Blackett Memorial Lecture
Thank you for attending
The Blackett Lecture 2020 was attended online by more than 200 OR and analytics professionals - thank you to everyone who took part.
At this year’s event, we awarded nine winning medals to 21 industry frontrunners. Click the link to find out more about the Blackett Medal recipients.
Find out more about our plenary talk by Chris Skidmore below.
He spoke about what OR really means in the 21st Century, including but not limited to how OR is used to shape public behaviour and predictions for what the future of OR looks like.
Skidmore restated the importance of operational research for the future and discussed how that importance can be truly realised. He reflected on his time as the UK’s Science, Research and Innovation Minister between 2018 and 2020, and spoke about current uncertainty and its impact on OR.
He also explored the target of the UK's future international identity as a ‘global science superpower’ and what needs to be done to achieve this - namely considerable investment in not only our research infrastructure, but in the skills needed to conduct research in the future.
"Investment in R&D is to invest in one's future" are the words of Skidmore, and we couldn't agree more.
Our annual lecture provides a forum for leading industry figures to bring to your attention current affairs in the areas of analytics, data science and artificial intelligence.
The lecture is named in memory of Patrick Blackett, a physicist, Nobel Prize winner and one-time president of the Royal Society. Blackett was one of the pioneers of operational research (OR) during the Second World War, when he advocated the employment of scientists to advise on matters of strategy and tactics.
Find out more about Patrick Blackett in our animated video.
Professor Philip Bond discussed if a society is to deliver high standards of living it first needs to deliver high levels of innovation, productivity and performance.
Sir Alan Wilson FRS FAcSS FBA
Sir Alan discusses OR in a new age in four parts: the starting point; the impact of AI; OR in the age of AI; and the future.
Sir Nigel Shadbolt FREng FRS
Sir Nigel’s fascinating presentation expanded on the “growing recognition that the ecosystem that is the Web needs to be treated as an important and coherent area of study—this is web science.”
Professor Andrew Blake
Professor Blake discussed the common conflict faced by modellers whether to use an empirical classifier or some form of generative model.
On the face of it, this seems a bit of a strange title for a talk to The OR Society but Kenneth Cukier, Data Editor of The Economist who presented this year’s Blackett Memorial Lecture, soon made it clear that it was actually a very appropriate title.
Professor Sir Bruce Keogh
David Spiegelhalter FRS OBE
Professor David MacKay FRS
Robert M May, (Lord May of Oxford OM, AC, FRS) Zoology Department, University of Oxford