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Professor Philip G Mattos (Computer Engineer)

Attended St Brendan's 1960 - 1970 

I joined St Brendan’s in ‘Prep 1’ in 1960. I was in the first class to join the new building! After 10 years at St Brendan’s (it was a school back then) I was sponsored by British Telecom to do a year's work experience / practical training followed by a degree at Cambridge.  It was general Engineering course, then Electrical Sciences Tripos; the closest Cambridge offered to Electronic Engineering. The course was excellent, the university and town excellent, and the year at BT excellent.

1974 I went to BT Research Labs, in Martlesham, Suffolk, where I worked on the first data transmission and data switching systems (the forerunners of today’s internet) including release for 2 separate MSc degrees at nearby Essex in Telecomms and Computer Science. In 1977 I spent a year working on analysis of different microprocessor chips for BT, then in 1979 I joined the semiconductor company Inmos in Bristol to help design first British microprocessor! Inmos was subsequently absorbed into STMicroelectronics in the 90's, where I stayed until 2014 when they closed the Bristol Office.

My role changed around 1989 when I developed an application of the microprocessor that performed the functions of the GPS navigation system.  This became my full time role, and the chip was used worldwide over much iteration (and still is) in its millions.

When I left I spent time advising the European Commission on the Galileo system (equivalent to GPS), Visiting Research Fellow at Bristol University and Visiting Professor at the University of Westminster.

The support at St Brendan’s was wonderful. The education was excellent; but then it was a direct grant grammar school so it had seven/ten years to work on me!

My advice to current students is to make sure you get the highest qualifications you can, in subjects directly relevant to your interests and chosen career area, and ensure you are a broad, rounded person - work and practical experience that can be put on your CV.  Choose subjects sensibly, it’s no good doing Physics and Chemistry with no maths.

In 10 years’ time I hope to be even more retired.  If my health is good, happy to still do consulting, but no enforced office hours!