Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt
18 February 2019
Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt is one of the UK’s foremost computer scientists. He is a leading researcher in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and was one of the originators of the interdisciplinary field of Web Science. He is Principal of Jesus College Oxford and a Professor of Computing Science at the University of Oxford. He is chairman of the Open Data Institute which he co-founded with Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Both of them leading the development of the highly acclaimed data.gov.uk website. In 2010, he joined the UK government’s Public Sector Transparency Board – overseeing Open Data releases across the public sector. He was knighted in 2013 for ‘services to science and engineering’.
Sir Nigel grew up in the Peak District of Derbyshire. He has a degree in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Newcastle and a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh. In 1983 he joined the Department of Psychology at Nottingham where he established and led a vibrant AI group. In 1992 he became the Allan Standen Professor of Intelligent Systems. He moved to Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science in 2000. At Southampton he researched the next generation of the World Wide Web and was the first Head of Web and Internet Science Group.
With over 500 publications, he has researched and published on topics ranging from cognitive psychology to computational neuroscience, Artificial Intelligence to the Semantic Web. He was one of the originators of the interdisciplinary field of Web Science. He is the co-author of The Spy in the Coffee Machine and is an authority on issues to do with privacy and trust in the Digital age. In 2018 he published The Digital Ape: how to live (in peace) with smart machines, described as a ‘landmark book’.
He has also been heavily involved with the commercial exploitation of his research. In 2008 Garlik, a company he co-founded to help protect personal information and prevent identity theft, was awarded Technology Pioneer status by the Davos World Economic Forum also winning the prestigious UK BT Flagship IT Award. Garlik had over 500,000 users when acquired by Experian in November 2011.
In its 50th Anniversary year 2006-2007, Nigel was President of the British Computer Society. He is a Fellow of The Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the British Computer Society. In 2011 he was awarded an Honorary DSc by the University of Nottingham. Married with two children he lives in Oxford and Lymington, Hampshire where he indulges his passion for sailing.
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