Professor Alan FT Winfield



In 1984, shortly after completing a PhD in Digital Communications Winfield resigned his lectureship at the University of Hull, to found a company on the then newly established Hull University Science Park. Created to commercialise patented research in high performance computer architectures the company also found itself delivering contract research and development in software for safety-critical communication systems, primarily for the public safety sector. Winfield went on to establish the company, APD Communications Ltd, as one of the key UK providers of software for mobile radio data systems, notably leading contracts to design a fault-tolerant radio communications infrastructure for the Channel Tunnel. 


He left the company in 1992 to take up appointment as Associate Dean (Research) and Hewlett-Packard Professor of Electronic Engineering at the University of the West of England, Bristol, but remains a non-executive director of APD. Winfield is a Chartered Engineer and Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, the IEEE and the Institute of Directors.


Moving into the field of mobile robotics he co-founded, with Chris Melhuish and Owen Holland, the Intelligent Autonomous Systems (IAS) Laboratory at the University of the West of England in 1993, recently re-launched as the joint UWE, University of Bristol Bristol Robotics Laboratory. Within the IAS laboratory Winfield's projects have included intelligent control, in particular stable adaptive neural control, and more recently provably-stable behaviour based control. With Owen Holland and Ian Horsfield Winfield designed the IAS lab LinuxBots, contributing the embedded Linux based control and wireless communications architecture. Winfield's current work is focussed on the engineering and scientific applications of Swarm Intelligence. His work on Swarm Robotics is concerned with algorithms, analysis, modelling and specification for potential high integrity applications. At the same time Winfield is deeply interested in Swarm Robotics as a constructionist metaphor for the study of emergence, self-organisation, culture and intelligence.


Committed to the widest possible dissemination of research and ideas in science, engineering and technology, Winfield was awarded an EPSRC Senior Media Fellowship in 2009. He led UK-wide EPSRC public engagement project Walking with Robots, awarded the 2010 Royal Academy of Engineering Rooke medal for public promotion of engineering. Winfield is currently director of UWE's Science Communication Unit.

Winfield has published over 160 works and has lectured widely on mobile robotics and other topics, presenting to both academic and public audiences.