The Princess Royal visits the School of Informatics

[23/01/2024] Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, has visited the School of Informatics for the conclusion of the celebrations of 60 years of computer science and Artificial Intelligence (AI) research at Edinburgh.

Photograph off The Princess Royal speaking to colleagues from School of Informatics
Image credit Douglas Robertson
The Princess Royal pictured with Head of School of Informatics and University Principal
Image credit Douglas Robertson

The Princess Royal – Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh – met with students and staff to hear about the highlights of our world-leading research.

Professor Barbara Webb and Dr Robert Mitchel introduced the Chancellor to their research project, the BeetleBot, which simulates insect navigation behaviours. Professor Subramanian Ramamoorthy and his PhD student, Servinar Cheema, talked about the technology inside the School’s newly acquired self-driven car, which was displayed in the Forum. A range of bionic hands and AI-enabled technologies that provide home-based solutions for predictive care for older people were presented by Professor Kia Nazarpour, Dr Lynda Webb and Dr Saber Mirzaee Bafti.

The Princess Royal spoke to Fergus White and Charlotte Ausel from Scotland’s largest tech student society CompSoc. Through social events, hackathons and special interest groups (exploring themes such as white hacking and server maintenance via their ‘Tardis Project’) they support the School’s teaching and research.

The Chancellor also met with Rachel Hosker, the University Archivist, and Russell Cowe, a graduate who demonstrated his computer noughts and crosses game to His Late Royal Highness, Duke of Edinburgh, at 10 Buccleuch Place in 1968.

At the end of her visit, The Princes Royal had the opportunity to meet staff, students and guests, including industry partners, donors, and alumni, who attended a small reception on the day. During her speech to the School, she noted that over the past six decades, the conversation has moved from how computers and devices work to how we can best use them, and that Edinburgh is at the forefront of those conversations.

We are very grateful that the Chancellor was able to visit the School of Informatics and commemorate this event, which was our final capstone celebration of 60 years of computer science and AI at the University of Edinburgh. It was a great opportunity to showcase the cutting-edge research at Informatics. We firmly believe that this work will shape and revolutionise society for the better in the next 60 years and beyond.

Professor Helen Hastie, Head of School of Informatics

The Princess Royal is the institution's eighth Chancellor in the 150-year history of the position, succeeding Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, as Chancellor in 2011.

She has visited the University on numerous occasions, meeting with many of our students and staff over the years. 

During 2023, the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh celebrated 60 years of AI and computer science research, highlighting the heritage of this extraordinary place as one of the leading centres for advanced technology research.