Jane Hillston elected a Fellow of the Royal Society

[10/05/2022] Professor Jane Hillston, Head of School of Informatics, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. She is one of only five female fellows whose research falls into a broad computer science or computational sciences fields.

Jane joins existing fellows from the School of Informatics: Alan Bundy, Peter Buneman, Wenfei Fan and Gordon Plotkin as well as notable past fellows: Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Charles Babbage, Dorothy Hodgkin and Stephen Hawking.

A portrait of a smiling woman with a chin-length grey hair wearing in a patterned top
Professor Jane Hillston

Jane Hillston is a Professor of Quantitative Modelling and Head of School in the School of Informatics, and Deputy Vice Principal for Research at the University of Edinburgh.

She holds a BA in Mathematics from the University of York, an MSc in Mathematics from Lehigh University and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Edinburgh. She is known for her work on stochastic process algebras. In particular, she has developed the PEPA process algebra, and helped develop Bio-PEPA, which is based on the earlier PEPA algebra and is specifically aimed at analysing biochemical networks. In 2004, she received the first Roger Needham Award at the Royal Society in London awarded yearly for a distinguished research contributor in computer research by a UK-based researcher within ten years of their PhD.

In March 2007 she was elected to the fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and in 2018, to the membership of the Academia Europaea. She is the recipient of the Suffrage Science Award for Computer Science and the RSE Lord Kelvin Medal.


Jane Hillston’s citation

Jane Hillston is known for developing new approaches to modelling both artificial and natural systems. In her doctoral dissertation she elegantly combined elements of formal languages from computer science with mathematical modelling deployed for performance evaluation, opening up a new approach to capturing and reasoning about the dynamic behaviour of systems. This led to the PEPA system, incorporating both temporal and probabilistic aspects in a process algebra framework. Subsequent work by Hillston and her group tackled a broad spectrum of applications including biological, ecological and social systems. More recently she pioneered fluid approximations in formal modelling systems and model checking.

I am deeply honoured and absolutely delighted to be elected to fellowship of the Royal Society.  It will be a privilege to belong to such a distinguished scientific body and I hope that I can use my fellowship to inspire and assist others.

Professor Jane Hillston
Head of School, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh

It is an honour to welcome so many outstanding researchers from around the world into the Fellowship of the Royal Society.

Through their careers so far, these researchers have helped further our understanding of human disease, biodiversity loss and the origins of the universe. I am also pleased to see so many new Fellows working in areas likely to have a transformative impact on our society over this century, from new materials and energy technologies to synthetic biology and artificial intelligence. I look forward to seeing what great things they will achieve in the years ahead.

Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society about 2022 fellows

Fellowships of the Royal Society are granted to individuals who have made a "substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science, and medical science". Each year, up to 52 new fellows from the United Kingdom, the rest of the Commonwealth of Nations and Ireland are elected. Each candidate is considered on his or her own merits and can be proposed from any sector of the scientific community.

Fellows are elected for life on the basis of excellence in science and are entitled to use the post-nominal letters FRS.

Related links

Information on the Royal Society website 

The link to Jane Hillston's personal page