missing a part of the puzzle for the next era of automated big-survey astronomy: we currently have very little published work on target prioritization and optimized observation scheduling. This talk also highlights some sociological issues surrounding the sort of open collaboration needed to make optimal use of globally distributed observatories, and shows some preliminary work on generally-applicable classification methods.

Fast radio follow-up

LOFAR-TKP meeting, Amsterdam, December 2012

An iterated version of the earlier talk on ALARRM. This version delves a little deeper into why early-time radio follow-up of GRBs is interesting, and touches on the problem of collaborative transient follow-up.

Fast radio follow-up of GRBs

SKA-KAT offices, Capetown, November 2012

An early talk on the ALARRM rapid radio follow-up project, touching on the science of GRB progenitors and possible LOFAR transient science.

Talks on lucky imaging

Lucky imaging: Life in the visible after HST

Southampton, March 2012

An introduction to lucky imaging, the subject of my PhD.

A user's guide to lucky imaging

RS meeting on lucky imaging and microlensing, Chicheley Hall, April 2013

An invited talk given to an audience interested in using lucky imaging for microlensing studies. I tried to give an overview of where the challenges lie in getting good science data using lucky imaging techniques.