Professor Muffy Calder holding the front page of the book, The Laws of Thought.

I wanted to be a scientist for as long as I can remember, and I went to university to study Mathematics and Physics. I didn’t know about computing then and indeed a teacher at school had told me that I wouldn’t like computing but I took a course in programming at university and just loved it! I found it was my calling.

Professor Dame Muffy Calder

Computing science is science, with fundamental laws and principles, and engineering, because we apply those laws to test out ideas and construct new software. A beautiful thing about computing is that you
can do it anywhere; you don’t always need a computer. You can think about a program – how to encode an algorithm or the data you want to collect – out on the hills, in the bathtub, or walking to work.

My research focuses on modelling and reasoning about complex, interactive sensor-based systems, for example, systems that are used to monitor and manage environmental conditions; smart water networks where valves and pumps are switched on and off remotely; and mixed-reality systems that blend computer, human and physical behaviours. I construct computational models and use them to test how the system behaves under different circumstances. The questions that drive me are, ‘does your system do what you think it does; what you want it to do; and can the data be trusted, as sensors get damaged, moved, hacked or have a software upgrade?’

Muffy is holding a copy of the front page of the book, The Laws of Thought, on which are founded the mathematical theories of logic and probabilities, written by George Boole in Boole is the inventor of Boolean Logic, one of the foundations of computing science. Boolean algebra is Muffy’s favourite algebra!