Andrew Blake is a pioneer in the development of the theory and algorithms that can make it possible for computers to behave as seeing machines. Some of the main themes of his work are captured in books including “Visual Reconstruction” with A.Zisserman (MIT press), “Active Vision” with A. Yuille (MIT Press) and “Active Contours” with M. Isard (Springer-Verlag). His interests are primarily in image processing and segmentation as optimization, on visual tracking as probabilistic inference, and on real-time, 3D vision – see here for his principal publications on these topics.
He trained in mathematics and electrical engineering in Cambridge UK and at MIT, and studied for a doctorate in Artificial Intelligence in Edinburgh. He has been an academic for 18 years, latterly as Professor of Information Engineering at Oxford University. He joined Microsoft in 1999 to found the Computer Vision group, before becoming Director of Microsoft’s Cambridge Laboratory in 2010 and a Microsoft Distinguished Scientist in 2012. Currently he is Research Director at The Alan Turing Institute, Scientific Adviser to the FiveAI autonomous driving company, Honorary Professor of Machine Intelligence at the University of Cambridge, and consults for various major companies on Artificial Intelligence.
He has twice won the prize of the European Conference on Computer Vision, with R. Cipolla in 1992 and with M. Isard in 1996, and was awarded the IEEE David Marr Prize (jointly with K. Toyama) in 2001. In 2006 the Royal Academy of Engineering awarded him the Silver Medal and he was awarded the Institution of Engineering and Technology Mountbatten Medal (previously awarded to computer pioneers Maurice Wilkes and Tim Berners-Lee, amongst others.) He was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1998, Fellow of the IEEE in 2008, and Fellow of the Royal Society in 2005. In 2011, with colleagues at Microsoft Research, received the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Gold Medal for the machine learning at the heart of the Microsoft Kinect human motion-capture camera. In 2010, he was elected to the council of the Royal Society and was elected to the board of the EPSRC in 2012. He was awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Edinburgh in 2012 and the University of Sheffield in 2013. Exactly 80 years after Einstein, he gave the Gibbs lecture at the Joint Mathematics Meetings (transcript available here) in 2014 – the 6th British scientist to do so in 90 years. The BCS awarded him its Lovelace Medal and prize lecture in 2017.