Kapila Ponnamperuma



University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, Keele University, UK


BSc in IT and Mangement, PhD in Computer Science

Work History:

Software Engineeer, Lecturer

Current Job:

Research Fellow


University of Aberdeen

Me and my work

I use computer models to turn data into text.

In my current work, I program computers to write stories about lives of red kites using GPS locations sent by satellite tags attached to their wings.  For example; the sentence “On Thursday morning Wyvis was spotted in heather near Loch Ness perhaps searching for voles.”  was created using GPS location, date, time, terrain features, and knowledge about red kite behaviour. BTW Wyvis is the name given to one of the red kites.

My Typical Day

It is diverse.

I write Java programs, talk to colleagues about research, help students in tutorials and practical sessions.

What I'd do with the money

I would build a mock red kite with sensor devices to demonstrate the technology to school children.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Positive, curious, helpful

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Amaradeva. Have you heard of him? He is a Sri Lankan Singer.

What's your favourite food?

Spicy curry.

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Hiking and camping through Horton plains, a beautiful mountain plateau in Sri Lanka.

What did you want to be after you left school?


Were you ever in trouble in at school?


What was your favourite subject at school?

Physics because you can understand the nature more clearly

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Get people involved in environmental conservation by telling stories about satellite tagged animals.

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

A famous scientist from my home town with my namsake (Cyril Ponnamperuma)

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

A programmer, developing commercial applications instead of scientific.

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

A grant to continue my research, make Scotland bit more sunny, stay healthy

Tell us a joke.

Other stuff

Work photos: