My research interests centre on Applied Research in Financial Services and the Creative Industries, and Entrepreneurship. I am principally known for pioneering the use of computational techniques in finance, where my team's research underpinned much of the early work on automated fraud detection, and led to the launch of the highly successful SearchSpace company. I have pioneered the use of 3D Body Scanning for the Clothing Industry, including being Director of the UK National Sizing Survey (SizeUK) and launching the Bodymetrics and Sizemic fashion technology companies. More recently I have worked with Prof. Stephen Emmott, Director of External Research for Microsoft and Visiting Professor at UCL, on 'Tools to enhance Creativity', and a 'Computational Science' for The Arts.
In the computational finance area I am best known for launching the use of AI techniques, especially in the area of fraud detection. Current work includes: trading & risk systems and 'venture analytics' - tools to assist early-stage venture capital investment (with Prof. Mike Smith), financial trading systems (with Giuseppe Nuti of Deutsche Bank), fraud detection & compliance (with Fabio Corzo). In the past I have also done research with Supermarket Groups on the application of computational techniques to retail.
UCL is the leading UK 3D body scanning centre. I serve as Director of the UK National Sizing Survey which measured 11,000 subjects using 3D whole body scanners to automatically extract 130 body measurements from each subject. This research was supported by most of the leading UK clothing cmpanies. It involved collaboration with my colleague Prof. Bernard Buxton, Jeni Bougourd of the London College of Fashion and Andrew Crawford of Bodymetrics. (The DTI state that SizeUK received more media coverage both nationally and internationally than any other project they funded.)
Subsequently I was advisor to United States Sizing Survey (SizeUSA - a collaboration with Dr. David Bruner of TC2) and am currenly advising the Thai Government on a national sizing survey. I serve on the European Sizing Co-operation (a consortium of the largest European clothing companies) which is interested in standardising clothing size labelling in Europe, and in a pan European Sizing Survey.
I also collaborate with the Institute of Child Health (Dr. Jonathan Wells and Prof. Tim Cole) on the use of body scanning for healthcare applications such as epdemiology, the screening of children for obesity and growth defects.
Fashion Science or Digital Fashion centres on clothes visualisation, size/fit recommendation and personal size advice through channels such as in-store kiosks, CD ROMs, Internet and interactive digital TV. This work has been supported by the DTI-funded Centre for 3D Electronic Commerce, various CEC funded projects and retail companies. I am currently working closely with Marilyn Bellock (a US Entrepreneur) and Sue Jenkyn Jones ( London College of Fashion) on a personal Style Advisor system, called FashionEye.
Prof. Stephen Emmott (Microsoft, Director of External Research) and I coined the term Intelligent Media to cover the application of Science & Technology to the Creative Industries. Intelligent Media is revolutionising The Arts and Humanities:
I have been in the forefront at UCL in encouraging Entrepreneurship, and also researching mechanisms to encourage staff and students to launch high-tech start-ups based on their research. Working with Prof. Mike Smith, we have developed the so-called Virtual Company strategy.
For many years, nearly every high-technology start-up has been built on the dream of raising millions of dollars of venture capital, working frantically for two to three years to build value, then going public or selling the venture for a vast amount of money. We call this the Venture Capital paradigm, and argue it is unrealistic for aspiring UK entrepreneurs, such as university staff and students.
Our Virtual Company paradigm encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to identify a moneymaking idea, assemble a team, explore new markets and grow the business organically. We teach (and practice) that while investment, IPO, trade sale and other forms of harvest are desirable outcomes, entrepreneurs should not overlook the option of creating durable businesses that they intended to operate personally for a considerable part of their career. Although not appropriate for all new ventures, we believe the Virtual Company is a viable option in the UK for many entrepreneurs who are seeking to create high-technology ventures. We also encourage technologists to consider founding new ventures as a natural, early and career-boosting step, even if their ultimate aspirations are to work within established businesses.
I and my colleagues are currently working with a number of staff and students, and external entrepreneurs, to incubate ideas for high-tech Start-ups.