I did Physics at Cambridge, graduating in 1982 (BA in Physics and Theoretical Physics, Class I), and then did a further year of study known as Part III Maths (Distinction, 1983). I was interested in the "neural networks" field at that time, but it was difficult to find anyone to work with. I then switched directions for a while, doing an MSc in Water Resources at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and going on to work in Lesotho, Southern Africa in low-cost sanitation. In 1988 I returned to academia, studing neural networks/AI with Geoff Hinton at the University of Toronto (MSc 1990, PhD 1994). In September 1994 I moved to Aston University as a Research Fellow and was made a Lecturer in August 1995. I moved to the Department of Artificial Inteligence at the University of Edinburgh in July 1998, was promoted to Reader in the School of Informatics in October 2000, and Professor of Machine Learning in October 2005. I was Director of the Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation (ANC) 2005-2012, founding Director of the CDT in Data Science 2013-2016, University Liaison Director for UoE to the Alan Turing Institute (2016-2018), and Director of Research for the School of InformatIcs (2018-2021).
I was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2021. I am Fellow of the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS), a Turing Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute (UK), and was program co-chair of the NeurIPS conference in 2009.
I have two daughters, Kate, born in 1993 and Ruth, born in 1995.