Meet the Team: Paul Johnston

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Meet Dr. Paul Johnston who has recently joined Datamine Australia as an Optimisation software Engineer in Perth. Paul has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Mathematics and a PhD in Geophysics and over 25 years of software research and development experience across industry and higher education.

Paul will be working closely with the Datamine global team to accelerate the capabilities of our mine planning solutions for customers worldwide.

Get to know Paul a little better through the interview below:

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am an applied mathematician with a PhD in geophysics and around 30 years of commercial and academic experience in software and geophysics.  I have worked in the fields of satellite interferometry, airborne gravity and bushfire prediction.

I worked for 10 years on a Rio Tinto funded project developing an airborne gravity gradiometer in the Physics department at University of Western Australia. This involved developing a software system to record and analyse data from experiments in the lab, on the ground and in the air.  I also developed experimental methods to calibrate and improve the instrument.

I have also analysed Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar data to detect ground motion in the Latrobe Valley in Victoria, connecting the satellite-observed relative motion to the earth-centred GPS reference frame.

I have always enjoyed developing software to solve problems in an optimal way and have now joined Datamine in Perth as an Optimisation Software Engineer.

Can you explain some of the challenges you consult to your clients on in a few sentences and how you help them improve?

My clients often have a diverse range of datasets which need to be combined to be analysed as a whole.  Being able to visualize the data and present it to my clients in a coherent way enables them to understand how their data fits together and to identify other data that is required to solve the problem at hand.

What inspired your career in this industry?

The mining industry is always looking to do things more efficiently and I enjoy the challenge of finding smarter ways to solve problems.

What is the most satisfying aspect of your role / the work you do?

I am happiest when solving difficult problems, trying out different ideas, and most importantly, finding ideas that work.

What are your best memories from your career?

When testing the airborne gravity gradiometer, we mounted it in a HiAce van and took it round the Barbagallo Racetrack.  Driving past the finish line while one of my colleagues waved the checkered flag was great fun.  The data was also useful for flushing out a tricky fault with the instrument.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I enjoy rogaining which is a sport of long distance cross-country navigation in which teams of two to five members visit as many checkpoints as possible in a fixed period of time (6-24 hours). Teams travel entirely on foot, navigating by map and compass between checkpoints in terrain that varies from open farmland to hilly forest.  I recently competed in the Western Australian state championships southeast of Perth with my 10 year old daughter and 12 year old son – we travelled over 40 km in 24 hours and won the family category.

Connect with Paul on LinkedIn here.

For more information or to connect with our team, make sure to send us an enquiry.

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