We are proud to continue to sponsor the Alan Tayler lecture in memory of a true innovator in industrial mathematics.

The 2023 lecture takes place on 30th October in the Mary Sunley Lecture Theatre at St. Catherine’s College. Tea and coffee will be served from 4.30pm with the lecture beginning at 5pm. A drinks reception will be held in the Mary Sunley Foyer from 6pm.

To avoid disappointment, please book your place for the lecture by completing the attendance form.

This year, Professor Eddie Wilson, Chair in Intelligent Transport Systems at University of Bristol will be presenting ‘The Maths (and Engineering) of Moving People and Things Around.’ 

Is HS2 worth the money? Should Heathrow get another runway? How many charging points do we need for electric cars? Do Low Traffic Neighbourhoods “work”? Can driverless cars help reduce congestion?

These sorts of questions are the stuff of transport systems, an area strongly underpinned by applied mathematics, which will be the broad topic for this lecture. I will skip lightly through my work in highway traffic flow stability (which has resurfaced recently in safety cases for automated cruise control systems), personal rapid transit taxi systems, measures of city network efficiency, through to very recent contributions in air traffic control for drones and even designing the pathway to autonomous trains. What makes these systems interesting is that they are “complex” – in the usual sense that there are many interacting agents which can give rise to unexpected and unintended emergent behaviour – but also because many of them have the fundamental unpredictability of human behaviour at their core. Throughout the talk I will thus extract some general thoughts on how to best apply mathematical modelling, and to compare engineering and mathematical viewpoints of the topic.

Professor Eddie WIlson

Prof Eddie Wilson (Faculty of Engineering, University of Bristol)

Eddie was a DPhil student in the mid 90s under the supervision of John Norbury at the Oxford Centre for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (OCIAM) – when it was directed by its founder Alan Tayler.  In fact, he was one of the first students supported by the then newly formed Smith Institute for Industrial Mathematics and Systems Engineering – the sponsor of this lecture. Like many OCIAM graduates, Eddie has since been on a long and varied multidisciplinary journey. Via a sequence of chances, he found that most of his work was related to transport problems, and he committed to specialising in the sector.  Over time, he has gone from being a mathematician working on engineering problems to more of an engineer with a mathematical outlook. Eddie has been a Faculty member at Bristol’s unique Department of Engineering Mathematics for most of the last 25 years – which he led 2013-2016 and for which he is currently the research and impact director. Amongst many other projects, he held an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship 2007-2012. He was Professor of Modelling and Simulation at the University of Southampton, 2010-2012, and has been Professor of Intelligent Transport Systems at the University of Bristol since his return there in 2013.