• Jacques Fleuriot

    Jacques Fleuriot

    PhD at Cambridge University, 1999:
    A Combination of Geometry Theorem Proving and Nonstandard Analysis to Newton's Principia

    Lecturer in Automated Reasoning School of Informatics, Edinburgh University, UK PhD at Cambridge University, 1999: A Combination of Geometry Theorem Proving and Nonstandard Analysis with Application to Newton's Principia.

    Jacques Fleuriot describes his PhD at Cambridge University on automating theorem proving as "rather esoteric" - but his work, enthusiasm and ideas impressed Edinburgh University enough to recruit him directly from research student into a full lectureship in 1999.

    "It was quite a change, going from research to teaching, overseeing PhD students, getting research going, plus all the administration," he says.

    Jacques Fleuriot has great memories of his time as a PhD student at Cambridge: "I had probably the best time of my life," he says. "The resources there are quite something: for example there are just so many libraries. The people there are so bright, and I enjoyed being with them. The environment was great. For example we had a regular informal teatime: many times I clarified my thoughts by thinking about things over tea or having someone suggest a new angle while chatting informally; this kind of contact is invaluable."

    He adds, "I had a lot of freedom and flexibility from my supervisor. He didn't force me in to follow particular direction or to do something he wanted to get going for his own research - so I was able to choose my rather esoteric topic."

    If the topic was esoteric, Jacques Fleuriot is certainly finding practical application for it at Edinburgh University, which has long been one of the world leaders in artificial intelligence.

    He is working on practical applications through the university's Centre for Intelligent Systems and their Applications and its Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute. He has already written many mathematical libraries for an established automated theorem prover, Isabelle. Mathematical theorems are being used increasingly in areas ranging from software verification to robotics, vision systems and flight guidance systems: Jacques Fleuriot's specialist field of automated theorem proving is now complementing traditional simulation in industry.

    Jacques Fleuriot got a scholarship from the government of his native Mauritius to study for a first degree in the UK, in artificial intelligence and knowledge engineering at Imperial College, London. He later got a Commonwealth Trust Fellowship from Cambridge University to study for his PhD. His PhD work was one of three winners of the 2000 Distinguished Dissertation Awards from the British Computer Society and the Conference of Professors and Heads of Computing. Towards the end of his time at Cambridge he applied for the newly created post of lecturer in automated reasoning at Edinburgh University, and started there in 1999, shortcutting the normal career route of researcher and assistant lecturer.

    © UK Computing Research Committee 2009