Portrait of Andrew Blake

Andrew Blake

Emeritus Researcher


Andrew Blake is a pioneer in the development of the theory and algorithms that make it possible for computers to behave as seeing machines. He is especially interested in segmentation as optimization, in visual tracking as probabilistic inference, and in real-time, 3D vision – see  his principal publications  (opens in new tab)on these topics.  Some of the main themes of his work are captured in books including “Visual Reconstruction (opens in new tab)” with A.Zisserman (1987, MIT press), “Active Vision (opens in new tab)” with A. Yuille (1992, MIT Press),   “Active Contours (opens in new tab)” with M. Isard (1998, Springer-Verlag) and “Markov Random Fields for Vision and Image Processing (opens in new tab)” with C. Rother and P. Kohli (2011, MIT Press).

He trained in mathematics and electrical engineering in Cambridge UK and at MIT, and studied for a doctorate (opens in new tab) in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh. He was an academic for 18 years, in Edinburgh and Oxford, ultimately as Professor of Information Engineering at Oxford University. He joined Microsoft in 1999 to found the Computer Vision group in Cambridge, before becoming Director of Microsoft’s Cambridge Laboratory in 2010 and a Microsoft Distinguished Scientist.

Currently he is a consultant in Artificial Intelligence. In particular he is Chairman of Samsung’s AI Research Centre SAIC (opens in new tab) in Cambridge UK.  He is consultant and Scientific Adviser to the FiveAI (opens in new tab) autonomous driving company, and serves as an adviser to Siemens (opens in new tab).

In 2010, he was elected to the council of the Royal Society and was appointed to the board of the EPSRC (opens in new tab) in 2012. He was Director at The Alan Turing Institute (opens in new tab) 2015-8. He has been  Honorary Professor of Machine Intelligence (opens in new tab) at the University of Cambridge since 2007 and is a Fellow (opens in new tab) of Clare Hall. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering  (opens in new tab)since 1998 and Fellow of the Royal Society (opens in new tab) since 2005.

He twice won the prize of the European Conference on Computer Vision, with R. Cipolla (opens in new tab) in 1992 and with M. Isard (opens in new tab) in 1996, and was awarded the IEEE David Marr Prize (opens in new tab) (jointly with K. Toyama) in 2001. The Royal Academy of Engineering awarded him their Silver Medal (opens in new tab) in 2006, and in 2007 he received the Institution of Engineering and Technology Mountbatten Medal (opens in new tab) (previously awarded to computer pioneers Maurice Wilkes and Tim Berners-Lee, amongst others.) He was named a Distinguished Researcher (opens in new tab) in Computer Vision by the IEEE in 2009. In 2011, with colleagues at Microsoft Research, he received the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Gold Medal (opens in new tab) for the machine learning at the heart of the Microsoft Kinect 3D camera.

Exactly 80 years after Einstein, in 2014, he gave the Gibbs lecture (opens in new tab) at the Joint Mathematics Meetings (see transcript (opens in new tab)) –  the 6th British scientist to do so in 90 years. The BCS awarded him its Lovelace Medal and prize lecture (opens in new tab) in 2017. He holds honorary doctorates at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Sheffield.