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.
Before beginning my PhD, I was completing my BSc and MSc degrees at Loughborough. Before that, I was working whilst taking night school classes on computer networks. It was mainly just the convenient location for my undergraduate course that made me choose Loughborough originally, however I wanted to stay on for my postgraduate studies. It is a great campus with some excellent facilities and there are plenty of opportunities for networking.
I have a fully-funded studentship from the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Embedded Intelligence, with Rolls Royce as my industrial sponsor.
One of the things I enjoy most about my PhD is being more involved in the day-to-day workings of the University. It is always interesting to meet other PhD students from completely different areas.
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 are not really any timetables, coursework or mark schemes, except for those that you make for yourself.
My daily routine varies a lot during the week. 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 would not recommend you do that too often!). 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 have had an interest in over the years.
For the future, my current plan is that I'll be working as a Research Associate in a university.
For any student considering doing a PhD, I would say do not let yourself get overwhelmed and always remember that there is plenty of support available to you.