Responsible for Autodesk Research’s scientific research portfolio including AI, Robotics, HCI, Visualization, Simulation, Optimization, and Systems. Managing specialist teams in each of these areas, overseeing processes for the identification of disruptive strategic technologies in coordination with the product Chief Architects. Directly involved in technology migration into product planning and deployment with Autodesk customers. Supporting both blue-sky academic-style research and near-term product proof-of-concepts with a view to accelerated deployment.

Before joining Autodesk, Daron spent more than four years at Facebook and was responsible for strategic oversight and operational delivery across all external research engagements and collaborations. He worked with Facebook research leadership to ensure that their strategic goals can be realized and that Facebook actively partners with the academic research community in open, collaborative and mutually beneficial research engagements.

Prior to this, for nine years, Daron led Microsoft Research’s Outreach activities and was responsible for their global collaborative research investments. He was also General Manager of Microsoft’s Technology Policy Group, responsible for identifying business opportunities and innovations likely from potential disruptive technologies. In that role, he provided oversight for key mechanisms for Microsoft’s internal processes of innovation and ideation, such as ThinkWeek, and external efforts, such as Microsoft’s Cloud Research Engagements and Microsoft’s Environmental Sustainability program. Prior to this, he was general manager for Microsoft Research’s external engagement and investment strategy, with a global portfolio which included diverse topics such as Health and Wellbeing, Education and Scholarly Communications, Computer Science, and the Environment.
Daron’s initial research background was in molecular modeling and equations of state for fluid mixtures—his BSc is in Chemical Physics (1989, Sheffield) and PhD in molecular simulation of fluid mixtures (1992, Sheffield). He went on to do post-doctoral research in simulation of polymer and protein folding (1993–4, UCD). He then moved to Southampton University to work on application porting and optimization for large-scale parallel and distributed computing in a range of application domains including computational chemistry (molecular dynamics and quantum mechanical codes), Radiography, Computational Fluid Dynamics, and Finite Element analysis. Daron then moved more fully into HPC and was responsible for some of Europe’s largest HPC Framework V programs for the European Commission, major HPC procurements in the UK for the UK Research Councils and UK Defense clients; he also led detailed investigations into the maturity and adoption for European HPC Software tools. From there, he went to work for the SGI/Cray—helping to set up the European Professional Services organization from which he spun out a small team to establish the European Professional Services for Selectica Inc. Selectica specialized in online configuration/logic-engine technologies offered via web services. Given an HPC/distributed computing background and familiarity with the then embryonic area of web services, IBM invited Daron to help establish its Grid Computing Strategy and emerging business opportunity (Grid EBO) team. He subsequently moved to British Telecom to head up its Global Services business incubation and, as part of this, in 2007 he established and launched BT’s Sustainability practice, responsible for BT’s business offerings to commercial customers, which help reduce their carbon footprints and establish business practices that are sustainable in terms of their social and economic impact.

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