Adam Neal

Adam took the leap from undergraduate straight to PhD after researching the role of the CDT in detail.

What were your main reasons for choosing to undertake postgraduate research at University of Liverpool?

As I did my BSc in Computer Science at University of Liverpool, with an overall great experience, I was already set on the idea of undertaking postgraduate research at the university. I initially applied and got accepted onto a MSc in Advanced Computer Science but after receiving emails from the CDT in Distributed Algorithms, I did some reading on what work they were doing and what they offered as a CDT, and then I was set on foregoing my MSc and going straight to PhD.

Can you summarise your postgraduate research in a few sentences?

My PhD project is trying to apply reinforcement learning algorithms in cyber defence scenarios while taking into consideration the impact it has on the real world. Currently, most decisions made in the context of cyber defence is to maximise availability of services on a network, as the assumption is this would increase the ability for the network to be used in such a way that it has some real-world effect.

However, it is uncommon for the relationship between service availability and the real-world impact of decisions to be considered when decision-making is happening within cyber defence. This can mean in some cases cyber defence systems can fail to respond to situations in the way you may want them to.,Learning,for,Physically,Aware,Cyber,Defence.pdf

How do you believe postgraduate research will help your career prospects?

I hope to work within the defence sector before hopefully returning to academia in the long run. The skills developed within my postgraduate research should help me fit straight into teams to help collaborate on projects, as teamwork is one of the core principles of the CDT in Distributed Algorithms. The connections I will make throughout my PhD in my specific field should also help me in both my research and industry career.

What advice would you give to anyone considering undertaking a PhD?

Anyone who has ever applied for a PhD (or has considered it) has had imposter syndrome at some point but it is important to believe in yourself and not to be intimidated by the fact a PhD is a big commitment. It is also important to know when to take a break, and to not feel guilty when you do take one.