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22/10/2019 11:54:35

When and why did you join JACOBS?
Last century! I joined, then Halcrow, in 1998 after finishing a PhD. I wanted to stay mathematical/technical, put my programming skills I’d learnt over the years to use and a post became available doing just that in a Flood Modeller (or ISIS as it was called then) software development role, which seemed ideal to me – I’d like to think we were a perfect match, and we’re still together after more than 21 years.

Meet the team - Konrad Adams

What is your background/ role experience?
Maths, maths and more maths! After my Bachelor degree, I worked for a couple of years at the Ministry of Defence in Bath, where I learnt the bulk of my computer programming (in Fortran), before returning to academia for the next five years, to pursue a Masters in Industrial Applied Maths, a PhD and then as a research assistant, before joining the real world again. Since joining Jacobs (formerly Halcrow and CH2M Hill), my major role has been in the development of the computational side of the software, but we get involved in all aspects – customer support, training, marketing, etc. I am also a user of the software and am currently working on implementing Flood Modeller models within the Environment Agency’s new Incident Management Forecasting System.

As a Flood Modeller software developer could you explain a bit more about the software?
It’s the industry standard fluvial modelling software in the UK, used for a variety of applications, mainly associated with flood risk, but also sediment transport and water quality and low flow studies too. Its origins were in open channel watercourse modelling, solving the one-dimensional shallow water equations, coupled with a whole range of hydraulic structures, but with time and technology advances, it has expanded over the years to cover additional features, such as 2D solvers, to enhance floodplain modelling, and has a comprehensive GIS-based interface for model building, visualisation and creation of flood maps, etc.

What has been your career highlight so far?
I think the decision by the Environment Agency (as well as other national bodies) to adopt Flood Modeller as their fluvial modelling software of choice for their (present and future) Flood Forecasting Systems. Knowing that the tools that you are working on are continually used to aid decision making to make people safer is a fillip, and also easily relatable to the outside world; although not directly related to Flood Modeller, the recent great efforts and response in Whaley Bridge demonstrated the importance of incident management.

What are you currently working on?
We are a large team now rather than the couple of individuals we were when I first joined, and we need to keep pace with modern technology. So although I’ve taken a slight step back from the front line, some of the projects we are working on are exciting – for instance, looking at new solvers for the 2D shallow water equations (predominantly for floodplain modelling): either on a flexible, triangular mesh (which will make computation more efficient by being able to focus on areas of interest) or running the simulations by using the computer’s graphics card (GPU) – this improves simulation times as the bulk of the calculations are spread across numerous computational cores simultaneously. Personally, I’m also working on more improvements for our dynamic link to the SWMM model, which enables us to have a full integrated link with open channel, overland flooding and drainage systems.

What are your hobbies? What do you do when you are not working?
I returned to my teenage hobby of competitive swimming nearly ten years ago, and although my times are somewhat slower now, it’s more relaxed, and a great way to (pretend to) keep fit; I am also a qualified swimming coach. Also, I play cricket for the office team during the summer and am proud to be their longest continuous serving player (and the leading wicket taker in the team’s history). Other than that, weekends are usually reserved for finding interesting places to walk the dog with the family.

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