Simon Peyton Jones
Simon was awarded Distinguished Fellowship in 2017.
He graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1980, and has gone on to have a long and very distinguished career as a research computer scientist.
He is an Honorary Professor of the Computing Science Department at Glasgow University, where he was a professor in the 1990s, and he is currently a Principal Researcher at Microsoft in Cambridge.
Simon was one of the instigators, as long ago as 1987 of the project that led to the definition of the programming language, Haskell. In fact, he is said to have been responsible for Haskell’s widely cited, unofficial motto: “Avoid success at all costs”!
However, the Distinguished Fellowship award is primarily for Simon’s work to advance the development of computer science education in the UK.
Back in the mid 2000’s, faced with declining A-Level numbers, and falls in HE Computer Science admissions, let alone a complete lack of GCSEs in Computer Science, Simon set up the 'Computing at School' group (CAS) in 2008.
Since its formation, CAS has been at the epicentre of the reform of the national curriculum for Computing in England. Simon chaired the working group that drafted the new programme of study for Computing, which established as a foundational subject discipline that every child should have the opportunity to learn, from primary school onwards, just like maths or natural science.
Today, all the major awarding bodies offer a Computer Science GCSE.
Simon’s personal contribution to this process is immense. With characteristic energy, combined with a huge commitment of his personal time, Simon has persuaded successive government ministers and others, to bring about this change.
It is hugely significant that now ALL children in England will be introduced to the principles and discipline of computer science. Simon’s foresight and expertise has placed England at the forefront of this issue throughout the world, and he is therefore a very worthy recipient of a Distinguished Fellowship Award.