Rory Cellan-Jones

Rory Cellan-Jones provides a sharp, insightful view of the Tech in the Internet age.  He was a reporter for the BBC for 30 years, initially covering business, which got him interested in the burgeoning business of IT in the 90s.  As the industry developed he met the key players from Bill Gates to and Elon Musk and Steve Jobs and recalls the launch of the iPhone as a masterpiece of PR theatre. He chronicled  the rise and burst of the .com bubble in the UK in his book dot.bomb. 

Now retired from the BBC he has reflected on the exciting and dangerous world of what he calls “the social smartphone era” in his contribution to the archive and in his new book Always On. One of his biggest mistakes, he says, was getting excited about Google Glass, which did not look cool.

Dr Hayaatun Sillem, CBE

Dr Hayaatun Sillem says the value of education and the self-coaching mindset her parents instilled in her as she grew up in west London has been a guiding principle all her life. The desire to make a positive contribution to society has been another key goal.

 Both are values she is pursuing at the Royal Academy of Engineering, where she has been Chief Executive since 2018, leading a team of some 140 staff, and overseeing a budget of more than £50m.

In 2019, the Financial Times named Dr Sillem the 4th most influential woman in UK engineering, and this year Computer Weekly ranked her the 7th most influential woman in tech.

But with a mixed race background, and parents of modest means, her proudest achievement is having stuck with an internal voice of doubt and a sense of differentness. She is a leading voice on diversity and inclusion in and beyond engineering, and co-chaired the Hamilton Commission on improving representation of black people in UK motorsport with Sir Lewis Hamilton.

There is a “massive diversity deficit in engineering,” she says “And this really matters because engineering and technology are everywhere in our lives. The people who develop deliver, maintain and upgrade the products and services we all rely on every day are currently way too unrepresentative of the society they serve. And that is not good for us as a profession.” It is a balance she is striving to redress.

Professor Tom Crick MBE

Professor Tom Crick is a computer scientist who brings his knowledge to bear on the big questions for Wales of education and industrial policy, including intelligent systems, smart cities, digital transformation, skills and infrastructure.  Tom’s generation was the first to have university education and he credits his secondary school and teachers with his stimulating his interest in technology.

He was at the heart of reform of the computing curriculum in schools and was appointed MBE in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours for “services to computer science and the promotion of computer science education”.  He believes it is important that the pioneering role of the UK and its scientists in the IT industry is understood.

Professor John Tucker

Professor John Tucker is one of the select few academic computer scientists who are also passionate about the history of computing; being a noted authority on both.  After studying maths at the newly opened University of Warwick in the ‘70’s John was captivated by interests in mathematical logic and computability and pursued studies in the UK and internationally before returning to Wales.

At Swansea, his course on the history of computing teaches undergraduate students the skills essential to the workplace, of how to learn about and communicate on unfamiliar subjects. Furthermore, it extends our understanding of “invention and innovation in Computing” and nurtures his fascination for the subject.  He has expanded his work to include the collection of hardware and documents in the Swansea Computing Collection and the study of the role of science and technology in the industry and society of South Wales.

Dr Timothy Walker CB

Dr Timothy Walker managed the Alvey Programme from 1987 to 89, which researched advanced computing technologies.  Alvey paralleled Japan’s 5th Generation project and aimed to improve the UK’s performance / competitiveness in Information Technology. 

Dr Walker was a formidable academic over-achiever in his formative years.  After an early spell in university teaching and research he held top level posts, managing transformation in areas such as Industry (Alvey), Nuclear Energy and Immigration.  He advocates closer working between industry and universities and strong leadership in managing Government driven change.

Since retiring from the Civil Service he has remained busy with voluntary and charitable roles and uncovering local history. 

Professor Michael Mainelli

Professor Michael Mainelli’s life story is a fascinating journey from 1958 Seattle to Alderman and Sheriff of the City of London.  His Irish mother and Italian father came from lines of engineers and his experience spans computer scientist, accountant, and management consultant.  His education reflects expansive interests, including a Doctorate as a mature student, alongside his busy professional assignments. 

He established City think tank and venture firm Z/Yen in 1994 and Michael has advised on and managed a host of challenging projects, for a multitude of clients from the first complete digital map of the world; to the UK Ministry of Defence commercialising its £100M technology business; and setting up City indices. He recommends small teams to solve big problems and his mass of publications includes bestselling books.