Picture of Damon Wischik Damon Jude Wischik

Personal details

Born 5 August 1974
British, French & Australian nationalities
Email— damon.wischik⦿cl.cam.ac.uk
Web— www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~djw1005
Phone— +44 1223 334417

Employment & experience

Computer Laboratory, Cambridge, 2017–: university lecturer

, working in the field of data science.

Urban Engines (a startup based in Los Altos, CA), 2011–2016: chief data scientist.

We built a platform for visualising and analysing big data about things that move: commuters, trains, buses, taxis, delivery fleets, etc. Customers included several major cities and transport infrastructure providers. Technologies used include Spark, d3, Postgres, and Amazon's AWS. My work involved all levels of the stack: talking with customers, designing system capabilities, data architecture, devising visualisations and inference algorithms, and detailed coding in R, Python, Scala, Javascript. The company had 22 employees, 10 of them in the data science group. Urban Engines was acquired by Google in 2016.

Electrical Engineering, Stanford: visiting professor in 2011, consulting professor in 2016.

In 2011 I worked with Prof. Balaji Prabhakar on societal networks—networks that combine real-world infrastructure and people. I worked on health incentives for Accenture employees, and transit incentives for Singaporean commuters. (This work led into Urban Engines, which Prof. Prabhakar cofounded.) In 2016, Prof. Prabhakar and I are co-teaching a course on Big Data for Things that Move, to graduate students in computing and engineering.

UCL, London, 2004–2011: Royal Society university research fellow,

based in the Networks and Systems group in the Computer Science department. I came to UCL with the goal of translating theoretical work on congestion control, begun by Prof. Frank Kelly in Cambridge, into a practical system. With Prof. Mark Handley and others in the EU-funded Trilogy project, we created MPTCP (Multipath TCP), which became an IETF standard and is used by Siri on the iPhone.

Statistical consulting, 2006–

for TauRx Therapeutics, a biotech startup based in Aberdeen, working on Alzheimer's Disease. This has involved interacting with medics, scientists, clinical research organisations, regulators, valuation consultants, and investment bankers, and has spanned Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials. I have analysed data and advised on clinical trials, psychometrics, animal experiments, business development, risk and valuation. This work has given me a deep appreciation of statistics as a form of rhetoric, not just a tool for mathematical modelling.

Trinity College, Cambridge, 1999-2004: Junior Research Fellow,

  an independent research position. I was based in the Statistical Laboratory in the University of Cambridge. I worked on probability theory for queueing networks, with application to Internet switches.

Electrical Engineering, Stanford, 2001-2002: Postdoc

, continuing my research with Balaji Prabhakar.

Awards & education

Awards


Royal Society University Research Fellowship, 2004–2011.
Trinity College Junior Research Fellowship, 1999–2003
Best Publication Award from the Applied Probability Society of INFORMS in 2005, for Big Queues, a book arising from my PhD work.
Best Paper Award at NSDI 2011, for Design, implementation and evaluation of congestion control for multipath TCP

Trinity College, Cambridge, 1996-1999: PhD

  in the Statistical Laboratory, supervised by Prof. Frank Kelly. My thesis was titled Large Deviations and Internet Congestion.

[degree certificate]

Trinity College, Cambridge, 1992-1996: MA in Mathematics.

  Three years of undergraduate study leading to BA (Hons), and one year of postgraduate study leading to a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Mathematics and MA. Courses include stochastic networks, advanced probability, applied probability, advanced financial models, optimization and control, and statistical inference.

Exams

—  Part IA (1st class), Part IB (1st class), Part IIB (1st class), Part III (1st class).

Awards

—  Junior and Senior Scholarships; Mayhew Prize for top final-year result in Applied Mathematics.

[academical record]

Teaching & supervision

Students.

I supervised the PhDs of Dr James Cruise (graduated 2010, now faculty at Heriot-Watt), and of Dr Christopher Pluntke (graduated 2014, now a data scientist at Google). I have supervised group projects for the MScNSC degree at UCL. I have also supervised masters dissertations for the Statistical Laboratory at Cambridge, and final-year projects for assorted degrees in computer science at UCL.

Lecturing.

Cambridge

—— I am teaching a 12-lecture first year course on Algorithms, for computer science and natural science students. I will be introducing a 12-lecture second year course on Foundations of Data Science.

UCL

—— I devised a 24-lecture course on Network Performance modelling, and taught it to graduate students in computer science for six years. I devised an 8-lecture Introduction to R for computer scientists skills course, and taught it for two years.

Stanford

—— In 2016 Prof. Prabhakar and I introduced and co-taught a course on Big Data and Learning Systems to graduate students in computer science and engineering.

Cambridge

—— I devised a 16-lecture Part III (Masters-equivalent) course on Large Deviations and Queues and taught it to maths students at Cambridge for three years.

Other teaching.

Cambridge

—— I supervised undergraduates in probability and statistics. I set and examined computer projects, coursework undertaken by second and final year maths undergraduates, in probability and statistics.

Stanford

—— I was a teaching assistant for the Autumn 2001 class on Stochastic Networks given by Frank Kelly.

Selected outputs

N.Gomes, D.Merugu et al. (2012). Steptacular: an incentive mechanism for promoting wellness. COMSNETS NetHealth. This is the only publication to come out of my work on incentives—but the system I built is running at www.travelsmartrewards.com, has 330,000 users, and has paid out $10M Singapore dollars over four years.
D.Wischik, C.Raiciu, and A.Greenhalgh (2011). Design, implementation and evaluation of congestion control for multipath TCP. NSDI, winner of best paper award. This work has been standardized as an Internet Experimental Standard, RFC 6356.
D.Shah and D.Wischik. Switched networks with maximum weight policies: fluid approximation and multiplicative state space collapse. Annals of Applied Probability (2012). Fluid models of congestion collapse in overloaded switched networks. Queueing Systems (2011).
C.M. Wischik, D.J. Wischik, J.M.D. Storey, C.R. Harrington (2010). Rationale for tau aggregation inhibitor therapy in Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies. Chapter in Emerging drugs and targets for Alzheimer's disease, vol. 1, ed. A. Martinez, RSC Drug Discovery Series. I am a co-author on three patents relating to this work.
D.Wischik (2008). Short Messages. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society A.
G.Raina, D.J.Wischik (2005). Buffer sizes for large multiplexers: TCP queueing theory and instability analysis. This work lead to a DARPA grant, and to a series of letters in ACM Computer Communication Review, co-authored with Nick McKeown and Don Towsley.
A.Ganesh, N.O'Connell, D.J.Wischik (2004). Big Queues, a book. Awarded the 2004 Best Publication Award by the Applied Probability Society of INFORMS.
D.J.Wischik (2001). Sample path large deviations for queues with many inputs. Annals of Applied Probability.

Skills and interests

Computing

—  Spark and Scala for big data; R for statistics and visualization; Python and Javascript for web services

Data

—  Recreational statistics & visualisations relating to election results, psychometrics, international affairs, etc.

Hobbies

—  Cooking for festive occasions; electric unicycling; bicycle riding