Highlights in the history of Edinburgh computer science and AI research

In 2023, the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh celebrates 60 years of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI) research. The timeline below highlights selected events and achievements in the rich history of these two vital research areas at Edinburgh. This year we will be looking back at our history in hope to determine other vital milestones, but we will also be looking into the future and reflect on how we can shape it.

The University of Edinburgh traces the origins of its activities in AI to a small research group established in 1963 by Donald Michie. The same year the Computer Unit was created and Sidney Michaelson was appointed its Director.

35 years later, in 1998, different activities around science of information (including computer science, artificial intelligence, cognitive science and others) were brought together and a new Division (later changed to School) of Informatics was formed.

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This article is based heavily on "A Short History of the Antecedents of the School of Informatics" prepared by Chris Williams

Further Reading

How Edinburgh became world leader in artificial intelligence, The Herald, 2023

A Short History of the Antecedents of the School of Informatics by Chris Williams, 2023

Birse, Ronald M.; University of Edinburgh. Faculty of Science and Engineering. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh, Faculty of Science and Engineering; 1994

Jim Howe: Artificial Intelligence at Edinburgh University: A Perspective. last revision 2007

History makers: Informatics, Edit Magazine