Peter McGavin

Welcome to Peter McGavin's home page.

You can email me at

I work for the Applied Mathematics Team of Industrial Research Limited in Lower Hutt, New Zealand as a research scientist.
Now for my interests and pastimes. Well I seem to have so many that I never have time for any of them! Usually whatever people around me are doing rubs off on me.

Let's start with computers. They have been a lifelong interest and are also a major part of my job. I enjoy programming, especially when challenging algorithms are involved and high speed is required. Numerical and parallel algorithms are my speciality, and I also like graphics algorithms, simulation and optimisation.

My current computer is a dual Athlon MP2200+ which I bought in about 2001. I use it every day running CentOS 5 Linux. As I write this, uptime is over 421 days.

I have at least 101 spare-time software projects, but nothing ever seems to get completely finished! To sample some of my old Amiga programs, try my multitasking ZX Spectrum Emulator for the Amiga at Aminet misc/emu/spectrum-1.7.lha or my FLI/C animation player for the Amiga at Aminet gfx/show/flick-1.5.lha. I wrote some of the fast chunky-to-planar algorithms on Aminet too.

Moving on, I take an interest in astronomy, especially celestial mechanics --- fitting orbits to observations, modelling the chaotic solar system to see what will happen to it, simulating the formation and collisions of galaxies and so on. Recently I made some animations showing all the minor planets in motion around the sun, but they are probably somewhat large to put here (about 14 Mb each).

Click here to see what Jupiter looked like through my neighbour's 17" reflecting telescope (right here in Lower Hutt) at about 10.30pm on 22nd July 1994 (local time). Actually it looked a lot better than that through the telescope. The dark area in the bottom right is atmosphere churning where a piece of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 exploded there a few moments earlier. The area affected is bigger than the earth! For some much better comet collision pictures, try VUW astrophysics archive.

Being a son of one of New Zealand's most prolific railway enthusiasts (Tom McGavin) I couldn't help but become interested in trains too. After all, just about every book in the house is about trains!

Here are some miscellaneous NZ train information, pictures and links that I collated.

Other interests? Well there's a dilapidated model railway and an infrequently used Meccano set just waiting for me to get my act into gear again. I enjoy playing my Casio FZ1 sampling keyboard, although I probably turn off any listeners after a minute or two. I can do much better using MIDI in conjunction with a program like Bars & Pipes or Deluxe Music Construction Set. Also, I have fun making animations out of local satellite weather and radar images and local topographic data.

When it comes to exercise, either a good bike ride on a fine day or a day walk to the top of one of the many hills and mountains surrounding Wellington and the Hutt Valley is just the thing for me.