Blog icon

Mr Ben Leighton

Software Engineer


Please enter a valid first name

Please enter a valid last name

Please enter a valid email address

Please enter your message to send to the contact


Ben innovates bridging scientific and technical domains bringing a wide set of skills spanning leadership, data science and data engineering, and AI and ML. His work is driven by the belief that science can help make the world a more equitable, sustainable, and fulfilling place, and he is dedicated to this goal.

At CSIRO, Ben works on a variety of projects to innovate, support, and develop scientific AI and knowledge engines, machine learning, software infrastructures, data delivery pipelines, and data processing workflows. He has extensive experience across data science, infrastructure engineering, software development, and technical leadership, and maintains a strong technical focus across a diverse set emerging technologies.

Ben is experienced in applying machine learning techniques, his early work involved classification in megapixel scale vegetation maps. Currently, he is involved in developing hybrid machine learning techniques for ocean modeling and designing and implementing various systems enabling the AI uplift.

Ben's research focuses on bridging structured and unstructured approaches to managing data, delivering high-performance processing of large time-series environmental sensor data, innovating in geospatial data science and algorithm development, applying machine learning techniques, designing and engineering cloud and HPC data science infrastructures and integrating AI. He streamlines scientific data workflows with a focus on automation, reproducibility, and novel knowledge discovery.

Ben has worked on a wide variety of projects at CSIRO with many different colleagues and stakeholders, including the National Bushfire and Intelligence Capability (NBIC) project, where he led cloud engineering and developed geospatial processing algorithms at scale. In NBIC Ben designed and leads development of Aptly, a state of the art system for securely managing and visualising large cloud data. He currently contributes to the Next Generation Coastal Modelling Science (NGLP) project, where he is involved in developing modelling workflows, managing in-situ sensor data, and building surrogate machine learning techniques for coastal ocean modeling.

Across CSIRO Ben is highly active building communities of practice and innovating through the implementation of emerging AI capabilities.

In addition, Ben has worked on a range of other projects, such as the Energy Use Data Model (EUDM/NEAR) project developing timeseries processing pipelines in the cloud, developing and employing machine vision and learning for fire landscape management, and contributing to the Environment data management projects including as a SCRUM master. He has also worked on a range of core Bioregional Assessments metadata and data systems, and taken a lead role in coordinating software developers and scientists across CSIRO and partner organizations in the development of the Australian Water Resources Assessment (AWRA) project. He worked as a software engineer on the AURIN project, pioneering new approaches to reusable data analysis and Docker-based approaches for reproducible deployments.

Ben believes that the value of what we do is maximized when it integrates a diversity of people, knowledge, skills, and communities, and he values collaboration and teamwork. With his skills and experience, he is committed to designing, developing impactful science and engineering solutions for a better future.

Current Roles

  • Full Stack Software Engineer
    Python, Cloud, Web

  • Data Engineer
    Cloud and On Premises Spatial, Temporal and Modelling, Data Pipelines

  • Client Liason
    Business Analysis and Development, and Contracts Coordination

  • Environmental Data Analyst
    Spatial Data Assessments and Algorithms

  • Technical Coordinator
    Certified SCRUM Master

  • Software Engineer
    Data Visualisation

Academic Qualifications

  • 2000

    BA (Philosophy)
    Australian National University

  • 2000

    BSc (Biology)
    Australian National University

  • 2015

    Machine Learning

Professional Experiences

  • 2001-2003

    Software Engineer
    Wizard Information Systems

  • 2003-Current

    Software Engineer, Data Scientist, Data Engineer

Achievements and Awards

  • 2016-2016

    CSIRO Medal for Impact from Science

  • 2012-2012

    Excellence in Support
    CSIRO Land and Water

  • 2007-2007

    Partnership Excellence
    CSIRO Land and Water

  • 2017-2018

    CSIRO Collaboration Award