David Spendlove

Current student

Course
PhD Student
Study area
Computer Science

I like being more involved in the day-to-day workings of the university and it's always interesting to meet other PhD students from completely different areas.

Please explain your PhD project?

Developing any kind of new system usually begins with defining what it is that the system will be required to do. From those requirements, you can then create diagrams that illustrate how the intended system will work, as well as how the various components will interact. It is possible to use those diagrams as models and run simulations on them, but there are limitations to what you can simulate. My project aims to explore ways in which the requirements may initially be structured, to allow for more complex tests and simulations to be used with the models later.

What were you doing before you started your PhD?

I was completing my BSc and MSc degrees at Loughborough. Before that, I was working whilst taking night school classes on computer networks.

Why did you choose Loughborough University?

It was mainly just the convenient location for my undergraduate course, however I wanted to stay on for my postgraduate studies. It's a great campus with some excellent facilities and there are plenty of opportunities for networking.

How are you funding your studies?

I have a fully-funded studentship from the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Embedded Intelligence, with Rolls Royce as my Industrial Sponsor.

What do you enjoy the most about studying a PhD with us?

I like being more involved in the day-to-day workings of the university and it's always interesting to meet other PhD students from completely different areas.

Describe what it is like to study a PhD, and how this differs from undergraduate/masters study?

With a BSc or MSc, you start off with structured modules and then end with a more open-ended project, whereas a PhD starts off open-ended, but you need to structure how you're going to get the work done and then focus on something very specific by the end. There aren't really any timetables, coursework, or mark schemes, except for those that you make for yourself.

Describe a day in the life of a PhD student?

It varies a lot from day to day. Usually, I try to mix things up and balance spending my time on different things, like researching, coding, meetings and working in computer labs. Although, sometimes I do just sit there and read journal articles all day (I wouldn't recommend you do that too often).

Why did you decide to undertake a PhD in your area?

I've always had an interest in how electrical devices are designed and why certain design choices are made, however I've also studied computer networking and software development. My project is based in the Systems Engineering area, but also touches on plenty of topics from Computer Science, so it covers most of the things that I've had an interest in over the years.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

My current plan is that I'll be working as a Research Associate in a university.

If you could give one piece of advice to a future PhD student, what would it be?

Don't let yourself get overwhelmed and always remember that there is plenty of support available to you.