Alongside his professorship at Hertford, Mike is Head of Oxford’s Department of Computer Science and a Programme Director for AI at the Alan Turing Institute, London. He joins illustrious and exclusive company: previous Lovelace Medal winners include World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Linux creator Linus Torvalds, and information retrieval pioneer Karen Spärck Jones.
Mike Wooldridge and Nick Jennings are collaborators who receive the medal in recognition of their work as founders of the multi-agent systems (MAS) field. Since the 1980s, they have been working on the problem of how autonomous artificial intelligence systems might work together. Their work on cooperating, coordinating and negotiating agents has been instrumental in transforming this nascent area from one studied by just tens of people, to today’s global community which has produced the omnipotent and omnipresent voices of Siri, Alexa and Cortana.
The Lovelace Medal is named for the visionary mathematician Ada Lovelace, known as the “first computer programmer.” She worked with Charles Babbage, for whose prototype of a digital computer she created a programme in the mid-1800s.
Speaking in an interview with the BCS, Mike says:
The award is recognition that the idea of multi-agent systems – the whole bag of concepts, theories, algorithms and so on – is now a standard part of contemporary computer science. The award is recognition that we’ve reached that stage. For me, that is extremely gratifying.
Watch the full interview from the British Computer Society with Mike Wooldridge and Nick Jennings below. We look forward to seeing Mike and his fellow winners present their work at the annual Lovelace Lecture in 2021.