Simon’s eclectic background includes stints in France, Switzerland and Italy, so he brings us a welcome Continental viewpoint, as well as being in demand for translations! He’s also the official Cresset party animal. When Simon had a spare minute we woke him up (he’d been out clubbing all weekend) and asked him a few questions:
1. What was your first job?
Software developer at F4 Informatique, Geneva. I was developing a web client in Java, working with a small team. Before that I’d done work experience at CERN in Geneva – does that count?
2. What are you most proud of?
Getting first class honors on my Masters degree in Computer Science at the University of Bristol.
3. Who has been your biggest influence professionally?
My father, because he has always pushed me to succeed in my studies and my career.
4. What do you think about the future of drug discovery technology?
Expanding and growing. I think we will see major improvements in the speed of software and hardware associated with drug discovery.
5. What do you love most about your job?
I’m interested in high performance computing and enjoy the feeling of reward I get from optimizing software, in particular, focusing on accelerating Cresset’s software by adapting it and running it on graphical processing units. The faster it goes, the happier I am! Once it’s done, you will be able to run Blaze on GPUs at a fraction of the cost of a computing cluster – you can replace a 100-computer cluster with 4 or 5 cheap graphics cards instead. Cresset’s desktop tools will also gain the capacity to use GPUs for some calculations, meaning that alignment runs that used to take hours will be done in minutes .
6. So, how much faster is it going to be?
I’m getting about a 40x speedup on one consumer graphics card compared to a CPU core, and there’s still lots more optimization to do!
7. What would you eat for your last meal on earth?
My mum’s lasagne.
8. You’re forced to go on holiday tomorrow: where would you go?
Yasawa Islands, Fiji.
9. Do you have any hobbies which others might find surprising?
Kick boxing, DJ’ing. I have been practicing kick boxing for 3 years. I have been an amateur DJ for a couple of years, mainly house and techno.
We welcome Simon to Cresset, and are sure that the improvements he’s working on will bring great benefits to our customers! The Cresset science team is already planning what we’ll do with the new technology: faster field similarity calculations means we will be able to do science that could not be done before, such as using field similarities to compare entire collections of molecules, do diversity analyses and provide real-time feedback. Exciting times ahead…