Dr Tom Townsend

Dr Tom Townsend

Senior Lecturer
UNSW Canberra
School of Professional Studies

I am an experienced IT leader who is passionate about technology and higher education. I have 20 years’ experience in the higher education sector, predominantly in professional roles, but always with some academic involvement. I have also been a consultant, working across several federal government departments. I have established myself as an adaptable and dependable IT leader with experience developing strategies and providing broad technical and architectural advice, leading teams, and collaborating effectively to deliver positive outcomes.

Some of my career highlights include designing and leading a program of work to help Australian National University recover from a serious cyber incident, leading the development of a wide variety of strategies, and the successful delivery of several transformation programs. Since making the move to full time academia, I have been primarily focused on teaching activities and exploring a range of research activities.

  • Books | 2010
    Townsend TG, 2010, Microsoft Hyper-V Tfm
  • Journal articles | 2023
    Yang S; Barlow M; Townsend T; Liu X; Samarasinghe D; Lakshika E; Moy G; Lynar T; Turnbull B, 2023, 'Reinforcement Learning Agents Playing Ticket to Ride-A Complex Imperfect Information Board Game With Delayed Rewards', IEEE Access, 11, pp. 60737 - 60757, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/ACCESS.2023.3287100
    Journal articles | 2021
    Samarasinghe Widana Arachchige D; Barlow M; Lakshika E; Lynar T; Moustafa N; Townsend T; Turnbull B, 2021, 'A Data Driven Review of Board Game Design and Interactions of Their Mechanics', IEEE Access, 9, pp. 114051 - 114069, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/ACCESS.2021.3103198
    Journal articles | 2017
    Townsend T; Mohammadian M, 2017, 'Implementing green IT through virtualisation: A case study', Journal of Telecommunication, Electronic and Computer Engineering, 9, pp. 51 - 56
  • Conference Papers | 2019
    Townsend T; Mohammadian M; John B, 2019, 'Efficient Use of Data Centres-Factors Affecting Service Availability in Large Organisations based on IT and Data Centre Selection', in 2019 4th International Conference on Information Systems and Computer Networks, ISCON 2019, pp. 773 - 781, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/ISCON47742.2019.9036235

I pride myself on broad experience and cross-disciplinary foundation which allows me to think ‘outside the box’. I have experience with both qualitative and quantitative research methods which have been valuable in an academic and professional context. Throughout 2020 till 2023, I worked as a part of a cross-disciplinary research team on two projects, “From Boardgame to Wargame – Game Design for Real-World AI-Enabled Analysis” and “Model Abstraction for Military Wargaming”. The projects have several aspects, across AI (Reinforcement Learning), Simulation, Serious Games, Wargaming, with aspects of Computer Science and Design Science. 

My PhD research took a Design Science approach to explore the relationship between IT infrastructure and data centres within the context of services availability. Presenting a series of models and recommendations for the deployment of highly available IT systems by taking a mixed method approach including modelling, scenarios, semi-structured interviews and thematic analysis.

My Teaching

I am an Education Focused (EF) academic in the field of Cyber Security. I teach into two postgraduate programs, the Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security Leadership and the Master of Cyber Security (Online). In addition to teaching, I am heavily involved in program leadership for both programs as well as course development. The courses I'm primarily responsible for teaching (at time of writing) are:

  • Foundations of Organisational Cyber Security (ZSPS9000)
  • Cyber Management and Governance (ZZCA9221)
  • Cyber Security Management and Leadership Capstone Project (ZZCA9208)