• The University of Western Australia (M019), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • Source: Scopus
  • Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
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Personal profile

Roles and responsibilities

I am interested in complex systems and how understanding of complexity can help solve real engineering and social problems. My undergraduate degree was in pure mathematics (with an honours dissertation in the history of mathematics) and my graduate degree was in applied mathematics (in nonlinear dynamical systems and nonlinear time series analysis). From 2001 I worked as a researcher and lecturer in the Electronic and Information Engineering Department of Hong Kong Polytechnic University. In 2011, I was awarded a professorial Future Fellowship from the Australian Research Council and took up a position with the School of Mathematics and Statistics, at UWA. 

I am now the inaugural CSIRO-UWA Chair in Complex Engineering Systems and hold appointments at both UWA (Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences) and CSIRO (Mineral Resources). I am institutional and theme lead of the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Transforming Maintenance through Data Science, and Adjunct Professor at Curtin University.  I am also Chief Investigator of the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Transforming Energy Infrastructure Through Digital EngineeringI am Director of the UWA research cluster on Complex Data Modelling, leader of the Complex Systems Group and head of the Applied Mathematics Section.

My academic duties include the position of Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the journal Chaos (the leading journal within my discipline and I am the only editorial board member from the southern hemisphere), Main Editor of the journal Physica A, Associate Editor of International Journal of Bifurcations and Chaos and assorted IEEE Transactions, and membership of the editorial board of several other international journals. I have served as General Chair of at least six international conferences organised in Australia and Hong Kong.  I am a trustee of the AF Pillow Applied Mathematics Trust and academic lead for the Young Lives Matter Foundation.

My research is focussed on fundamental advances and applications in the area of complex systems and dynamical systems theory. 


Recent UWA Complex Systems Seminars are available online. My ugly and dated guerilla homepage is also still accessible.

Research interests

My research is in the broad areas of Dynamical Systems Theory and Complex Systems Theory. Specifically, I am interested in the development of modern mathematical techniques and the application of these techniques to real-world problems - particularly problems that have traditional been considered as "too hard" for mathematics to solve. 

Through the Young Lives Matter Foundation I am currently working on developing a mathematical understanding of the causes and risks of suicide among young people. I am CI of a million minds mission project Transforming Indigenous Mental Health & Wellbeing, investigating issues of indigenous mental health and particularly mental health in remote communities. I also work closely with industry and am currently involved in two Industrial Training and Research Hubs with major industry partners and looking at applying mathematical modelling and data analysis to better understand vital industry processes. 

Since 2003 (and SARS in Hong Kong) I have been interested in modelling disease transmission with contact networks using the methods of Network Science. My first paper modelling super-spreaders in transmission of coronavirus was published in 2006 and much more recently featured on the front of the Wall Street Journal (sorry, pay-walled). Sometimes, academic impact takes a little while.

Industrial relevance

Previous consulting work or current industry collaborations include work with: BHP, Woodside, INPEX, Shell, Rio Tinto, Roy Hill, Alcoa, AngloAmerican, Bureau Veritas, Lloyds, MRIWA, CORE Skills, Main Roads, Water Corporation, Resource Capital Funds (RCF), Proteus Virtual Tradiing Systems (Proteus VTS) and Integrated Energy.

Previous positions

Department of Electronic and Informaation Engineering, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 2001-2011

Department of Physics, Heriot-Watt University, 1999-2001

Department of Mathematics, Stellenbosch University, 1998

Princess Margaret Hospital, 1995-1996.


Sylvia, Julia, Python, C, C++, Pascal, FORTRAN, Mathematica and MATLAB

Education/Academic qualification

Applied Mathematics, PhD, The University of Western Australia

Award Date: 28 Jun 1998

Pure Mathematics, BSc(Hons), The University of Western Australia

Award Date: 8 Dec 1994

External positions

Adjunct Professor, Curtin University

2019 → …

CSIRO-UWA Chair of Complex Engineering Systems, CSIRO Mineral Resources

2016 → …

Industry keywords

  • Mining and Resources
  • Health

Research expertise keywords

  • Complex systems
  • Complex networks
  • Non-linear dynamics
  • Non-linear time series analysis and modelling
  • Biological applications (e.g. disease transmission, neurodynamics, systems biology)
  • Disease modelling
  • Complex data modelling
  • Complex Engineering Systems


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