New Zealander Bruce Christianson is a Mathematician and Computer Scientist. Originally trained as a Functional Analyst, specializing in representation problems in Information and Communication Theory, he spent several years putting theory into practice as a Consultant in the Comunications Business Unit of Data Connection Ltd (now Metaswitch), before joining the University of Hertfordshire (then The Hatfield Polytechnic) in 1987.
Since then, Bruce's mathematical research has centred around Automatic Differentiation, a set of techniques for transforming scientific modelling programs so as to calculate sensitivities such as gradients efficiently and to machine precision. This traditionally labour-intensive and error-prone process is of major importance in practical areas such as optimization, simulation, and multidisciplinary design.
Bruce was principal investigator for the EPSRC funded CompAD project, which produced the world's first Adjoint Fortran compiler: a ten-year joint venture between UH, RWTH-Aachen, the German Federal Centre of Excellence for Computational Engineering Science, and NAG, the Oxford-based Numerical Algorithms Group.
However Bruce is probably more widely known for his work on Optimistic Security for Open Distributed Systems, and for his role as convenor of the long-standing Cambridge-based Security Protocols Workshop, which has provided a formative environment for many young researchers.
Bruce has supervised over twenty PhD students to successful completion, and has examined more than forty others.