School of Informatics

Gordon Plotkin awarded Ada Lovelace Medal

Gordon Plotkin has been selected by the Awards Panel of British Computer Society, The Chartered Institute for IT as the 2018 winner of the Lovelace Medal.

Gordon Plotkin

Gordon, a Professor in the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, is a theoretical computer scientist best known for his structural approach to computer programming languages, which describes how the individual steps of a computer-based calculation takes place. Gordon has also contributed to the fields of artificial intelligence, logic and linguistics.

Gordon’s work established a semantic framework for programming languages. This helped to standardise computer science and allows data to be shared and reused across applications. In 1987, Gordon co-founded the Laboratory for Foundations of Computer Science (LFCS) at the University of Edinburgh with Royal Society Fellows, Rodney Burstall and Robin Milner. LFCS is now one of the institutes in the School of Informatics The research in LFCS includes the study of theories important to the analysis and design of computing systems.

Winner of the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, Gordon went on to receive the Royal Society Milner Award in 2012 for his “fundamental research into programming semantics with lasting impact on both the principles and design of programming languages.”

The BCS Lovelace Medal is the top award in computing in the UK and is awarded by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. The award is presented annually to individuals who, in the opinion of BCS, have made a significant contribution to the advancement of Information Systems.

The BCS Lovelace Medal was established in 1998 in honour of Lady Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace and daughter of Lord Byron. She was born in 1815.

Previous winners include worldwide web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Linux creator Linus Torvalds, ARM designer Steve Furber, information retrieval pioneer Karen Spärck Jones, and Doug Engelbart who developed the computer mouse and the modern style of computer interface.

As winner of the Lovelace Medal Gordon will also give a public lecture about his research in spring next year.

Related links

Gordon Plotkin

Lovelace Medal and Lecture