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Engineering the future, Southampton Regius Lecture and Autonomous Systems Showcase 2015

The University of Southampton’s world-leading achievements in autonomous systems and artificial intelligence will be celebrated at a special event in London this week to mark the inaugural lecture of Professor Nick Jennings, who has been awarded a Regius Professorship in Computer Science.


The event, which is taking place on Tuesday 9 June at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London, will demonstrate cutting-edge work with examples drawn from state-of-the-art EPSRC and EU-funded projects including:

Professor William Powrie, Dean of Engineering and the Environment at the University of Southampton, says: "Engineering at Southampton is about the development and application of pioneering science to provide practical solutions to issues of global and societal importance. Our submissions to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) were judged the most powerful in their units of assessment. As the first of what we hope will become an annual event, this showcase demonstrates our internationally-renowned research that is shaping the future of our world.”

Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi, Dean of Physical Sciences and Engineering at the University of Southampton, adds: “Algorithms and software have a tremendous impact on society, from the Internet and consumer electronics to healthcare and transportation. Autonomous systems, built on these intelligent algorithms and software, will be one of the most powerful tools in tackling global challenges.”

Professor Nick Jennings
Professor Nick Jennings

A rare privilege

The University of Southampton was one of just 12 UK institutions awarded a Regius Professorship by HM The Queen to mark her Diamond Jubilee and the only institution ever to be awarded a Regius Professor in Computer Science.

A Regius Professorship reflects the exceptionally high quality of teaching and research at an institution and is a rare privilege – before the recent awards, only two had been created in the past century.

Nick Jennings, Professor of Computer Science and a Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Government, is an internationally-recognised authority in the areas of artificial intelligence, autonomous systems and agent-based computing. Professor Jennings has pioneered the application of multi-agent technology developing real world systems and leads the innovative ORCHID programme investigating how people and software agents can effectively work together to improve disaster response operations and enable smart energy systems.

Professor Jennings says: “It is a great honour for Southampton to be awarded a Regius Chair in Computer Science and reflects extremely well on the quality of research and teaching of the whole department over many years. I’m honoured to be the inaugural post holder and will endeavour to use it as a platform to highlight the fundamental importance of computer science to modern society.”

Professor Jennings will also be joined by a number of academics, business leaders and government advisors such as Sir Mark Walport, Chief Scientific Advisor to HM Government and Head of the Government Office for Science.

Watch professor Jennings' inaugural and the panel discussion
Watch professor Jennings' inaugural and the panel discussion

Join the conversation

Both Nick's inaugural lecture and the panel session will be streamed online, and we will be taking questions for the panel via Twitter using the hashtag #UoSRegius. Please join us! The stream will be available from 15.30.


10.30 – 11.00 Registration, tea and coffee

11.00 – 13.00 Morning keynote session

Welcome by Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Director, Web Science Institute

11.00 – 11.30 Dr Kedar Pandya, EPSRC

11.30 – 12.00 Professor Alex Rogers, University of Southampton

12.00 – 12.30 Professor Stephen Turnock, University of Southampton

12.30 – 13.00 Professor Paul Newman, University of Oxford

13.00 – 14.00 Lunch

14.00 – 15.00 Afternoon plenary session

Welcome by Professor William Powrie, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment

14.00 – 14.20 Professor Jim Scanlan, University of Southampton

14.20 – 14.40 Professor Andy Doherty, Network Rail

14.40 – 15.00 Professor Noel Sharkey, University of Sheffield

15.00 – 15.30 Refreshment break

15.30 – 16.15 Regius Inaugural Lecture – Professor Nick Jennings

Welcome by Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi, Dean, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering and presentation by University of Southampton Vice Chancellor, Professor Don Nutbeam.

Tweet #UoSRegius with questions for our panel
Tweet #UoSRegius with questions for our panel


16.15 – 17.30 Panel -The future of autonomous systems – challenges, promises and impediments

Panel members:

1. Nick Jennings, Regius Professor, University of Southampton (panel host)

2. Dave Cliff, Professor of Computer Science, University of Bristol.

3. David Lane, Professor of Autonomous Systems Engineering, Heriot-Watt University.

4. Sir Mark Jeremy Walport, Government Chief Scientific Adviser.

5. Alan Winfield, Professor of Electronic Engineering, University of West England.

6. Andy Wright, Director of Strategic Technology, BAE Systems

17.30 – 18.45 Autonomous Systems Showcase and drinks reception


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