Professor John A Clark

Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award holder

Professor of Critical Systems
MA Maths (Oxon), MSc Applied Statistics (Oxon), PhD in Computer Science (York)
Deputy Head of Department - Responsible for Research – since April 2009
Department of Computer Science and YYCSA
University of York, Deramore Lane,
York, YO10 5GH, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1904 325354 /
Fax: +44 (0)1904 325599

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I did Mathematics and then an MSc in Applied Statistics at Oxford. I then joined the security division of the software and systems house Logica in 1987, working as a security and high integrity software evaluation consultant to HMG and then on a security ‘R & D’ thinktank for HMG. I joined York in 1992. I have been research active since around 1997 (with a few outputs before then). My personal and supervised research work concentrates on aspects of security and software engineering (with a particular interest in applying heuristic computing and other AI to these areas), though I am more eclectic on what I supervise as taught course projects. I was awarded my PhD in 2002 and promoted to a Personal Chair in January 2005. I have been cited around 4260 times, as far as I can tell.
Since April 2009 I have been Deputy Head of Department (Responsible for Research). I view my research role largely as helping the people who work with me get on in their careers by producing excellent research. I occasionally think for myself. I am currently engaged in personal research that is exceptionally ambitious but with significant chances of nothing meaningful coming out of it, but then again, if something does....

Most would describe my research work as largely applied, but I have one brain and I have to use it for everything. I don't distinguish too strongly between theory and applied. I am part of the EPSRC's Programme Grant on Dynamic Adaptive Automated Software Engineering (DAASE), led by Mark Harman at UCL.

I am delighted to have received a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award to pursue my work in optimisation based design and analysis of systems.(August 2013-July 2018, announced publicly 30 August 2013).
I believe that “teaching is part of the job". From 2005-2007 I was Chair of Examinations within the Department of Computer Science at York. I was secretary to various Boards of Examiners for around 7 years too. I aim to play as best a part I can in the wider academic community. I have been (taught course) external examiner at eight UK Universities in the past eight years: Open University, King's College London, Sheffield, and Newcastle have now finished; Brunel; Imperial College London, Dublin and University College London are current.

In the past nine years I have also been co-author of eleven prize-winning research papers: particular thanks to my PhD students, many of whom I taught as undergraduates. Prizes include Evolutionary Computation Human Competitive Awards (Humies) Silver and Bronze medals ($1000 in 2005 and $2000 in 2013) for work on quantum algorithm synthesis (with Massey and Stepney) and NMR pulse sequence generation (with Bechman and Sebald) respectively. I have published or collaborated on PhD supervision, papers or proposals with members of every one of our nine research groups.

I review a lot of grant proposals, and I generally aim to support our primary research council (EPSRC) whenever I can.

I do some outreach activities, e.g. talking to Computing At Schools and judging technology competitions, and I usually do one University Open Day talk each year. I am likely to be working directly with individual schools in the York area in future. I am thinking about a free CS schools textbook in the fairly near future.