Our research started with a collaboration between a geologist and a computer scientist, therefore let me introduce you those two members of our team:
Professor Matthew Bennett is a sedimentologist with over 25 years of experience in working in Quaternary sedimentology and geomorphology. During this time he has published five textbooks, edited five volumes and over 100 research papers in a diverse range of fields including environmental geology, stratigraphy, glacial sedimentology, Quaternary geology, and geo-archaeology. Matthew is currently working in various part of Africa on the evolution of human locomotion. This follows publication of a paper in Science in 2009 which reported details of the second oldest footprint site in the world. In conjunction with Dr Marcin Budka he was awarded a NERC Innovation Award to translate the academic research on ancient footprints into a tool for use by the forensic community. DigTrace went live in July 2016 (www.digtrace.co.uk).
Dr Marcin Budka is a data scientist with extensive industrial experience whose research interests lie in areas of machine learning, data mining, predictive modelling and computational intelligence, with a particular focus on practical applications. Marcin has received his PhD in Computational Intelligence from Bournemouth University in 2010, complementing his earlier BSc in Computer Science (2005) and dual MA/BA in Finance and banking (2003). With almost 40 publications to his name and multiple external and internal funding awards (including NERC and Innovate UK), his research trajectory is aligned with practical needs in various domains, including the study of ancient footprints, forensics (both in the context of track analysis and computer vision for face recognition), and public transport innovation, to name a few.
During the process of DigTace development Matthew and Marcin engaged with forensic scientists both in the UK and US, and received positive feedback on the potential of three-dimensional imaging in a forensic context.
Our team could not exist without a skilled and dedicated software developer:
Rashid Bakirov has his Diploma/M.Sc. degree in Computer Science from the University of Siegen, Germany in 2009. After this he has been employed in various research and industry positions related to data science and software development. Since 2012 he is a PhD student at Bournemouth University, focusing on adaptive machine learning and a part-time demonstrator for Data Mining unit. Rashid has been involved with developing DigTrace software since 2015.
Finally, it’s time to introduce myself – Dominika Budka, the person responsible for spreading brilliance of the DigTrace to the public, especially to the people interested in a) Crime and Crime Scene and b) traces of vanished life, whether they were left by a dinosaur or an ancient human ancestor.
I have received Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Journalism in 2007. This year I have completed MSc in Forensic & Neuropsychological Perspectives in Face-Processing at Bournemouth University, examining prevalence and characteristics of developmental prosopagnosia in teenagers. Currently I am working as a Dissemination Officer, and in the near future I am planning to carry on with forensic research at the doctoral level.