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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.

Richard Hopkins

Richard Hopkins is a distinguished engineer at IBM and an authority on Hybrid Cloud, AI and Quantum computing.  He started as a systems engineer in 1990 based in the north east of England.   He has worked for IBM all his working life.  He has great admiration for Louis Gerstner who turned around an ailing IBM in the early 1990s. 

From his 33 years experience of building complex systems at IBM, Hopkins sees quantum computing far closer than many think and AI still prone to hallucinations and is inaccurate.   But both are coming and the key will be not the technologies themselves but their useful adoption. 

Dr Angus Cheong

In the early 2000s, Angus Cheong saw the potential to use real-time structured and unstructured data analysis to improve the quality of insight from data mining. Angus was a lecturer focused on developing techniques to take public opinion research beyond conventional surveys and polling and after 13 years in academe, he left university life to set up a consultancy focused on data analysis for industry and government using advanced techniques such as AI and machine learning. 

In 2017, this became uMax Data Technology. Angus is still the company’s chief executive, and the business now has offices in Hong Kong and Singapore and clients across Asia. He calls their approach “DiVo” (data in value out) in contrast to many previous “GiGo” systems (garbage in, garbage out).  

Mischa Dohler

Mischa Dohler is now Chief Architect in Ericsson Inc. in Silicon Valley, USA, having previously been Professor in Wireless Communications at King’s College London.

He was born in Germany, into a family of scientific academics, who were also talented in music and business.  He has continued the family tradition, as academic, entrepreneur and musician.  Mischa brings all those skills and interests to bear on his approach to technology, speaking eloquently of its relevance to diverse aspects of our lives; industrial, personal and cultural.

He demonstrated the power of 5G communications to enable collaboration over the Internet in a real time duet with his daughter 1000 km away and looks forward to medicine, industry and culture developing with 6G and the Internet of Things, Skills and beyond.

Professor Sir Martin Sweeting

Professor Sir Martin Sweeting has been fascinated by telecommunications since childhood, and a love of science fiction, particularly the writings of Arthur C Clarke, fostered his enthusiasm for technology.

At school his best subjects were English, French and Latin, but in those days it was hard to combine sciences and arts. So he did A’levels in chemistry, maths and his favourite, physics, going on to gain a degree in electronic and electrical engineering at the University of Surrey, and a PhD.

In 1985, Sir Martin set up Surrey Satellite Technology with about £100 and four employees. The company pioneered rapid-response, low-cost and highly capable small satellites, on which much of our modern life depends. In 2008, SST was sold to Airbus Defence & Space for £50m, but Sir Martin is still executive chairman. The company now has 400 professional staff, annual revenues of more than $100m and total export sales in excess of $1bn to 25 countries. Among its many focuses is clearing up the increasing amount of space debris, which represents a significant threat to the next generation of satellites.

Sir Martin was awarded an OBE in 2002 and won the 2008 Arthur C Clarke Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2016, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and listed by Sunday Times as one of the 500 most influential UK citizens.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

Professor Sir Ian Diamond first encountered a computer as a student at the London School of Economics the mid-1970s. He learnt Fortran and submitted programs on punched cards. “But we never actually used computers to analyse data,” he says.

Computers are now crucial to Sir Ian’s role as the UK’s national statistician, and principal adviser to the UK Statistics Authority and the Government. The task involves using the latest AI, machine learning and textual analysis to tackle some of the thorniest current social and economic challenges.

From the beginning, Sir Ian was interested in the application of statistics to social science, demographics and survey data. Statistics have had a bad press, he says, but when they are rigorous and well put together they are increasingly reliable and powerful. For example, they have recently helped discover how the coronavirus is impacting people disproportionately in different ethnic groups.

After an MSc at the LSE, Sir Ian took a PhD at St Andrews, where he received “outstanding supervision” looking at the problem of relatively high drop-out rates among Scottish students compared with their English counterparts.

His career has included being chief executive of the Economic and Social Research Council and vice chancellor of the University of Aberdeen. In 2019, he did not take much persuasion to apply for the post of national statistician.

“It has been a total thrill every day since,” he says. “We need to produce data that the public can trust, and to reflect the economy and society at a time when it is changing very quickly.”

Massive technology change has made it possible to think increasingly radically about all kinds of data, and to produce ever more timely and accurate statistics. But it is really important to have a social theory about what you are doing, says Sir Ian. And to communicate properly, explaining assumptions and ensuring that people can understand the level of uncertainty and margin for error.

For those interested in studying statistics, there can be no better career, he says, and the UK has some of the world’s strongest institutions.