Diamond appoints new Head of Scientific Computing and a new Head of Beamline Controls

Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron, has recently appointed Dr Andrew Richards as its new Head of Scientific Computing. He joins Ulrik Pedersen who became Head of Diamond’s Beamline Controls Group in September. Alongside the Data Analysis and Data Acquisition Groups, they are responsible for delivering the computing capability to underpin the science facility’s cutting edge research and operational activities.

Dr Richards joins Diamond from the University of Oxford, where he led the Advanced Research Computing facility and was an Associate Director of the Oxford e-Research Centre. One of the country’s leading figures in e-infrastructure developments, he is a member of the UK National e-Infrastructure Project Directors Group, in which he continues to be involved.

Ulrik Pedersen joined Diamond in 2005 from CERN, Geneva as a Software Systems Engineer to design, commission and maintain control systems on Diamond Phase-I and II beamlines. In his new role he now leads the Beamline Controls Group – a team of engineers that design, build and maintain the software and hardware of the control systems on beamlines, enabling scientists to control, monitor, and synchronise instrumentation to perform their experiments.

Diamond’s CEO, Andrew Harrison, said: “With their many years of experience in developing e-infrastructure and software development, Andrew and Ulrik are great additions to the Diamond team. They and their colleagues provide vital support to the globally important research conducted at our facility and ensure we are well placed to serve the international science community.”

Commenting on his appointment, Dr Richards said: “It’s an exciting time to join the team at Diamond Light Source. My role will be to lead sustainable and cutting edge developments in IT to support the invaluable, pioneering research across the facility into the future.”

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BCPdlsAndrewRichards20Dr Andrew Richards

After achieving his PhD in Structural Geology at the University of Keele, and a period collaborating with the oil and gas industry in the development of new software algorithms, Dr Richards moved to the then CCLRC Daresbury Laboratory as a software engineer.

From 2004 to 2010 he developed and led various grid-related projects, including acting as the Executive Director for the UK National Grid Service. He was also involved in a number of EU FP6 and FP7 projects (including the EGEE and EGI Design study projects) related to e-infrastructure development.

In 2010 he moved to University College London to develop the inaugural research data service, before moving to the University of Oxford in 2011.

BCPdlsUlrikPedersen04Ulrik Pedersen

Pedersen gained his Bachelor of Science in Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering from Engineering College of Aarhus, Denmark (currently known as ‘Ingeniør Højskolen Aarhus Universitet’).

Between 2004 and 2005 he was a Technical Student in the IT-CO group at CERN, Geneva and was involved in developing and supporting LabVIEW control and test systems for high voltage power converters. During this work placement he completed his final degree thesis.

He joined Diamond in 2005 as a Software Systems Engineer to design, commission and maintain control systems on Diamond Phase-I and II beamlines. In 2013 he was appointed Senior Software Systems Engineer in the Beamline Controls Group. He was initially team leader of the MX Controls Team and then led the new Beamline Controls Development Team with focus on longer term software development projects, mainly in support of high performance X-ray detectors.