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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. Nigel 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.   

Nigel 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’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).  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.

Rodney Hornstein

Rodney Hornstein started work as a programmer at IBM during his vacations in 1958 and worked there, off and on, until 1962. He joined LEO computers programming the LEO ranges and later selling them and becoming director of marketing. He lived through the turmoil of first the merger of English Electric and LEO (EEL), shielded by his boss from the turbulence. He was also shielded when EEL merged with Marconi Computers. The big bang was the formation of ICL in 1968. He lived through the often brutal years of the Jeff Cross era from 1972 to 1977 but lost faith and his natural optimism when ICL began to implode into confusion in 1979.

Rodney then spent seven years outside the IT industry but did encounter Sir Arnold Weinstock head of GEC. He was headhunted to run an ICL spin off, DAP, which he had re-engineered from a £30,000 production cost to about $5,000 and sold it into the US and UK markets. He ran Alphameric, as CEO for 5 years, chairman for 4 years, building a profitable company from a near wreck. By 1999 he became an angel investor often acting as chairman of the board. His normal optimism about technology is being tested about the current developments in AI, but he heads an AI start up with a different approach.