Dave Robertson is the Head of the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. His current research is on formal methods for coordination and knowledge sharing in distributed, open systems using ubiquitous internet and mobile infrastructures - the long term goal being to develop theories, languages and tools that out-perform conventional software engineering approaches in these arenas.
He was coordinator of the OpenKnowledge project and was a principal investigator on the Advanced Knowledge Technologies research consortium which were major EU and UK projects in this area.
His earlier work was primarily on program synthesis and on the high level specification of programs where he built some of the earliest systems for automating the construction of large programs from domain-specific requirements. He has contributed to the methodology of the field by developing the use of "lightweight" formal methods - traditional formal methods made much simpler to use in an engineering context by tailoring them to a specific type of task.
As an undergraduate he trained as a biologist and continues to prefer biology-related applications of his research, although methods from his group have also been applied to other areas such as astronomy, healthcare, simulation of consumer behaviour and emergency response.
This article was published on Oct 27, 2011