Damon Jude Wischik
Born 5 August 1974
British, French & Australian nationalities
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,
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
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
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
Royal Society University Research Fellowship, 2004–2011.
Trinity College Junior Research Fellowship, 1999–2003
from the Applied Probability Society of INFORMS
in 2005, for Big Queues
, a book arising from my PhD work.
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
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.
Part IA (1st class), Part IB (1st class), Part IIB (1st class), Part III (1st class).
Junior and Senior Scholarships; Mayhew Prize for top final-year result in Applied Mathematics.
Teaching & supervision
I supervised the PhDs of Dr James Cruise (graduated 2010, now
), 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.
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.
a 16-lecture Part III (Masters-equivalent) course on
Large Deviations and Queues
and taught it to maths students at Cambridge for three years.
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.
I was a teaching assistant for the Autumn 2001 class on Stochastic
Networks given by Frank Kelly.
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).
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).
a book. Awarded the 2004 Best Publication Award by the Applied
Probability Society of INFORMS.
Skills and interests
Spark and Scala for big data;
R for statistics and visualization;
Data— Recreational statistics & visualisations
election results, psychometrics, international affairs, etc.
for festive occasions; electric unicycling; bicycle riding