Dr. Damien Foster

Professor of Statistical PhysicsExecutive ,  Director of the Center for Data Science Head of School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics Coventry University

Dr. Damien Foster

Professor of Statistical PhysicsExecutive , Director of the Center for Data Science Head of School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics Coventry University

British born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1966, Damien has spent much of his life abroad, with periods in South Africa, Italy, France and USA. He is married with three children.

With a strong interest in Physics, he graduated in 1989 with a first-class honours degree in Mathematical Physics from the University of Edinburgh, and continued to study for his doctorate, under Professor Julia Yeomans, at the University of Oxford. His doctorate was in the field of Theoretical and Computational Physics on the subject of Lattice Models of Polymers.

After Oxford, he was employed as a post-doctoral researcher at the prestigious SPEC laboratories at the Saclay site of the French Atomic Energy Authority (CEA) working with Dr Claude Godrèche on systems far from equilibrium, including the totally asymmetric exclusion process and then the University of Pittsburgh working with Professor Anna Balazs on Block Copolymer melts. From 1994-2013 he was first assistant Professor and then associate Professor in Physics at the University of Cergy-Pontoise, France.

In 2013 he moved to Coventry as first Head of Department of Mathematics and Physics and Professor in Statistical Physics, and then in 2015 as Head of School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics. In 2019 he founded a new multi-disciplinary centre in Data Science, which he now directs.

Much of Damien’s career has been devoted to the study of complex systems using Information Theoretic methods, both theoretically and through computational methods. There is a strong overlap between Statistical Physics and Data Science, as both deal with emergent behaviours from large data sets and complex systems. Much of the ground work of modern Data Science has its roots in the foundational Statistical methods at the heart of Statistical Physics, as well as many of the advanced computational techniques used.