Colin Macdonald’s Research Group


I work on numerical computing on general domains such as curved surfaces, particularly the Closest Point Method. I am also interested in level set methods and associated numerical techniques such as WENO spatial discretizations and interpolants. Finally, I work on time-stepping for PDEs including strong-stability-preserving methods, Runge-Kutta methods and other ideas. I am also interested in scientific computing, parallel algorithms, and software.

Research Team

As of January 2015, I’m currently working with:

I also collaborate with various people, including Steve Ruuth (SFU), David Ketcheson (KAUST), Sigal Gottlieb (UMassD), and others.

We are also interested in applications where intrinsic surface PDEs occur, please contact us if you think the Closest Point Method could help you with an application.

Opportunities for Students

I’m not advertising for any funded PhD studentships, but I am usually interested in hearing from good students. You may want to look at the Mathematical Institute vacancies page.

Please do not send generic emails expressing interest in “my research”. If you’ve read my website and publications and think there is a good fit, please write explaining specific things that interest you and how you are qualified for that specific research.

Previous students

Previous students, visiting students, and other people I’ve worked with include:

Name Position Year Co-supervisor Current position
Dr Ingrid von Glehn DPhil student 2010–2014 Google, 2014
Tom März Postdoc 2011–2013, 2013–2014 Roxar, 2014
Dr Martin Robinson Postdoc 2014 Postdoc position, Oxford, 2015
Piotr Swierczynski MSc dissertation 2014 Julia Schnabel
Julien Vallaint MSc dissertation 2014
Sophia Koepke MSc dissertation 2014 PhD at Oxford
Mitch Dawson undergraduate dissertation 2014 Yujia Chen PhD student, Oxford, 2014
Craig Hull undergraduate dissertation 2014
Emma Naden MSc dissertation, “Fully Anisotropic Diffusion on Surfaces and Applications in Image Processing” 2013 Tom März
Jun Lu Undergraduate summer research project 2013 Tom März Student, University College, Oxford
Xin Zhao Visiting KAUST summer student 2012 David Ketcheson PhD program at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2014
Jorge Cañardo Alastuey Summer studentship 2012 David Ketcheson & Tom März
Harry Biddle MSc dissertation, “Nonlinear Diffusion Filtering On Surfaces” 2011 Tom März In R&D at Double Negative Visual Effects, 2012.
Xiyi (Agnes) Wen MSc dissertation, “Pattern Formation on Growing Domains” 2011 Eamonn Gaffney
Natalie Keating Industrial MSc dissertation with Thales Underwater Systems, “Dynamic Response of a Disc With Off-centre Holes” 2011 David Allwright
Phil Walker OCCAM/KAUST summer studentship 2011 Tom März
Gegham Serobyan Undergraduate dissertation, “Numerical Computing on Surfaces” 2011
Jakub Kominiarczuk OCCAM visiting student 2010 PhD student at UC Berkeley, 2012.
Jeff Springer OCCAM summer studentship 2010 Starting PhD at ASU, fall 2012.
Gustavo Chavez OCCAM/KAUST summer studentship 2010 PhD student at KAUST, 2012.
Yiannis Hadjimichael MSc dissertation, “Strong-Stability-Preserving Time Stepping” 2010 PhD student at KAUST, 2012.
Nga Hoang Industrial MSc dissertation with NAG, “MultiCore Linesearch Optimization Algorithms” 2010 Raphael Hauser Software Engineer, Knowledge Genes, 2012.
Matt Moore Industrial MSc dissertation with Schlumberger, “Nonlinear Generalisations of Darcy’s Law” 2010 Ian Sobey DPhil student at OCCAM, 2012.
Luke Tian I helped supervise his MSc dissertation “Segmentation on surfaces by the Closest Point Method” 2009 Steve Ruuth MSc (finance) at the Courant Institute, 2011.
Helen Alexander,
Anna Belkine,
Chris Poss, and
Weining Wang
MITACS Industrial Math Summer School project on forest fire simulations using level set methods 2007 Adam Oberman

Keep in Touch

If you’re on this list and have an update, I’d love to hear from you. Email me, macdonald[at] Similarly, if your name should be here and I’ve accidentally left it off, let me know.