Jane Hillston awarded BCS Lovelace Medal

[07/11/2023] Professor Jane Hillston MBE, the former Head of School of Informatics, has won the British Computer Society’s Lovelace Medal – one of the top computing awards in the UK. She becomes the first person to receive the three top awards from the Society, also known as The Chartered Institute for IT – the Needham Award, the Distinguished Dissertation Award and now the Lovelace Research Medal.

photo of a smiling grey-haired woman
Professor Jane Hillston

The Medal is presented annually by the Institute for outstanding contributions to the advancement of computing. Winners are chosen by a panel selected by the British Computer Society (BCS).

Professor Hillston is awarded the Medal in recognition of her work developing new approaches to modelling both artificial and natural computer systems, by combining elements of programming with mathematical modelling. In addition to computer systems, the resulting applications have assisted the analysis of biological, ecological and social networks. 

Demis Hassabis CBE, co-founder of AI research company Google DeepMind, was also announced as a winner of the Lovelace Research Medal. The Lovelace Education Medal has been awarded to Professor Tom Crick, Professor of Digital Education & Policy and Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Swansea University.

The BCS Lovelace Medal was established in 1998 in honour of Lady Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace and daughter of Lord Byron. Born in 1815, Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician and writer, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage's proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. 

Previous winners include worldwide web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee and information retrieval pioneer Karen Spärck Jones.

BCS brings together academics, practitioners, industry and government to share knowledge, promote new thinking, inform the design of new curricula, and shape policy.

“I am deeply honoured to be awarded the BCS Lovelace Medal and to see the value of my work in computing recognised in this way. I’m also grateful that my area of specialism is being recognised for its contribution across a range of scientific fields. Over the years I have been privileged to work with many collaborators, in the UK and internationally and I'd like to thank them all for their support and contributions.”

Professor Jane Hillston MBE
Professor of Quantitative Modelling and former Head of the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh

“All three have advanced the global reputation of computing as a force for good, working across areas like AI, mathematical modelling with applications in science, and in teaching the next generation of computing leaders. All are innovators who have changed society for the better and helped increase our understanding of how the world works through information technology. We are incredibly proud to be able to honour them at a time when computing is being woven into every aspect of scientific research, industry and teaching.”

Rashik Parmar MBE
Group Chief Executive of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT

Related links

A link to the announcement on the University website

British Computer Society  

Ada Lovelace Medal