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Alasdair Rawsthorne, FREng, FBCS

AR Picture

Room number: IT 4.11
email: Alasdair.Rawsthorne@gmail.com
Tel.: +44 7980 708201

I am Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at the University of Manchester.

Previously, until May 2009, I was CTO of Transitive.


I'm still interested in real-world computing problems - challenges that real users are prepared to pay real money to solve. Almost everything I do is driven by intellectual curiosity, the need to have fun, or a sense of inevitability. Often it's combinations of these.

I am fascinated by creativity and innovation  - many Computer Scientists have the urge to create something, very similar to the urge that drives visual artists and musicians. One of the delights of the 21st century is the way that so many professional-class tools are becoming affordable for every-day use: 3-D printers, laser cutters, professional operating systems, document preparation, mathematics tools, animation, music collaboration, and photo processing tools are all very accessible, where only 20 years ago, each was only available to the dedicated professional.

I'm also a passionate advocate of the Manchester region - the place has so much to offer its residents and visitors.  Plus, there are so many interesting and innovative people in the area, and I never know who I'm going to bump into in the coffee shop for a buzzy conversation.

External Activities

I founded Transitive, a University spin-out company, with my research group to commercialize dynamic binary translation software we had developed using a new set of challenging targets.  Over the period 2000-2008, Transitive grew from a dream to over 100 employees; operated as a multinational with headquarters in Sillicon Valley, raised over $30M in venture capital investment, contributed a key technology to Apple's migration to using Intel CPUs in Macintosh computers, saw 16 million copies of our software delivered to end-users, and was acquired by IBM.

Elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, 2008.  Engineering (not least in Computer Science) is critical to our lives in the 21st century, and I'm enthusiastic about encouraging and recognising engineering skills, particularly among young people.  I served on the Academy's prize committee, and I think there are lots of opportunities to nominate good people for worthwhile prizes.  It's a great form of recognition.

I'm a former judge of Manchester's Big Chip Awards.

I was a board director of Manchester Knowledge Capital, dedicated to making Manchester the Knowledge Capital of the UK.