About Me

Visual Design Studios is the open source development identity of @RobVesse and has existed on the internet in one form or another since 2001.

I'm a passionate open source advocate involved in a number of projects in my primary field of interest which is Semantic Web technologies and can regularly found speaking on technical topics at conferences and meetups.

I started programming in ASP on a work experience placement at age 15 and caught the bug from there. By the time I reached university I was proficient in a number of dialects of Visual Basic. I gained a solid knowledge of Java and a great theoretical background on my undergraduate degree before progressing onto a PhD. It was during this time that I adopted C# as my primary development language.

During my PhD I also caught the Semantic Web bug and fell in love with the technologies there and have focused on them ever since. I developed dotNetRDF which is the de-facto standard API for these technologies on the .Net platform and am also a member of the Apache Jena project which is one of the two major APIs on the Java platform.

I am highly proficient in SPARQL and maintain a full SPARQL 1.1 implementation as part of dotNetRDF so I know the standard inside and out.


I am currently employed as a Software Engineer for YarcData which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cray Inc.

At YarcData I work on their uRiKA product which is a graph analytics appliance based upon a custom hardware architecture from Cray and a proprietary RDF and SPARQL database built by YarcData. The product encompasses a high performance massively parallel SPARQL query engine and one of the most user friendly UIs of any RDF database I've worked with.

My primary contributions to the product have been in the areas of interfaces between the front end and database layer, developing our in-house SPARQL protocol server, improving our SPARQL optimiser and spearheading tooling to support reproducible benchmarking. In 2013 I led a successful effort to enable SPARQL over JDBC support for our product.

More recently I have been exploring the building of integrated SPARQL and big data analytics using Hadoop, Pig and other related technologies.


I posses a PhD in Computer Science from the Department of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. My research was on the topic of Link Integrity for the Semantic Web.

Prior to this I obtained a 1st Class Honours degree in Computer Science from the University of Nottingham