Marta Kwiatkowska

Pioneering Academic Computer Scientist.

Marta Kwiatkowska is currently Professor of Computing Systems and Fellow of Trinity College, University of Oxford.

She is an award winning, innovative, creative and original academic Computer science specialist.

“ I am the first female winner of the Royal Society Milner medal and was the first female professor computer Science at both Birmingham and Oxford University”

Marta Kwiatkowska

What is your background in Computer Science?

I was born and brought up in Poland where I also did my degree. I studied computer science then I became a junior assistant Professor; afterwards I moved to the UK to study for a doctorate at this is where I developed my career.

I became professor at the University of Birmingham and at the first female holder of the at the professor. And similarly, when I joined Oxford, I was the first female professor in the Department. I have just been awarded the Royal Society Milner Medal, which is given to European researchers ; and I am the first female winner of this award!

How did you get involved in computing?

'I was good at maths at school, but I didn't see myself as a mathematician. I was attending a maths club and our teacher told us about the binary system representation. Computers work with binary system representation and I really liked the ideas. Now the teacher told us that these systems are used in a subject that she referred to as Computer Science, but it was the first time I've heard of it. I went to a library and looked at the subject in an encyclopedia. That's where I discovered programming languages. There was a programming language called Argo. And I decided that I really want to study program'

What type of computer science work do you specialise in?

'It turns out that we humans are prone to over trusting robots and inappropriate trust can be even catastrophic to the humans that rely on robots. For example, if you are in an autonomous car, you have to be very careful that you do not put too much trust in the car'.

How did you first get interested in Computer Science?

'Programming is really about control and coming up with a solution, but also being able to test that solution yourself.'

Teaching Points: Why did Marta become involved in Computer Science? How did her education influence her future career choices?