Tuesday, 12 January 2016, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Museum of London

A Very Brief History of Computing, 1948-2015

Professor Martyn Thomas CBE

The world's first modern computer, in Manchester in 1948, was followed remarkably swiftly by the first business software, but by 1968 software was in crisis and NATO called a conference. The problems were diagnosed, solutions were proposed - and largely ignored. A second Software Crisis was announced in the early 1980's and again the effective solutions were considered impractical and the practical solutions were largely ineffective. Meanwhile as Moore's Law predicted, hardware costs continued to fall exponentially, making software systems ubiquitous and leading to a third software crisis, this time of cybersecurity.

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A world-renowned expert in software engineering and cybersecurity, Martyn Thomas CBE is the very first IT Livery Company Professor of Information Technology at Gresham College.

An independent consultant systems engineer and non-executive director, Professor Thomas is an internationally recognised expert in safety-critical or security-critical, software intensive systems, software engineering, and cybersecurity. He is a Visiting Professor in Software Engineering at the Universities of Oxford, Aberystwyth and Bristol. He has given oral evidence to several UK Parliamentary Committees in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and advised several Government Departments. He has been instructed as an expert witness in complex, high-value litigations in Europe and Australia.

Spanning an illustrious career, Professor Thomas has over thirty years rich and varied experience within the IT industry. In 1983 he founded the software engineering company Praxis which soon became internationally recognised as a leader in the use of rigorous software engineering. Professor Thomas sold Praxis to Deloitte & Touche in 1992 and joined them as a partner with world-wide responsibilities for software engineering. In 1998 he established Martyn Thomas Associated Ltd and has since carried out consultancy work with clients such as Network Rail, the UK National Air Traffic Services (NATS) and the National Bank of Australia.

Professor Thomas works extensively with universities and Government. He is a non-executive director of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIAHE) and a member of the Defence Scientific Advisory Council (DSAC). He has been awarded honorary Doctor of Science degrees by the Universities of Edinburgh and Hull and by City University, London.

Regularly featured in the press and media, Professor Thomas has appeared on BBC television and Radio in a wide variety of programmes and roles. He has co-authored or edited five books, including: Industrial Deployment of System Engineering Methods and Software for Dependable Systems: Sufficient Evidence?

Professor Thomas is a Fellow and a Trustee of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), which is the UK’s National Academy for Engineering. He is also a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

Appointed as the first ever Professor of IT at Gresham College, a position sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, Professor Thomas will deliver his first year of lectures on Living in a Cyber-Enabled World:

“In my Gresham lectures I will explore the state of software today, how we got to where we are, and what we shall need to do to shore up the foundations of a digital society that is increasingly built on sand. The lecture series is designed to inform, to entertain, and to stimulate balanced discussions that lead to effective actions. In this I hope to make Gresham College play a leading role in accelerating the transition of the craft of software development into a mature engineering profession.”

Current Gresham Professor of Information Technology

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12 January 2016

A Very Brief History of Computing, 1948-2015
Professor Martyn Thomas CBE

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