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Honorary Membership Awarded to Polymath and Leader Sir Alan Wilson

Thursday, 23 Nov 2017 (revised date: Thursday, 23 Nov 2017)
Mrs Amy Patrick

Sir Alan Wilson, CEO of the Alan Turing Institute, was awarded a lifetime honorary membership to the Operational Research Society during its annual Blackett Memorial Lecture held at IET London on 23 November 2017. The award recognises his more than 50 years research and leadership related to operational research (OR), which is the science of making better decisions through the use of logic, mathematical modelling and analytical methods, and welcomes him to the OR community.

Sir Alan Wilson Honorary Membership

Sir Alan was responsible for the introduction of model building techniques which are now commonly used around the world. His body of research covers the use of mathematical modelling in the planning of cities in areas such as transport planning, demography and economic modelling. His current research is on the evolution of cities and the dynamics of global trade, migration, security and development aid. It embodies the OR tradition in its mix of modelling interconnected systems, borrowing methods from other disciplines, and accounting for the human aspects of problem-solving. His leadership of the Alan Turing Institute carries these features through to the developing discipline of data science.

OR Society President Ruth Kaufman said of his award: "This is an excellent moment for us to be recognising Sir Alan's many achievements with honorary membership of the OR Society. His work on urban analytics fits perfectly into the OR philosophy, and his work with the Alan Turing Institute will lead us to work even more closely together in future.” 

Sir Alan Wilson commented: “I am delighted and privileged to be made an honorary member of the Society. I have always believed in the importance of OR and I think this is particularly so in the age of big data, data science and AI. I will look forward to helping the Society in responding to these new challenges and opportunities, not least in my current role in The Alan Turing Institute.”


Notes for editors

1) The OR Society is the professional home of the operational research and analytics community. OR practitioners are people trained and experienced in finding effective approaches to real-world problems by using maths and science. The OR Society promotes the understanding and use of operational research in all areas of life, including industry, business, government, health, and education. The society is a registered charity which offers OR learning, encourages students to engage with STEM subjects, and facilitates pro bono consultancy services. See more at

2) Sir Alan Wilson was formerly Professor of Urban and Regional Systems in the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London and Chair of the Home Office Science Advisory Council and of the Lead Expert Group for the Government Office for Science Foresight Project on The Future of Cities. He writes the weekly Quaestio blog on research and interdisciplinarity, See full bio at

3) The Alan Turing Institute is the UK’s national institute for data science, which brings together researchers from computer science, mathematics, statistics, engineering and the social sciences to turn data into useful information. Understanding the societal implications of big data is one of The Alan Turing Institute’s key research priorities. See more at


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