• Undergraduate degree: first-class honours for Computer Engineering from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka in 2015
  • Scholarship: TFS scholarship from UNSW
  • Research partner: Garvan Institute of Medical Research
  • Supervisor: Professor Sri Parameswaran
  • Research fields: Embedded Systems and Bioinformatics

Why did you choose UNSW Computer Science Engineering to undertake your research project? 

I chose UNSW mainly due to the very positive recommendations from CSE alumni about the embedded systems research group and the reputation of my supervisor, Professor Sri Parameswaran. Also, Sydney's climate (no sub-zero temperatures!) and UNSW's campus location were an added plus.

Can you tell us about your research project?

My thesis project is architecture-aware performance optimisation of compute and memory intensive DNA analysis software. The aim of the project is to optimise the associated DNA analysis algorithms and data structures, that were originally developed for high-performance computers, to a level that allows them to run on lightweight embedded systems. 

Why did you choose this particular project? 

I have a strong interest in biology as much as for computer engineering. This multi-disciplinary project which is an overlap in biological DNA analysis and hardcore computer engineering was an ideal match for me. Additionally, this project has the potential to change the direction of healthcare through the provision of DNA analysis based medical diagnostic tests in-the-field and point-of-care.

What do you hope to achieve with your research? 

I hope to achieve a fully-fledged prototype of a portable embedded system capable of processing third-generation nanopore DNA data in-the-field (remote locations without the Internet) or point-of-care (hospitals or clinics). The prototype will include both the hardware and software that performs the analysis.

What are your goals after study? 

My goal after studying is to pursue an impactful research career in the same research area, an overlap of DNA analysis and computer engineering fields, and to take part in interesting projects that intrigue me.

If you are interested in learning more about this research or other projects please contact the School of Computer Science and Engineering.