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Research Interests

Engineering of systems, normally based on comptational logic, for coordinating large scale distributed systems through knowledge sharing.  These sorts of problems appear in multi-agent systems, peer to peeer data sharing and in social computation (where the autonomous components are humans as well as machines).  Applications in healthcare and medicine, where the principal driver is precision medicine (making the characterisation of diseases more specific and treatments more targeted) and its interaction with stratified medicine (allowing more finely grained characterisation of human populations in terms of their propensity to be treated for diseases).  To support all of this, the construction of data sharing environments that support automated experimentation on healthcare data while protecting the confidentiality of people supplying the data.


David Robertson is Chair of Applied Logic at the University of Edinburgh.  He was Vice Principal and Head of College of Science & Engineering at Edinburgh.  Prior to this he was Head of School of Informatics at Edinburgh, which is the largest UK computing science department in the UK in terms of research power. His computing research is on Artificial Intelligence, specialising in formal methods for coordination and knowledge sharing between (human/artificial) agents in distributed systems where a high degree of autonomy is expected in the components of the underlying system.  This is one of the enablers for AI at large scale. Methods from his group have been applied to astronomy, simulation of consumer behaviour, emergency response and healthcare. He was a member of the Farr Institute for medical data sharing and was co-director of the Centre for Medical Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. He is currently Director of the Scottish node, and of the AI theme, for Health Data Research UK.  He chaired the executive of the UK Computing Research Committee (the expert panel of the British Computer Society and the Institution of Engineering and Technology) and has served on strategic advisory groups for the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Medical Research Council and Innovate UK. He was a member of the governance board for the Scottish Innovation Centre in Data Science and he was on the supervisory board for EIT Digital (Europe's largest digital innovation ecosystem).


  • BSc Hons Ecological Science : University of Edinburgh, 1984.
  • PhD Artificial Intelligence : Autonomous University of Barcelona, 2000.


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