I like to thank Andy Wright for his thoughts and black board sessions that provided me with much of my research and direction as well as giving me confidence in my writing. Thank you also to Les Gasser for taking time to discuss my thoughts and ideas which helped me put into words what I was thinking and to H. Van Dyke Parunak for giving my ideas the commercial perspective that I was seeking. I would also like to thank Mihaela Ulieru and the HMS group for their very enthusiasm and encouragement at a time when it was most needed, as well as the exciting opportunities that have arisen over the last few years. Thank you to Hujun also for his support in the last year and to Bill Crowther for his thoughts and insights in flocking.
Most of all, I would like to thank Nigel Allinson for all his support, constant good humour and encouragement and for putting up with my often tangential approach to research.
Outside of research, I would like to thank everyone at Hulme Hall – Darren, Steph, Matt, Mike, Martin, Yawen, Renato, Mauro, Hee Jeong, Farah, Paul, Simone, Gary, Log and Jacquie – for making my time there so much fun. The research group – Jeevs, Nick, Rics, Amber, Maria, Thalis, Hong and Swapna – for all the fun at the office, despite my poor table football skills.
My friends, Shrags, Rob, El, Katz, Banin, Chewy, Uly, Debbie, Momo, John and Lu, Zoi, Raj, Karim, Jas, Karl, Rodney and to Freeds for that all important pool game. I would also like to thank Sarah for giving me a good reason to finish off my thesis.
Finally, I would like to thank my parents for all their support and encouragement through this and everything else.