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About this book
This book was written and typeset using LaTeX, on a 17" Apple Macbook Pro running TeXShop, and finished on a Ubuntu Linux machine, again with LaTeX and pdflatex. All of the example codes were written originally using Octave (the free, open source alternative to MATLAB), and then converted to MATLAB scripts. Diagrams were created in OpenOffice.org (mostly on the Ubuntu machine, but some on the Apple) and printed to EPS format. On Linux, these were converted to PDF using the standard eps2pdf tool, and on Apple the Preview tool was used to 'save as' PDF (also to convert the coloured figures to black and white).
All MATLAB scripts were tested on MATLAB running on the Macbook Pro or Ubuntu Linux, and also on a borrowed Windows laptop.
The final LaTeX scripts were provided to Cambridge University Press for their very extensive internal checking, typesetting and editorial processes. From this point on, editorial work was conducted mainly on hard copy printouts. The CUP team was extremely professional and prompt at all points, and a great pleasure to work with. The approximate time-scales for this work were 6 months of original writing prior to submission to CUP, 6 months of feverish writing to meet the CUP deadline, then about 6 months of work to get the manuscript ready for printing (CUP were very thorough), including several layers of checking. For all of the writing, my 'day job' was lecturing during the evening (!) as I was teaching MSc courses to working people in industry, therefore I was left to do writing for most of the daytime.
About the author
Ian McLoughlin has been called a polymath, which means "a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas". Some prominent polymaths have been Leonardo da Vinci, Matteo Ricci, Blaise Pascal, Sir Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Desmond Morris and Isaac Azimov, although he definitely feels he doesn't belong in such august company (yet )! Still, he has contributed to a large number of diverse areas, mainly technology-related (for many years he was in charge of the computational parts of the X-Sat design - X-Sat was finally launched on 20 April 2011, he has built up an electric bicycle fleet with custom-designed Android control computers, worked on wireless communications, FPGA design, embedded medical devices, GPS monitoring systems stretching over 1000km down the Sumatran coastline, website design, UAV systems, polarimetric synthetic aperture radar processing, ultrasonic analysis, cluster computers, sensor networks, optical engineering, fibre optics and integrated optics, solar-powered systems, CPU design and computer architecture, PCB design and design-for-manufacture, assistive technology, I2C, CAN, Ethernet alternatives, lots of low-level Linux coding and so on). Aside from technology, Ian has taught himself plumbing (completely stripping a 1905 house, removing all water and gas pipes and refitting with modern central heating and gas boiler - including pipe welding, bending and termination), house building, electrical work (having rewired two houses), vehicle restoration (a 1970s mini), piano tuning and restoration (three piano restrings, renovations and retunes) which involves woodwork in addition to a considerable amount of engineering. He loves to cook whenever possible, specialising in Greek, Italian, Indian and Japanese food. Studying at home, and in evening classes he learned to speak, read and write Mandarin Chinese by 2001, and more recently to speak, read and write Koine Greek (1st Century Greek - the language in which the New Testament was written) in 2009, and picked up some skills in a couple of other languages. In his spare time, he writes novels (when he isn't reading them), enjoys music (his favourite artists are Chris Tomlin and Robin Mark), and runs for enjoyment. Travelling is another interest, and Ian volunteers at least two weeks a year to help disadvantaged communities in various countries.
In terms of career, Ian McLoughlin began by working as a student researcher for GEC, located in the historic Hirst Research Centre, East Lane, Wembley, London. He then studied for his BEng (electrical and electronic engineering) at the University of Birmingham before spending 3.5 years working for Her Majesty's Government Communications Centre in Buckinghamshire. Following his stint as a civil servant, three years research (exactly, to the day) earned him a PhD, again from the University of Birmingham. A short spell as Philips Telecommunications in Cambridge (which became Simoco) presaged his move East to take an Assistant Professor job in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. After 3.5 years teaching and research, he moved on to 5 years in Tait Electronics Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand (where he ended up as the Principal Engineer for Group Research). The next move, back to Singapore, led to 6 years as Associate Professor, back in the School of Computer Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.