A Week in the Life of James Stovold

Image of James Stovold

What is James studying?

James is in his second year of studying for his PhD, and he is a member of the Non-Standard Computation research group. James' research interests are in the crossover between artificial neural networks and cognitive swarm robotics.

Before his PhD, James did an MEng in Computer Science at York – a five year course which included a year in industry at BAE Systems.

Where is James from?

James is originally from south London in the UK. He is currently Chair of the Graduate Common Room Committee in Langwith College.


I always have a lab meeting on a Monday morning: everybody who uses the Robot Lab meets up and we discuss any problems we are having, and give an indication of what we want to achieve over the following week.

After this, I grab a coffee and make my way to my office in the Ron Cooke Hub to start working. Today I'm analysing the results from a series of experiments I set running on Friday afternoon.

After lunch, I have an RDT session (Researcher Development Team), which is looking at the most effective methods to use when lecturing. Once I'm back home, I get changed and head out to the gym.


I have a meeting this morning with both of my supervisors, where we discuss the progress I'm making with the conference paper I'm currently writing, and my progress with my PhD studies in general.

I take the afternoon off, and head out for training on my bike - usually around 40-50 miles in the Yorkshire Wolds. In the evening, I make up for the time I spent on my bike by working for a few hours, and organising any changes I need to make to my code. After I've done this, I head to the gym.


I head over to the gym first thing, before getting to campus to teach in one of the lab sessions. I then make my way to the Heslington West campus for lunch in The Courtyard with a couple of friends.

Wednesday afternoon is usually reserved for sports, so I head out with the University of York Cycling Club for another quick session. After a 40 mile ride in the countryside outside York, I head home for dinner with my flatmates and a drink in the local pub.


This morning, I have another lab demonstration and a seminar to teach. I love teaching seminars: they are always on really interesting topics, and allow for a much higher level of engagement with the students.

After the seminar, I head back to my office and finish working on my simulation software. I then set a series of experiments running, and head out for a 60 mile ride on my bike. In the evening, I have a couple of friends coming over to the house for dinner and a few drinks.


I have another lab demonstration first thing, after which I head to my office to check on the experiments I set running the day before. I spend most of the morning analysing the results, before heading to a departmental seminar, where a speaker has been invited in to talk about computational immunology.

In the afternoon, I have a meeting with other members of my College. I am Chair of the Graduate Common Room Committee in Langwith College, and we organize various events and trips throughout the year, and represent the College's graduate population to the rest of the university. 


On Saturdays, I usually join the University Cycling Club for a long bike ride out into the country. Today, however, I'm going out solo into the (very misty) Wolds for an 85 mile bike ride at 6am.

I'm back from my ride before midday, and have time to shower and grab lunch before going over to the Computer Science department where I am running demonstrations for prospective students as part of our UCAS interview days. I then spend the evening relaxing at home with a film.


I have a more leisurely start this morning over breakfast with my flatmates, and then I meet up with friends from the Cycling Club for a short bike ride. In the evening, I have time for some reading, and I prepare for the week ahead.

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Computer Science student with robots

View of River Ouse and Kings Arms pub

Students playing football