Andrew French

Aw man its sad when people go!



Maidstone Grammar School 1993-1998, University of Nottingham 1998-2005


A levels in Maths, Physics, Computing. BSc in Artificial Intelligence, PhD in Computer Science

Work History:

Current Job:

Lecturer in Computer Science and Biosciences


University of Nottingham

Me and my work

I work with computers and cameras to learn stuff about the world around us

We use cameras much like people use their eyes – to see things about us, to measure things, and to work out the shapes of objects.

I work in a field called “image analysis” which just means working out what things in images mean. ┬áSo for example, the way your digital camera or phone can detect a face and focus on it? That’s image analysis.

I work mainly with other scientists, analysing what’s in their pictures using computer algorithms, and measuring things for them. For example, if biologists want to measure the size of some plants, we can take pictures of them and write software to do these measurements for them automatically. This is important if you have thousands of plants to measure!

To me, getting computers to understand the world using vision is one of the hardest artificial intelligence challenges.

My Typical Day

I don’t have a typical day — but any day can include programming, reading about other peoples work, coming up with ideas for new projects, learning how to use new pieces of kit, giving talks to students and other scientists, and of course working on our current scientific projects (doing experiments!)

I work closely with biologists and mathematicians and engineers, so I’d probably have quite a few chats with those folks throughout the day for various projects. Quite a bit of science these days involves people from lots of backgrounds working together, which is cool.

What I'd do with the money

There’s money?? :) I’ve always liked the idea of building a demo image analysis setup using Lego as a way of communicating what I do, so maybe that.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Techie, inquisitive, friendly

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Loads! Last album bought: Deadmau5

What's your favourite food?

Curry! (Really hot!). Or maybe burgers.

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Working with robots is fun

What did you want to be after you left school?

A computer programmer doing artificial intelligence stuff!

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Maybe just a little bit, once in a while?

What was your favourite subject at school?

Science and computing

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

I was always wondering how things worked, and why they worked

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

A musician (a bad one)

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

Tell us a joke.

How do you find your lost pet gorilla? Hide in a tree and make a noise like a banana.

Other stuff

Work photos:

An example of the kind of ‘eyes’ I work with: