Ryan Varley

I am a late stage astronomy PhD student looking to move into a data science role. I have a strong background in python, signal processing, machine learning and building products - both in the form of python packages and web apps. I enjoy solving problems end-to-end, from the initial data collection to turning the result into production ready code. I am looking to join a team allowing me to leverage many of these skills, and continue to learn new ones.


  • PhD - Astronomy 2012 – November 2015 (expected), UCL
  • MSci (First) Natural Sciences - Astrophysics and Molecular and Cell Biology 2008 – 2012, UCL

Work Experience

S2DS Data Science Fellow August 2015, S2DS London (Science to Data Science)

Five-week intensive data science workshop. Consisted of a large team project with an industrial partner, lectures (on topics like statistics, spark and marketing) and networking events.

Team project working with Growth Intelligence

  • Tasked with improving their algorithm when only given successful leads by clients
  • We investigated the effectiveness of randomly sampling for negatives with different classifiers and implemented new classifiers from the literature which were designed to deal with this problem in sklearn syntax
  • In both datasets were able to improve precision by at least 12% within the range they wanted and demonstrated that negatives were not needed and sometimes detrimental to classifying which was of large interest to the company

3rd Year PhD Student (Astronomy) September 2012 – Present, UCL

My PhD centered around the signal processing of time series data of planets orbiting other stars to recover a small planet signal buried in a large stellar one - using instruments not calibrated at a high enough precision.


  • Package for working with exoplanet catalogue data
  • Data cleaner, correcting entry errors and filling in missing values using equations and configurable assumptions
  • Built-in plotting tools for exploratory work
  • Used for representing exoplanets in code, querying for ideal targets for proposals, and running many planets through a simulator
  • Formed a core part of nearly all my other PhD projects

EASE (Exoplanet Atmosphere Spectrum Analysis)

  • An end-to-end data analysis pipeline for processing raw data images into a final result
  • Includes all the reduction methods needed to clean the images and many exploratory analysis and signal processing methods
  • Used for my analysis into real data to attempt to recover a planet signal. After discovering many methods being used were not stable, I started the WFC3Sim project


  • A package to simulate exoplanet transits as imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope
  • Generates full realistic observations including emulating the instrument noise, distortions, trends and systematics
  • Built to test the robustness of data analysis methods to the different behaviors of instrument systematics
  • Early analysis indicates there are important systematics that effectively destroy the planet signal if not correctly and precisely accounted for

EChO Target List

  • EChO was a next generation telescope proposal to ESA worth €500 million, I was responsible for generating a list of planets observable in the EChO Mission lifetime to demonstrate the science yield of the mission
  • Time sensitive project that needed delivering to a tight ESA deadline with robust conclusions
  • Worked closely with and on the simulator team to develop the simulator and an interface to run the analysis over current planets fast and reproducibly

Web Developer (self) January 2011 – present

I have developed and built many websites both for myself and companies dealing with many different languages and problems. I have a keen interest in web based technologies.

PageLines Sections

  • Using the PageLines framework for WordPress I built a couple of plugins in PHP that were sold in the PageLines store to both general users and developers
  • Both plugins had to be tested for production, documented, easy to use and have user support
  • The sections were on sale until PageLines closed the store for the framework to launch their new product

Server Administration

  • Setup and managed several VPS servers mostly for the purpose of web hosting
  • Handled the server setup, security, backups and optimisation (e.g. caching)
  • Used both Apache and Nginx in both managed (Cpanel/ISPConfig) and unmanaged environments
  • Deployed and customised apps written using PHP, node.js and flask

IT Consultant (part time) 2009 – 2011, Select Financial Solutions North East

Working 1-2 days a week during summer and winter university holidays. I designed and implemented a client database and scanning system. The new system improved records, eliminated file cabinets and improved repeat business through advanced querying of clients by assets


STEM Ambassador July 2015 – present, STEMNET

Regional Contact June 2015 – present, Get-Well Gamers UK


  • Introduction to Big Data with Apache Spark (edX - Berkeley) - Currently Studying
  • Machine Learning (Coursera - Stanford) - Currently Studying
  • Statistical Inference (Coursera - Johns Hopkins)
  • Reproducible Research (Coursera - Johns Hopkins)
  • Exploratory Data Analysis (Coursera - Johns Hopkins)
  • Getting and Cleaning Data (Coursera - Johns Hopkins)
  • R Programming (Coursera - Johns Hopkins)

Technical Skills


  • Python (Advanced) numpy, scipy, pandas, sklearn, jupyter
  • R (Intermediate)
  • SQL (Intermediate)
  • Javascript / jQuery (Intermediate)
  • HTML5 (Intermediate+)
  • PHP (Intermediate+)
  • C++ (Basic)


  • Signal Processing
  • Machine Learning
  • Data Modelling
  • Exploratory Analysis
  • Data Cleaning
  • Data Mining
  • Statistical Inference
  • Data Visualisation

Other Computing

  • Server administration (Ubuntu, CentOS, Apache, Nginx)
  • Source control (git)
  • Test driven development
  • Continuous integration
  • Integration with APIs
  • Amazon EC2 and S3
  • Code profiling and optimisation

Some Experience (Would like to use more)

  • Spark
  • Python based webapps (i.e flask)
  • NoSQL
  • Web Scraping
  • D3.js

Personal Interests

  • Traveling
  • Photography
  • Web Development
  • Video Gaming
  • Baking

Traveling, Photography, Web Development, Video Gaming and Baking