Blackett Lecture: Professor Anthony Finkelstein

Blackett Lecture 2021

The Blackett Lecture 2021 was attended online by over 260 OR and analytics professionals. Thank you to everyone who took part.

'A Systems View of National Security'

Professor Anthony Finkelstein CBE FREng DSc MAE FCGI

Professor Finkelstein outlined the challenges of national security in the context of rapid change in science, technology and the global order, exploring how this change has disrupted societies and, along the way, the operational model in security and intelligence. He expanded the discussion into how we should respond in the short, medium and longer term.

Professor Finkelsten went on to set out how systems thinking and modelling can be vital tools in shaping a response, with reference to the intellectual legacy of Patrick Blackett - a pioneer of OR who first proposed extending scientific thinking and operations research to the national security domain.

Our 2021 Speaker

Prof. Anthony Finkelstein CBE FREng DSc MAE FCGI

Anthony Finkelstein is the President of City, University of London and Professor of Software Systems Engineering. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and also a Member of Academia Europaea, a Fellow of City & Guilds of London Institute and a Distinguished Fellow of RUSI (the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies). He has an Honorary DSc from City, University of London. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to computer science and engineering.

Until taking up the role of President, he was Chief Scientific Adviser for National Security to HM Government, a senior strategic and operational role that involves leadership of science, research and innovation across the UK's national security community. Whilst undertaking this role he retained a position at University College London (UCL) and as a Fellow of The Alan Turing Institute, the UK national institute for AI and data science, of which he was a founding trustee. Prior to this, he was Dean of UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences and before that Head of UCL Department of Computer Science. He held a Chair in Software Systems Engineering at UCL, having started his career at Imperial College, Department of Computing. He has established three successful ‘spin-out’ companies (including two ‘exits’).

Who was Patrick Blackett?

Since 1975, The Operational Research Society's annual lecture has been known as the Blackett Memorial Lecture in honour of Lord Patrick Blackett.

A physicist, Nobel prizewinner and one-time president of the Royal Society, Blackett was one of the pioneers of operational research (OR) during World War 2, when he advocated the employment of scientists to advise on matters of strategy and tactics. Learn more about Patrick Blackett in our light-hearted 'Draw my life' animation: