Staff Profile – Meet Bayesian big cat bite victim, Ben Lopez
22nd September 2020
(Lead Algorithm Statistician)
Meet Ben, a keen sportsman, a lover of animals, and also Lead Algorithm Statistician at IBEX. Although that’s Ben’s official job title, his day-to-day work certainly falls under a lot of other umbrellas. One week he’ll be working on the core methodology behind IBEX Trueview, the next he’ll be working on strategy and planning future applications of IBEX technology.
Although too modest to admit it himself, Ben has been instrumental in creating the innovative core statistical methods behind Trueview and continues to have a major impact on its development.
To get to know Ben a little better I asked him to answer a few (not too personal) questions about himself, his life, and his work:
A quick summary of what you do at IBEX?
‘My role at IBEX is quite varied. My core work is on the core methodology behind Trueview. However, I also dive into some strategy, planning future updates to IBEX’s capabilities, thinking of new ideas and applications, writing papers, health economics and classical statistical analysis for publications. Where my skills are needed, I tend to go.’
How did you find yourself at IBEX?
‘I did a PhD part sponsored by IBEX so I’ve been working with them for over 6 years. After my PhD I tried my hand in academia but after deciding that it wasn’t for me, like the proverbial prodigal son, I returned to the fold.’
Professional background, life outside of work, and some key interests?
‘I studied mathematics at Durham University before starting a PhD in Bayesian Statistics, the thesis from which forms the foundational methodology of Trueview. I specialise in subjective Bayesian inverse problem solving, namely making coherent inferences about physical systems using complex computer models. Outside of work I enjoy team and individual sports, both watching and partaking. I love cycling and open water swimming, and play football and rugby. I am happiest enjoying good food and a beverage with friends or family. I am an animal lover and have two dogs that bring me so much joy.’
What are some of your future goals and aspirations?
‘I am a pretty simple chap really; get married, have kids, always work in a job I enjoy, be happy – the usual stick.’
A moment in life that you’ll never forget?
‘I once had my head in a puma named Carlos’s mouth. Fortunately he was tame (ish) and let me go, still have some scars though.’
Your go-to productivity trick?
‘I am a big believer in conditioning yourself to work in your working environment. Don’t work and play in the same space, it just means you work badly and relax badly. A lot can also be said for turning off notifications when you need to concentrate.’
What’s surprised you about working at IBEX?
‘Life is full of surprises, picking one is just too challenging.’
There you have it, an insight into the world and mind of Ben Lopez. I’m definitely going to have to find out more about that puma story…