Masters in Computational Science Awarded with distinction

30 Apr 2020
30 Apr 2020

Congratulations to Matthew Coulson, who graduated in  March with a MSc in Computational Science with distinction, his thesis entitled “Machine Learning Algorithm Development for Separating Cancer Sub-Classes”.


After completing his degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering at UCT, Matthew wanted to continue his postgraduate studies. The research opportunities offered by the Scientific Computing Research Unit (SCRU) allowed him to use his existing programming skills to work on a problem with practical consequences. This provided a major motivation for him joining the unit, as it gave him an opportunity to explore research within his skill set, but with a new application. The transition between disciplines was not too challenging for Matthew, although his knowledge is primarily rooted in the realm of computing, his place in the unit was that of a top-down problem solver. His software developments help apply, implement and interpret research breakthroughs already achieved by other members of the unit.

Matthew’s masters research project dealt mainly with unsupervised learning techniques, creating software to aid in the separation of samples into clusters. One of the key research themes in the SCRU is a molecular understanding of cancer. The software Matthew developed uses gene-expression data to provide a visualization which assists in differentiation between different types of cancer cells, as well as cancer versus non-cancer cells.

Matthew is employed as a Data Scientist at Plentify a startup company that provides reliable and sustainable energy and water services.