I took a first degree in Natural Sciences (Physics), which remains useful in understanding how risks arise in the real world and when thinking about the units that underly the numbers in quantitative safety analysis. I then buried myself in the basement of the Oxford Nuclear Physics Laboratory to work on a doctorate on how to apply a bubble chamber film scanner to process engineering drawings.
In 1979, I joined the Programming Research Group as a Junior Research Fellow, and worked on the development of the formal specification language Z. The introduction to axiomatic set theory that I was given by Jean-Raymond Abrial has continued to influence my work on safety arguments.
I left Oxford in 1983 to become an Associate Profesor at Syracuse University, and returned to England in 1988 to take up a Lecturer position in the Computer Science Department at Manchester University, where I worked with the VDM specification language, and on tools and methods for rigorous program development.
In 1996, seeing how student numbers were rising and staff numbers were falling, I left academia to join Adelard, a small but influential safety consultancy. I worked on a wide range of projects, including DustExpert™, an industrial application of formal methods to a SIL 2 safety related advisory system, but eventually focussed on providing safety engineering support to defence projects, including Independent Safety Audit.
I retired from Adelard in July 2019, but continue to offer independent consultancy through Greyhead Consultants, and to be involved with organisations promoting good practice in functional safety.
I am a Chartered Engineer and a qualified ISO9001 Lead Auditor.