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The University of Southampton

Dr Alexander Forrester MEng, PhD, CEng, MIMechE

Senior Lecturer in Computational Engineering, Institute for Life Sciences/Faculty of Health Sciences Knowledge Mobilisation Fellow

Dr Alexander Forrester's photo

Dr Alexander Forrester is Senior Lecturer in Computational Engineering within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

I studied for a Masters in Aerospace Engineering followed by a PhD in Computational Engineering at the University of Southampton, where I am now a Senior Lecturer, teaching engineering design and optimisation.

My methods were first developed to design better fairings on Airbus wings
Optimizing aircraft design
Swimming technique can be analysed and optimized using motion measured with body-worn sensors
Body-worn sensor swim suit

My research interests lie in the efficient use of simulation and experiments in design optimisation. Since 2001 I have been developing 'surrogate modelling' methods to speed-up optimization. My techniques have been applied to wing aerodynamics, gas turbines, satellite structures and Formula One racecar design.

video lecture (with slides) I gave on surrogate modelling.

In recent years I have been translating my aerospace engineering techniques into sports engineering and health sciences.

A single body-worn sensor can yield sufficient information for us to analyses athlete activity and workload
Activity monitoring with sensors

My team is developing methods and software to measure athlete and patient physical activity using remote sensors, including those found in mobile phones. A particular focus is monitoring and investigating arthritis.

The location of each joint in the structure has been optimized to reduce vibration
Earth imaging camera mount
Research Interests

I am interested in computational methods for optimization and classification of engineering and health problems: from the design of physical experiments through to the implementation of results. Particular areas of current research activity include:

  • statistical/surrogate model based optimization
  • sports equipment and technique optimization
  • body-worn inertial sensing
  • biomechanics

I also have an ongoing interest in human powered flight.


Research Projects
Using statistical models to represent a four-dimensional space with a two-dimensional colour map
Visualization of design spaces
  • Arthritis Research UK Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis phone app
  • Motion sensing in elite sport
  • Improving finger joint replacement surgery
PhD supervision
Our student-built aircraft makes its first test run in 2012 (I am pedalling)
Human Powered Aircraft (SUHPA)
  • Mr Alex Purdue
  • Mr Caleb Sawade
  • Mr Scott Michaels
  • Miss Marion James
  • Miss Lavinia Otescu


Affiliate research groups

Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre at Southampton, Active Living and Rehabilitation

Research project(s)

Optimized athlete body sensor networks for simulation-based performance analysis

We have developed a system of wearable sensors that gather information about the movement of athletes so that we can then simulate what their muscles are doing, their aerodynamic drag, etc. This will allow us to optimize the athlete's technique in much the same way as an aircraft's shape is optimized.

COntinuous, Mobile Patient Assessment of Rheumatoid Arthritis (COMPARA)

Hybrid active and passive structural noise control

In this project the feasibility of using active and passive means of vibration control in aerospace structures is investigated. In particular, attention has been focused on controlling vibration transmission through light weight satellite structures at medium frequencies. The structure under test is a 4.5 meter long satellite boom consisting of 10 identical bays with equilateral triangular cross sections. This structure is typical of those that might be used in space telescopes, space stations or synthetic aperture radar systems. Such a structure is typically used to support sensitive instruments in precise alignments spaced tens of metres apart. While a great deal of work has been done on this problem at low frequencies, relatively little has been achieved to date at medium frequencies (here taken to be between 150 Hz and 250 Hz). Nonetheless, this is of importance to new space missions.

Dr Alexander Forrester
Computational Engineering and Design Group Engineering Centre of Excellence Building 176 University of Southampton Boldrewood Campus Burgess Road Southampton SO16 7QF
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