Prof. Tony Hey


Professor Tony Hey began his career as a theoretical physicist with a doctorate in particle physics from the University of Oxford in the UK. After a career in physics that included research positions at Caltech and CERN, and a professorship at the University of Southampton in England, he became interested in parallel computing and moved into computer science. In the 1980’s he was one of the pioneers of distributed memory message-passing computing.

After being Head of Department of the Electronics and Computer Science Department, and then Dean of Engineering at Southampton, Tony Hey was selected to lead the U.K.’s ground-breaking ‘eScience’ initiative in 2001. This initiative recognised the increasing importance of ‘Big Data’ and the emergence of ‘Data-Intensive Science’. In 2005, he joined Microsoft in Seattle as Vice President for Technical Computing and was also responsible for Microsoft’s global university research collaborations. In Microsoft Research he edited an influential collection of essays by leading scientists and computer scientists which were published as the ‘The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery.’ He is now back in the UK working as Chief Data Scientist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at Harwell near Oxford.

Tony Hey has written several ‘popular’ science books – ‘The New Quantum Universe’, about the far-reaching applications of Quantum Mechanics, and ‘Einstein’s Mirror’, about Special and General Relativity. His latest book is ‘The Computing Universe: A Journey through a Revolution’ and is a layman’s introduction to computers and the Internet. After describing the origins of computers and computer science, the book goes on to discuss what is likely to happen in the future with exciting – and somewhat scary – developments in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) in the US, and of the UK's Royal Academy of Engineering. In 2005, he was awarded a CBE for his ‘services to science.’