Imperial Vice-Provost Professor Nick Jennings has been jointly awarded the British Computer Society’s Lovelace Medal, the UK’s top award in computing.
Professor Nick Jennings, Vice-Provost for Research and Enterprise and Professor of Artificial Intelligence at Imperial College London has been jointly awarded the prestigious Lovelace Medal from the British Computer Society (BCS). The award is the top award in computing in the UK.
Professor Jennings is a world-leading authority in artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, cybersecurity and agent-based computing.
It is with great pride that I have jointly received this year’s Lovelace Medal. This award is a testament to the scientific collaboration I have enjoyed throughout my career. Professor Nick Jennings
The Lovelace Medal is awarded for outstanding contribution to the understanding and advancement of computing. The 2020 Lovelace Medal is to be awarded to Professor Jennings, alongside Professors Ian Horrocks and Michael Wooldridge, both from the University of Oxford.
On his win, Professor Jennings said: “It is with great pride that I have jointly received this year’s Lovelace Medal. This award is a testament to the scientific collaboration I have enjoyed throughout my career, not only with Professor Wooldridge, but with students, researchers, academics and colleagues alike.
“I am proud to have seen the growth of the field of multi-agent systems, from a subject studied by tens of people to the global community it is today.”
Professor Jennings and Professor Wooldridge have been recognised for their major contribution as founders of the field of multi-agent systems (MAS), computerised systems composed of multiple interacting intelligent agents. Their work has been instrumental in transforming the field from one studied by tens of people to the global community it is today.
In particular, their seminal Knowledge Engineering Review article set out the conceptual underpinning for modern MAS and is still the most cited paper in the area. It also received a Special Recognition Award from the International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems (IFAAMAS).
Other key contributions relate to foundational theories of cooperation, coordination and negotiating agents and to their application in a wide range of applications including disaster response, smart grids, environmental monitoring and citizen science.
The Lovelace Medal will be presented at a ceremony at the Royal Society in London in Autumn 2021.
The first computer programmer
The Lovelace Medal is the top award in computing in the UK. Previous winners include worldwide web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Linux creator Linus Torvalds, and information retrieval pioneer Karen Spärck Jones.
The award was established in 1998 in honour of Augusta Ada King-Noel, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852), daughter of the poet Lord Byron, and an accomplished mathematician, scientist and writer. Today she’s primarily known for her work on Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine.
Ada was the first to recognise that the machine had applications beyond pure calculation and created the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine. As a result, she’s regarded by many as the first computer programmer.