Case Study: Katy Ellis

Katy is a computing liaison for the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at CERN.

A long road to CERN

Katy took A-levels in Physics, Maths, Economics and business studies and Music. At university she studied Physics and took part in an exchange year in France on a programme called the Erasmus. After this she did her PhD in experimental particle physics on the ATLAS experiment which included a year at CERN.

Computing liaison: getting physics and computing talking the same language

Particle physics experiments need a lot of large computing centres for running simulations and processing lots of data from detectors.  Katy works in a computing centre in the UK where she communicates between computing and physics experts. She looks out for problems with the computing jobs, and thinks of ways to make improvements..

I like when I can make a change to the computing system and see an improvement

In the past Katy has used lots of different types of simulation software for physics experiments and processes. Before her PhD she worked at Qinetiq on materials and EM waves as a stealth scientist. After her PhD she tested simulation software for an oil reservoir and for nuclear fusion power software.

Teamwork is essential

Essential to her job is to work in a strong and supportive team. She enjoys working as an environment where everyone can give and receive support for each other.  That said Katy also has to collaborate with other teams from other projects, all over the world! This means she is also able to travel to a lot of different countries as part of her job to attend conferences and meetings.

I like being part of a team. I like bringing people together and helping them understand each other’s point of view.”

Fun times and friends

Outside of work,  Katy enjoys taking exciting trips with friends and getting together for frequent catch ups. She is also really involved in sports and has been since a young age. Two of the sports that she took up at a young age are Taekwon-Do and skiing.