Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Mathematics

Reader in Computational Mathematics



+44 (0)20 7594 5003david.ham Website CV




753Huxley BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Dr Ham's research interests centre on the development and composition of high level abstractions for scientific computation, particularly geophysical fluids. His interests span computational and computer science and include both new numerical schemes and novel approaches to their implementation. He has published on the stability and symmetry characteristics of several new numerical schemes and has lead work on the development of new software toolkits for finite element models as well as a generic user interface system for scientific models.

Dr Ham's most recent work is on the automatic generation of finite element models. He leads the Firedrake project and is an author of the dolfin-adjoint automated inverse simulation framework. The latter work was awarded the 2015 Wilkinson Prize for Numerical Software.


  • Reader in Computational Mathematics 2020-
  • Senior lecturer, Imperial College 2016-2020
  • NERC Independent Research Fellow, Imperial College 2013-2018
  • Grantham Research Fellow, Imperial College 2009-2013
  • Research fellow, Imperial College 2008-2016
  • Research associate, Imperial College 2005-2008
  • Research assistant and PhD student, TU Delft, The Netherlands 2001-2005
  • BSc (Mathematics) and LLB, The Australian National University 1996-2003

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Kärnä T, Kramer SC, Mitchell L, et al., 2018, Thetis coastal ocean model: discontinuous Galerkin discretization for the three-dimensional hydrostatic equations, Geoscientific Model Development, Vol:11, ISSN:1991-959X, Pages:4359-4382

Rathgeber F, Ham DA, Mitchell L, et al., 2016, Firedrake: Automating the finite element method by composing abstractions, ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software, Vol:43, ISSN:0098-3500

Luporini F, Varbanescu AL, Rathgeber F, et al., 2015, Cross-Loop Optimization of Arithmetic Intensity for Finite Element Local Assembly, ACM Transactions on Architecture and Code Optimization, Vol:11, ISSN:1544-3566, Pages:1-25

Farrell PE, Ham DA, Funke SW, et al., 2013, Automated derivation of the adjoint of high-level transient finite element programs, SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing, Vol:35, ISSN:1064-8275, Pages:C369-C393

Rognes ME, Ham DA, Cotter CJ, et al., 2013, Automating the solution of PDEs on the sphere and other manifolds in FEniCS 1.2, Geoscientific Model Development, Vol:6, Pages:2099-2119

Markall GR, Slemmer A, Ham DA, et al., 2012, Finite element assembly strategies on multi- and many-core architectures, International Journal for Numerical Methods in Fluids

Ham DA, Farrell PE, Gorman GJ, et al., 2009, Spud 1.0: generalising and automating the user interfaces of scientific computer models, Geoscientific Model Development, Vol:2, Pages:33-42

Cotter CJ, Ham DA, Pain CC, 2009, A mixed discontinuous/continuous finite element pair for shallow-water ocean modelling, Ocean Modelling, Vol:26, ISSN:1463-5003, Pages:86-90

More Publications