School of Computing

Peter Welch

Emeritus Professor of Parallel Computing

Photo of Peter Welch, if available
  • Room --
    School of Computing
    University of Kent,
    CT2 7NF


My publications are available from the University of Kent's Academic Repository.

Research Interests

I belong to the following research groups:

My Research Projects

Here are some of the projects and working groups in which I'm currently involved:

CoSMoS logo


CoSMoS: Complex Systems Modelling and Simulation
People: Peter Welch, Fred Barnes, Carl Ritson, Douglas Warren

TUNA logo


TUNA: Theories Underpinning Nanite Assemblers
People: Peter Welch, Fred Barnes, Carl Ritson

KRoC logo


KRoC: Kent Retargetable occam-pi Compiler
People: Peter Welch, Fred Barnes, Carl Ritson

RMoX logo


RMoX: A Lightweight, Flexible and Concurrent Operating System
People: Fred Barnes, Peter Welch, Carl Ritson

JCSP logo


JCSP: CSP for Java
People: Peter Welch, Neil Brown

IFIP WG 2.4 logo


IFIP: Working Group 2.4 (Software Implementation Technology)
People: Peter Welch

The common theme in the above is lightweight and dynamic concurrency. I am interested in its theory, practice and education. Supporting the latter are materials for a short course on occam-pi.

My Teaching

I've been fortunate that, for most of my career, I've been able to teach subjects that I love, that I really believe in and on which my research efforts concentrate. Currently (see Bio below), this focusses on concurrency - its theory, support tools (programming languages, libraries, compilers, runtime kernels) and applications (image processing, complex systems modelling, emergent behaviour). The main course for this is "Concurrency Practice and Design", which can be taken at Stage 2 (preferably) or Stage 3 undergraduate levels, or as part of a taught Masters. To those who love to program (lots) and want to discover some really cool and practical ideas (the world is concurrent, multicores are concurrent, clouds are concurrent – enterprises need people to match them up): come along and enjoy! ☺☺☺

Away from Work

Yes, there is a life! My teenage years exactly spanned the '60s, ending up in San Franciso in the summer of '69. While an undergraduate, played keyboard for a soul band (you won't have heard of them and I'm too embarassed to reveal our name). Got nowhere, but we did have fun ... as they say, if only we could remember it! Still, I hold my own in pub quizes when we get to the '60s round. My photo (above) may not be quite the most recent, but at least I can recognise it. I do a few other things ... but that's enough for here!

Brief Bio

Peter Welch graduated in Mathematics from Warwick University (England) in 1969, taking his PhD in Computer Science from the same institution in 1975. His doctoral research was on semantic models for the lambda-calculus. Since 1972, he has been a Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and, from 1989, Professor of Parallel Computing at the University of Kent at Canterbury.

For the past 25 years, his main area of research and teaching has been in the field of concurrency and parallel computing. Applications of theory include a CSP model of Java thread synchronisation (that enables formal verification of Java multithreaded code) and CSP-based design rules for process network hierarchies (with proven safety properties such as the absence of deadlock, livelock and starvation). Long term research includes the design and development of tools supporting those rules, the design and compilation of parallel languages (occam-pi, ...), very lightweight CSP kernels (including efficient targeting of multicore) and the CSP class libraries for Java (JCSP).

He is Principal Investigator for the Kent part of the CoSMoS project (2007-2012). CoSMoS is researching patterns and frameworks for complex systems modelling and simulation, including the deliberate engineering of emergent behaviours. Typical models run to tens of millions of concurrent processes, with ever changing network topologies. Large models (needed for rich and interesting behaviours to emerge) rely on the lightweight concurrency support of occam-pi (for execution) and the CSP and pi-calculus process algebras (for formal, and informal, reasoning).

He has been a member of the IFIP Working Group 2.4 on Software Implementation Technology since 2001. This consists of engineers from industry and academia from all round the world and meets every nine months or so for a week in some interesting location. IFIP is the International Federation for Information Processing, founded in 1959 and is the unbrella organisation for most learned societies in Computer Science (including the ACM and IEEE in the USA and the BCS in the UK).

Some Publications

School of Computing, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 824180 or contact us.

Last Updated: 20/10/2020