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Professor Nigel Gilbert CBE

Dr Professor Nigel Gilbert CBE holds a distinguished chair in Computational Social Science having been a Professor of Sociology at the University of Surrey.  Prof Gilbert brings a fascinating insight into how IT an help us understand society. His prolific output includes Agent-based Models (Sage Publications 2008); a technique used to model behaviours such as clustering of populations, the dynamics of opinions in society and the operation of the housing market.   

Prof Gilbert is a polymath.  He wanted to do computer science at university but nobody was offering such a degree yet so he studied engineering at Cambridge with management studies thrown in, Nigel Gilbert’s first program was for his father, a biophysical chemist, helping him understand through simulation how haemoglobin picks up and releases oxygen in the blood.  This around the time that Crick and Watson were building computer models (and note the parallels with Dennis Noble – link – modelling the human heart).  He was a lecturer in sociology at York University and joined the newly formed University of Surrey as part of a small sociology department in 1976.  He made a name for himself using a microcomputer to cut through the complexity of rules for social security benefits that were beyond human comprehension.  As a result the topic was  in the Alvey project. 

Dr Gopi Katragadda

Born in Bangalore in 1968, Dr Gopichand Katragadda comes from a long line of engineers on his father’s side, while his mother’s family background is in the arts. This combination has helped him bring a high level of creativity and breadth of vision to engineering achievements, he believes.
Gopi attended Iowa State University and did his doctoral research at NASA. In 2000, he returned to India as Chairman and Managing Director of GE India Technology Centre — the group’s largest R&D facility, which he helped become a world leader in intellectual property generation.

In 2014, he joined Tata Sons as Group Chief Technology Officer and Innovation Head, where he promoted collaboration with corporations such as Airbus and forward-thinking in the group’s subsidiaries and university partners. In 2019, Gopi set up Myelin Foundry, an AI company aimed at transforming human experiences and industry outcomes.

Sian Cleary

Sian Cleary has used the Archives of IT and other sources to write her MA dissertation on Government policy towards IT from 1992 to 1997, the years of John Major’s prime ministership.  In the archive she discovered the pivotal work of Professor Stephen Temple CBE in getting a European policy, driven by the UK, for single mobile network.  She also admired the work of Charles Hughes who, after a long career at ICL and others, played a vital role in the Information Society Initiative by Government in association with Ian Taylor, MP and MBE, another contributor to the archive. 

Mark Holford

Mark Holford trained as a solicitor and worked in two practices before joining Thomas Miller as a claims executive and underwriter in 1978. He worked closely with the company’s IT Director to develop applications using pc and minicomputer technology. He helped to build Thomas Miller’s reputation as a leader in the use of IT in insurance.  He was the first person in his firm outside the IT department with a pc on his desk. He used Borland software to build spreadsheets for the company where he worked for 36 years. He can, says his wife, spot when the results of a calculation are wrong rather than just trust the technology. He is constantly searching for new applications for IT.

Gilbert Cockton

Gilbert Cockton is Emeritus Professor of Computer Science, University of Sunderland and Emeritus Professor, School of Design, Northumbria University.
With degrees in History, Education and Computer Science, he was one of the leading figures in HCI and Interaction Design in the UK. He has mostly worked in university computing and design with periods in industry. His Balanced, Integrated and Generous (BIG) paradigm for design seeks to combine the strengths of creative, engineering and human-centred design in ways that neutralise their individual weaknesses. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, he was a Fellow of the British Computer Society, he is Distinguished Speaker, Association for Computing Machinery and recently got an ACM SIGCHI Distinguished Service Award.