School of Earth and Environment

Alistair McDougall

Scientific Programmer (InSAR)

Email address:

Affiliation: Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics


I completed my PhD at the University of Canterbury NZ in 2014, working on the development of a high-performance computation method for planetary detections from gravitational microlensing events ( Through this work I developed an automated data pipeline to retrieve, process and model (single-lens) daily all of the current years microlensing event data on a cluster compute system. I extended this to include a planetary detection system using high-performance GPUs (Graphics Processing Units), which is able to process ongoing and completed events within a few hours, rather than the days to weeks it previously took.

After returning to the UK, I worked at the University of Oxford in the Clinical Trials Service Unit as a programmer/analyst. I was involved in the data curation and processing of medical records as part of the UK Biobank project (, and developed software tools for several other various clinical trials.

At the University of Leeds I am now working as a Scientific Programmer on the development of a visualisation system for processed Sentinel-1 data.


  • PhD in Physics (University of Canterbury, NZ)
    • Thesis Title: Gravitational microlensing, an automated high-performance modelling system.

  • MPhy in Physics with Astrophysics (University of York, UK)
    • Thesis Title: Observational astronomy of asteroids.



  • Dennis William Moore Scholarship (2013-2014)
  • B G Wybourne Scholarship in Physics or Astronomy (2011)


Alistair McDougall; Michael D. Albrow (2015) Microlensing observations rapid search for exoplanets: MORSE code for GPUs, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 456 (1): 565-570, doi: 10.1093/mnras/stv2609