From: Iain Strachan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sun Aug 13 2000 - 21:49:05 EDT
Name: Iain Guy David Strachan
Age: 44 (b. 10-March-1958).
Marital status: Married, to Christine, with two children, Jessica
(11) and Matthew (9).
Vocation: Software Engineer. Providing Mathematical Solver codes
for solution of large sets of sparse linear and non-linear equations,
with application to the chemical and oil industry.
BA (1980) Cambridge University - Natural Sciences, with Physics as
MPhil (1981) Cambridge University - Control Engineering + Operational Research.
PhD (2002) Edinburgh University - Institute of Adaptive and Neural Computation.
My PhD studies were part time, over a period of seven years, and
carried out at the same time as having a full-time job. I've just
successfully passed the Viva, and expect to graduate formally in the
Autumn. I don't recommend doing a PhD part time unless you want a
The thesis study was in probabilistic techniques for visualization of
high-dimensional, time-dependent data. My interest in this kind of
work arose from applications of Neural Networks and Genetic
Algorithms that we used at work. (Though the techniques developed in
the study were far removed from "biologically inspired" algorithms,
and more to do with Maximum Likelihood probability density models).
1981-2002: UK Atomic Energy Authority, which became privatized and
turned into AEA Technology plc. I worked largely in computing, in a
wide variety of areas: control, robotics, (real time control), space
studies, advanced robotics studies, mathematical simulation software,
Neural Networks, Genetic algorithms (though we couldn't find much
practical use for these). Since 1998, I transferred to Hyprotech, a
wholly owned subsidiary company of AEA Technology, providing process
simulation software for the chemical and oil industries. In May this
year, Hyprotech was divested by AEA Technology, and it is now part of
the American company Aspentech.
It is my research interest in Neural Networks, and the idea of
spotting patterns in data (for example in one application, we tried
to spot instances of organized crime in credit card fraud by looking
for repeated spend patterns - very successfully, I might add), that
led indirectly to my interest in Vernon Jenkins' biblical numerics,
though that was via a subsidiary interest in looking for evidence of
mathematical structure in music. Neither of these areas, however,
are amenable to neural net/statistical pattern recognition analysis
(as far as I can tell).
I suppose I could say I have always been a Christian believer. I
remember being horrified at the age of 5 when a schoolfried told me
that neither Santa Claus nor God existed. Actually, I guess I was
more upset about the Santa Claus con, because at least you had
tangible proof (i.e. presents) that Santa existed! But I'd always
try and persuade (without much success) my atheistic friends to
believe in God. I went so far as to write an essay for a friend of
mine on the Arts side at school about the Big Bang, demonstrating (to
my limited imagination) that the Big Bang "proved" the existence of
God, because God had to be the cause of the Big Bang. I was rather
disappointed that my friend didn't buy that one.
But I guess the big change came in my life at the age of 16, when I
made a personal commitment. I'd attended a "house party" of the
Crusaders organization (rather reluctantly - I only agreed to go
because I thought they'd got their eyes on me as not being "keen"
enough!). It was there that I realised that a tremendous love bound
all the people together; a "something" that was definitely greater
than the sum of their parts. The people who ran the house party
definitely knew what they were doing, and emphasized the need to ask
Jesus into your life as your personal Saviour. I realised that what
I had up till then was merely an intellectual commitment, and not a
heartfelt one. The difference was felt immediately as I went home;
everything seemed very flat, and I realised that I had to do exactly
what they'd said; and I asked the Lord into my life quietly in the
privacy of my own bedroom.
I attend an Evangelical Church of England, that has moderate
charismatic tendencies. I'm very open to the idea that the gifts of
the spirit are real, but also aware that it can get divisive.
Certain people in our church got involved in the Toronto thing, and I
have to say I was a little worried at the sight of people shaking
uncontrollably - it didn't seem to me that this kind of thing was
from God, but I guess one should keep an open mind about these
things. I'd be interested to hear what other people in the group
feel about these issues.
Big "private passion" is classical music, especially the composer
Shostakovich, about whom I've written several articles, some of which
have received a measure of academic acceptance. Belonging to a
listserv devoted to the music of Shostakovich and other Russian
composers has led to many delightful friendships, and some
opportunities to share my faith as well.
Other interests involve creative writing (poetry and drama - for
outreach services in the church), and also amateur dramatics (acting
I've very much enjoyed reading other peoples' biographies and
testimonies, and hope the above provides a reasonable snapshot of me.
--- Iain.Strachan@eudoramail.com is a free email account I use for posting to public forums. To contact me personally, please write to:
iain.g.d.strachan AT ntlworld DOT com
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