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Prof Nick Jennings Imperial College London Contactengine AI Board Member

Professor Nick Jennings

Imperial College London, Chairman

Professor Nick Jennings CB, FREng is Vice-Provost of Research and Enterprise at Imperial College. He is responsible for promoting, supporting and facilitating the College’s research performance, for leading on the delivery of the Research Strategy and overseeing the College’s enterprise activities. Nick is also a Professor of Artificial Intelligence in the Departments of Computing and Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

Professor Jennings is an internationally-recognized authority in the areas of artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, cybersecurity and agent-based computing. His research covers both the science and the engineering of intelligent systems. He has undertaken fundamental research on automated bargaining, mechanism design, trust and reputation, coalition formation, human-agent collectives and crowd sourcing. He has also pioneered the application of multi-agent technology; developing real-world systems in domains such as business process management, smart energy systems, sensor networks, disaster response, telecommunications, citizen science and defence.

View the Insider’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence video with Nick Jennings

Prof Chris Reed University Of Dundee Contactengine AI Board Member

Professor Chris Reed

University of Dundee, Board Member

Chris Reed is Professor of Computer Science and Philosophy at the University of Dundee in Scotland, where he heads the Centre for Argument Technology. Chris has been working at the overlap between argumentation theory and artificial intelligence for over twenty years, developing foundational theory in philosophy, linguistics and cognitive science that facilitates the development of practical AI applications. The goal is to help improve, teach, track and navigate the discussions and debates that run our governments, structure scientific research, underpin the corporate boardroom, drive legal process and frame religious beliefs.

Academic software from the Centre is relied upon by hundreds of thousands of users in over 80 countries, whilst for non-specialist audiences, the Centre has been commissioned by the BBC twice: once to develop analytics which were livestreamed in accompaniment to Radio 4 broadcasts; and again to build software helping pupils to identify fake news — software that has now been deployed into every secondary school in the UK.

His research has attracted over £6m in funding and has drawn on partnership with both SMEs and corporates (most recently with IBM). He has published over 200 papers in the area, including establishing basic interoperability standards and pioneering infrastructure for the management of large scale datasets for deep learning. Commercially, he has served as an executive director of three start-up companies, and consulted for several more.

In the public sphere, Chris has appeared on TV and radio in the UK and further afield, including BBC TV, BBC Scotland, BBC Worldservice, Talk Radio (UK national), Newstalk (Irish national), and in the press with New Scientist, BBC News, Financial Times, Newsweek, The Independent, The Guardian, Wired Magazine, Newsweek and more.

View the Insider’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence video with Chris Reed

Prof Michael Luck Kings College London Contactengine AI Board Member

Professor Michael Luck

King's College London, Board Member

Michael Luck is Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Mathematical Sciences and Professor of Computer Science at King's College London. He was Head of the Department of Informatics from 2011 to 2013, where he also worked in the Agents and Intelligent Systems group, undertaking research into agent technologies and intelligent systems.

Professor Luck is a Director of the International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems (IFAAMAS), Co-Founder of the European Multi-Agent Systems (EUMAS) workshop series (and served as its Steering Committee’s first Chair), Co-Founder and Chair of the steering committee of the UK Multi-Agent Systems Workshops (UKMAS), and a Steering Committee member for the Central and Eastern European Conference on Multi-Agent Systems (CEEMAS). He was a member of the Executive Committee of AgentLink III, the European Network of Excellence for Agent-Based Computing, having previously been the Director of AgentLink II. He is an Editorial Board Member of Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems, the International Journal of Agent-Oriented Software Engineering, Web Intelligence and Agent Systems, and ACM Transactions on Autonomous and Adaptive Systems. He has also held the position of Series Editor for Artech House’s Agent Oriented Systems book series. Michael Luck is currently Scientific Advisor to the Board for Aerogility.

Professor Luck has over 200 publications, including twelve books (including monographs, textbooks, and edited collections). He was Lead Author of the AgentLink roadmaps in 2003 and 2005.

From 2000-2006, Professor Luck was based in the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, and from 1993-2000 in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Warwick. He studied in the Departments of Computer Science at University College London and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

View the Insider’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence video with Michael Luck

Dr Mark K Smith Contactengine CEO

Professor Mark K. Smith

ContactEngine, Board Member

Mark is a founder and Group CEO of ContactEngine. Operating globally the company automates customer communication for some of the largest brands in the world including Whirlpool, British Gas, Verizon, Sky, Virgin Media, and BT. Mark has a PhD in Biotechnology, and is an Honorary Professor of Science and Engineering at the University of Dundee. Mark has an interesting perspective on what intelligence actually is: Actual or Artificial? His company replicates the behaviours of human conversation using all available communication channels. Given the massive volumes of data collected across the globe, ContactEngine has unique insights into the changing patterns of human communication. Mixing raw data with AI techniques is helping the company to transform the way brands reach out to their customers – and delivering an improved customer experience. Mark’s ultimate goal is to never have to pick up the phone to complain about a service ever again, because the service provider treats him like an actual human being, not a number.

View our Founder Stories video with CEO, Prof. Mark K. Smith

Laura Van Beers Shell Contactengine AI Board Member

Laura van Beers

Shell, Board Member

Laura leads the global Natural Language Processing (NLP) capability at Shell in their Digital Centre of Excellence. With a decade of experience leading digital transformations in a variety of industries, Laura has a strong track record of using new technologies to create business value. Laura is passionate about the rapid development of NLP and is convinced it will have a transformative impact on the way humanity interacts with technology. Laura’s value to the board is her excellent conceptual thinking and her ability to bring complex ideas and plans back to simple, explainable forms. Her experience in a variety of businesses, in combination with her university degrees in Psychology and Law, give her a unique advantage of seeing a situation through multiple lenses.

Dr Long Tran Thanh University Of Southampton Contactengine AI Board Member

Dr Long Tran-Thanh

University of Southampton, Board Member

Dr Tran-Thanh is a Lecturer at the University of Southampton, UK. He obtained his PhD in Computer Science in 2012 at the same university. He has been conducting active research in a number of key areas of artificial intelligence, mainly focusing on combining online machine learning, game theory, and incentive engineering to tackle resource-constrained decision making problems where one has to deal with strategic human participants and/or malicious opponents. Additionally, Dr. Tran-Thanh has also applied his theoretical findings to a number of real world applications, such as online keyword bidding, wireless sensor networks, and crowd-sourcing.

Dr Nicola Millard BT Contactengine AI Board Member

Dr Nicola Millard

BT, Board Member

Dr Nicola Millard heads up Customer Insight and Futures in BT’s Innovation Team. Despite working for a technology company, Nicola isn’t a technologist and combines psychology with futurology to try and anticipate what might be lying around the corner for both customers and organisations (sadly, her crystal ball is broken).

Nicola has been with BT for over 25 years. She has done a number of jobs around the BT business, including research, user interface design, customer service and business consulting. She was involved with a number of BT “firsts”, including the first application of AI into BT’s call centres, BT’s initial experiments with home working and developing new ways to measure customer experience.

Nicola got her PhD from Lancaster University in 2005 on motivational technologies in contact centres, and published her first book in 2009.

Nicola is an award winning presenter, with 2 TED talks & hundreds of conference panel, chair and keynote sessions under her belt. She regularly pops up on radio and TV around the world, including appearances on ‘Woman’s Hour’, ‘Tech Tent’, ‘The Genius of Invention’ and ‘Back in Time for the Weekend’ for the BBC.

She is also a judge on a number of award panels, including the Institute of Customer Service, the CCMA and the Association of Business Psychology awards. In 2014, she was the recipient of the ‘Outstanding Industry Contribution’ award from the UK Contact Centre Forum.

When she’s not doing all that, Nicola conducts research, writes blogs and white papers, and facilitates workshops with an assortment of BT’s multinational corporate clients.

View the Insider’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence video with Dr Nicola Millard

Alex Van Someren Amadeus Capital Contactengine AI Board Member

Alex van Someren

Amadeus Capital Partners, Board Member

Alex is Managing Partner of the Early Stage Funds at Amadeus and sits on the boards of several Amadeus portfolio companies. Alex has a current investment focus on UK deep technology including artificial intelligence & machine learning, cloud computing/enterprise SaaS, cyber security, digital healthcare, medical technology and optical & quantum technologies.

Alex is a co-founder of CyLon (, which finds, grows and invests in the world’s best emerging cyber businesses. During 2019, Alex will hold the Clore Visiting Innovation Professorship of the Royal College of Art, and will be a member of the Royal Society’s Science, Industry and Translation Committee.

Alex left school to join Acorn Computers in the 1980s, where he was involved in the development of the BBC Microcomputer & Acorn Electron. He subsequently co-founded ANT Ltd in 1990 to produce networking products, including web browser software licensed to the Oracle Corporation. ANT plc was listed on the London AIM market (AIM:ANTP) in 2005 and later acquired by Espial.

In 1996 he co-founded nCipher with venture capital backing to develop internet security products using advanced cryptography. The company became a world leader in IT security, counting major banks, finance companies and governments among its customers. As nCipher’s CEO he raised a total of £14 million in venture capital funding before leading the company to an IPO on the London Stock Exchange in 2000 (LSE:NCH) at a £350 million valuation. nCipher plc was sold to Thales SA in 2008 and is now Thales e-Security.

Alex lives in Cambridge, UK and is married with three children. He was appointed an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge in 2005, and he is currently Chairman of the Development Committee of Kettle’s Yard, one of the University of Cambridge Museums.

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