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Dr James Osborne

Dr James Osborne

Lecturer

School of Computer Science and Informatics

Email:
osbornej8@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2087 4767
Location:
N/2.08B, Queen's Buildings - North Building, 5 The Parade, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 3AA

I am one of the lecturers at the National Software Academy delivering the Applied Software Engineering Degree which aims to create work-ready graduates with real-world industrial experience gained whilst working in teams and on projects for real industry clients.  I am currently module leader for two second year modules, Agile Project Management and DevOps.  I also have responsibilities around admissions, pastoral care, industrial placements, supervision of taught master’s students, and outreach and engagement for the recently announced Institute of Code - a collaboration between various industry partners and universities with, amongst others, the aim of widening participation in computing education.

2016       Now        Cardiff University: Lecturer in Agile Project Management and DevOps

In my position at Cardiff University I am one of the lecturers at the National Software Academy delivering the Applied Software Engineering Degree which aims to create work-ready graduates with real-world industrial experience gained whilst working in teams and on projects for real industry clients.  I am currently module leader for two second year modules, Agile Project Management and DevOps.  I also have responsibilities around admissions, pastoral care, industrial placements, supervision of taught master’s students, and outreach and engagement for the recently announced Institute of Code - a collaboration between various industry partners and universities with, amongst others, the aim of widening participation in computing education.

2015       2016       Sorenson Media: Senior Software Engineer / Systems Administrator

In my position at Sorenson Media I was part of a team of developers working on an exciting big data analytics platform hosted in the Amazon cloud.  We used agile principles, continuous delivery and integration, and separate environments to develop the analytics platform using technologies including MongoDB, Express, Angular, and Node.  I have been responsible for implementing a number of changes to our environments including: improving the resilience and performance of our data warehouses (over 1.8 Billion records in Redshift), implementing a number of resilient relational databases from the ground up (Aurora), backing up our NoSQL databases (over 100 Gb of data in MongoDB), and moving the platform towards software defined infrastructure (CloudFormation). 

2012       2015       University of South Wales: HPC Wales Training and Outreach Mentor

In my position at the University of South Wales, I was responsible for delivering against both ERDF and ESF targets as set by the Welsh Government, one of the key funders of the £40m HPC Wales initiative.  As a Training and Outreach Mentor with a system administrator background, I was constantly in demand to support researchers across Wales with their training needs, as well as driving engagement with businesses and senior academics.  I developed and ran a number of courses at various universities and colleges across Wales, having personally trained over 1000 users in a range of topics from: Introduction to Linux, through to Programming in C++ and Fortran, to Parallel Programming using MPI and OpenMP.  I also led the development of a Postgraduate Certificate in High Performance Computing at the University of South Wales; and contributed to a series of training videos on those topics.  As part of my role, I secured over £170k of inward investment for HPC Wales via various collaborative projects and funded studentships.

2008       2012       Cardiff University: Condor Project Manager and Systems Administrator (ARCCA)

In my positions at Cardiff University I was solely responsible for managing the ARCCA Training Programme, training over 200 users.  This was in addition to system administration duties which I shared with a colleague.  Together we were responsible for improving the performance and resilience of the ARCCA services. In addition to the Condor service, my duties expanded to system administration and user support on the Merlin service (a 2048 core high performance computing system), with over 900 support calls answered over a period of four years from 22 of the 29 academic schools.  I was also responsible for managing some of the hardware maintenance calls with a number of external partners, replacing failed components etc. I was also involved in preparing the technical tender documentation for the Merlin system, and evaluating the responses from various system vendors in order to select a preferred supplier.  I also specified, purchased, and maintained, an Access Grid installation for ARCCA with an installation cost of £18k, saving the university £42k, in comparison to a commercially supported solution deployed in the School of Mathematics.  I also led the ARCCA office refurbishment, which involved outlining structural changes, upgraded power and networking requirements, and choosing interior fixings and furnishings fit for purpose to a value of £70k.

2006       2008       Cardiff University: Condor Project Manager (INSRV)

I was initially hired to develop and manage the Condor Service (a high throughput computing system) with a community of 48 registered users which, over a two-year period, grew from a resource providing an average of 300; to over 3000 processor cores per month (peak availability was 8000 processor cores during the working day).  That growth provided over 6.3m CPU hours to the user community, of which 11 were awarded their PhDs, as a direct result of using the Condor service to support their research computing needs.  Cardiff’s Condor pool was the first to use virtualization technology to support the Linux server estate, against the conventional wisdom of the Condor developers at the time, saving the university £6k p.a.; and it was the first Windows resource to be added to the National Grid Service.  I was also responsible for organising an international Condor workshop in 2009, with invited speakers from the USA who were funded by RUGIT after securing £2k of grant funding from them.

Honours and awards

Awards

  • Wales’ Coolest Techie (see p15, South Wales Argus on 30/3/15)

Interviews

  • Interview on BBC Radio Wales – Good Evening Wales (invited speaker on 7/9/17)
  • Interview on BBC Radio Wales – Good Morning Wales (invited speaker on 18/3/15)
  • Interview on BBC Radio Wales – Good Evening Wales (invited speaker on 25/2/14)
  • Interview in HPC Wales case study video (invited speaker on 3/7/12)

Papers

  • Article in Inside HPC “Distance Learning for the Next Generation of Computational Scientists” (02/14)
  • Article in Scientific Computing World “How to Plug the Skills Gap” (web and print versions) (01/14)
  • Acknowledged in numerous researcher papers and a dozen MSc and PhD theses

Presentations

  • Welsh Government ICT Workshop (invited speaker on 14/9/12)
  • International Condor Workshop in Cardiff (organiser on 16/9/09)
  • HTC Week in Edinburgh (invited speaker on 29/11/07)
  • Open Grid Forum 20 in Manchester (invited speaker on 11/5/07)
  • European Condor Week in Milan (invited speaker on 28/6/06)

Workshops

  • Organised a stand at the Eurosim 2013 Conference in Cardiff (focus on Simulation and Modelling)
  • Organised a stand at the BioWales 2012 Conference in Cardiff (focus on Life Science Sector)
  • Organised a Condor Workshop in Cardiff in 2009 with international speakers funded by RUGIT
  • Acted as secretary to a Campus Grids SIG meeting in London
  • Represented ARCCA at a High Performance Computing SIG meeting in Leeds
  • Module Leader - Agile Project Management (16/17 onwards)
  • Module Leader - DevOps (16/17 onwards)
  • Undergraduate Personal Tutor (16/17 onwards)
  • Masters Project Supervisor (16/17 onwards)
  • Library Representative (16/17 onwards)
  • Outreach and Engagement (16/17 onwards)
  • Undergraduate Admissions Tutor (17/18 onwards)
  • Undergraduate Year 1 Tutor (17/18 onwards)
  • Undergraduate Placements Supervisor (17/18 onwards)

My research interests are in the fields of Agile Project Management and DevOps. 

I am a member of both the South Wales Agile Group and the AWS South Wales User Group.

  • Agile Project Management
  • DevOps