Dr. John Thomson

Lecturer, School of Computer Science, University of St Andrews.

About me:

I’m a lecturer in Computer Science, here in sunny St. Andrews. My research interests include optimising compilers, video compression, HPC, embedded systems, applied machine learning, parallelisation techniques, software power-saving techniques, runtime systems and GPGPU optimisation.

PhD applicants - I’m interested in supervising students in any of the areas above. If you are interested, feel free to drop me an e-mail. The School has PhD studentships and funding available.

I arrived in St. Andrews in 2011, having lectured for almost two years at the University of Innsbruck, in the Austrian Alps. I still can’t ski though. I completed my PhD in 2008 on ‘Using Machine Learning to Automate Compiler Optimisation’ under the supervision of Professor Mike O’Boyle at the University of Edinburgh.

Selected Publications

  1. Predicting and Optimizing Image Compression
    Oleksandr Murashko, John Thomson, Hugh Leather. To appear in the Proceedings of the 24th ACM International Conference on Multimedia (MM 16) Preprint PDF

  2. Automatic OpenCL Device Characterization: Guiding Optimized Kernel Design
    Peter Thoman, Klaus Kofler and John Thomson, In the proceedings the 17th International Conference on Parallel and Distributed Computing, Euro-Par 2011 -

  3. Milepost GCC: A machine learning enabled self-tuning compiler
    Grigori Fursin, John Thomson (and 10 others). International Journal of Parallel Processing, Volume 39, Number 3 / June 2011, pp. 296--327 -

  4. Reducing Training Time and Confidence Calculation using Clustering in a Machine Learning Compiler
    John Thomson, Michael O’Boyle, Björn Franke and Grigori Fursin
    In Proceedings of Languages and Compilers for Parallel Computing LCPC 09) -

  5. Using Machine Learning to Focus Iterative Optimization
    Felix Agakov, Edwin Bonilla, John Cavazos, Björn Franke, Michael O’Boyle, John Thomson, and Chris Williams.
    Proceedings of the 4th Annual International Symposium on Code Generation and Optimization (CGO), New York, NY, March 2006 (acceptance rate 29%) - PDF
    Best presentation award. Primary author.

  6. Predictive Search Distributions
    Edwin Bonilla, Christopher K.I. Williams, Felix Agakov, John Cavazos, John Thomson and Michael F.P. O'Boyle
    In Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Machine Learning: ICML'06, Pittsburgh, PA, June 2006. (acceptance rate 19%) - PDF


Room 1.24
Jack Cole Building

North Haugh


KY16 9SX

Tel: +44 1334 463335

Email: j.thomson at st-andrews.ac.uk


Grants Awarded

  1. Automatic Portable Performance for Heterogeneous Architectures using Predictive Modelling
    From Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung, Austria
    FWF Grant No. TRP220
    2011-2014 - ~€ 350,000
    University of Innsbruck

  2. A Predictive Modelling based Approach to Portable Parallel Compilation for Heterogeneous Multi-cores
    EPSRC Grant - EP/H051988/1
    2010-2014. £494,120
    University of Edinburgh

This year I’m teaching:

CS4202 Computer Architecture