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Tuesday, 9 February 2016, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Museum of London

How Can Software Be So Hard?

Professor Martyn Thomas CBE


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How can it be possible for teenagers to write smartphone apps that make them multi-millionaires when many commercial and Government IT projects fail, despite employing the skills and resources of international IT companies? What is software and how is it developed? How confident do we need to be that it is sufficiently correct, reliable, usable, safe or secure? What evidence would we need? The main reasons why software projects overrun, get cancelled, or deliver inadequate software will be explored, using examples of project failures and the litigations that often result.

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A world-renowned expert in software engineering and cybersecurity, Martyn Thomas CBE was the first IT Livery Company Professor of Information Technology at Gresham College from 2014-2018.

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 Manchester, 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.

Professor Thomas has over thirty years of rich and varied experience in 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 Associates 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 an advisor to the Ministry of Defence and the Cabinet Office. He has been awarded honorary Doctor of Science degrees by the Universities of Edinburgh and Hull and by City University, London and an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree by the University of Bath.

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 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).

All of Professor Thomas' Gresham lectures can be accessed here.

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9 February 2016

How Can Software Be So Hard?
Professor Martyn Thomas CBE

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