My name is Jake Ward. I am a programmer and astrophysicist.

I studied Physics with Astrophysics at Leeds University where I received a BSc and an MSc. My masters thesis focused on using unsupervised machine learning methods to classify the spectra of massive protostars. I then moved to Keele University to study for my PhD where I worked primarily on high-resolution integral field spectroscopy of massive YSOs in the Magellanic Clouds.

After completing my PhD, I worked as a post-doc at Heidelberg University in Germany for three years. There my work mostly followed two branches: investigating the origins of OB associations using data from ESA’s Gaia mission, and developing the first multi-tracer timeline of star formation in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Currently, I am a Gameplay Programmer at Cloud Imperium Games.

I also have a keen interest in brewing beer and making cider as well as being a big fan of games (boardgames, video games, and roleplaying games). When I get the time, I sometimes blog about this sort of thing at my blog: beerandgaming.wordpress.com.


I have spent most of my professional life working as an astrophysicist. The focus of this work has been the physics of star formation across various spatial scales ranging from the cloud-scale physics of star formation averaged over entire galaxies down to the formation and evolution of individual young stellar objects.

Highlights of my work in research include constraining the relationship between metallicity and accretion rates in massive star formation, showing that OB associations are not the remnants of more compact clusters, and developing the first multi-tracer timeline of star formation. Details on this work can be found on this page, and my list of publications is here.


I am currently working as a Gameplay Programmer at Cloud Imperium Games as part of the Squadron 42 Feature Team. I primarily work in C++ but am also familiar with Python, IDL, C#, and Java. Examples of some of my personal projects can be found on my projects page.

I have made extensive use of IDL and Python for processing and analysis of astronomical data. This has included the processing of large data sets from the Gaia mission, statistical analysis of wide-field imaging surveys of nearby galaxies, and analysis of integral field spectroscopic data.

More recently I have been worked with C# and C++ both professionally and as part of independent projects. Some of my personal projects are shown on my projects page. Since May 2020 I have been working professionally as a gameplay programmer.