DISCnet Students Profiles

Billy Ford - 2017 Entry

University of Southampton

Project TBC - SHEP Group, Theory


About Billy

I completed my undergraduate study at the University of Southampton, graduating in 2016 with first class honours. After a year out applying to PhD programs I finally arrived back where I started, in Southampton with a funded DISCnet studentship! My research interests are in theoretical high energy physics. In my undergraduate degree I completed an MPhys project on the AdS/CFT correspondence and it's application to QCD interactions at colliders, and now in my PhD I will be focusing on using big data techniques to investigate jet clustering algorithms from boosted Higgs to b b bar decays at

the LHC. 

I was incredibly excited by the opportunity to study in the DISCnet CDT, as, looking forward to after my PhD is completed, the skills developed would be hugely beneficial in industry. Additionally, the inclusion of work placements enabling us to undergo a project implementing our data science skills to solving real world problems is huge, as well as the ability to network and potentially make contacts with people in industry.

What have you done in the first 6 months?

As a member of the SHEP group at Southampton, we undergo a taught year of lectures in several areas of theoretical physics before researching, to give us time to decide what exactly we want to research. We also submit two large ‘problems’, presented as if they were original research, and present them in an internal departmental seminar. A few colleagues and I presented the Christmas problem on Compton scattering differential cross sections, calculated in quantum field theory, and are now onto the second round of courses, including QFT II/III, neutrino physics, phenomonology and beyond the standard model physics.

My next step at this current stage is to continue engaging with the internal physics lectures and DISCnet training, and to look forward to my upcoming work placements looking at data science applications in financial markets.


Why did you chose a DISCnet funded PhD?

The DISCnet program has enabled us the attend several conferences composed of lectures on certain aspects of data science, such as statistical modelling, cloud computing, bash programming and version control. We also attended a national data science CDT event in Cardiff, where we attended workshops with students from universities all over the country.​ Additionally to industry engagement is something which is of particular interest to me, as I am quite interested in the idea of moving out of academia into industry as a career following my postgraduate studies.

 Keep up with Billy's research on his LinkedIn, and email.