Vision and Programme

Our vision for the Tommy Flowers Institute is to have ICT industry partners engaging with UK academia on specific industrial and societal challenges, to produce both excellent research solutions and the excellent research leaders that are able to drive implementation.

By 2020, the Tommy Flowers Institute will be the major national centre for supporting the development of future leaders in ICT research.

The Institute will be a growth engine for the nation’s ICT sector - producing high calibre individuals to be leaders of ICT research and innovation in the UK.
Bigger than any one company or any one university, the Institute will be a source of well-rounded ICT research leaders with a thorough commercial and operational perspective to complement their technical excellence.

Our Programme: “real-world” conferences and customised support 

The Institute exists to improve university researcher’s employability, in both industry and academia, and thereby enable them to achieve more economic and societal impact, both as individuals and from their research.

The Institute is complementary to what academia can provide, bringing in industrial exposure, opportunities and contacts that just are not available elsewhere, at least not all in one place.

At the heart of our first year, will be exposure to strategic industry challenges with a programme of “real-world” conferences from industrial practitioners at the leading-edge of operations, technology and innovation. There will be three of these, each lasting three days, focussing not on technology, but on the challenges that the technology is being used to address, and focussing not on the research, but on what is needed from the researchers to meet those challenges.

The headline conferences will be bridged by ongoing activities throughout the year, to build on the development needs and opportunities that are identified as the output from the conference series.

Tommy Flowers’ legacy illustrates how the combination of great minds from diverse backgrounds has far-reaching potential.

The opportunity for his achievement with Colossus was made possible thanks to the work of two other men - Bill Tutte and Max Newman.

Alan Turing, who broke the famous Enigma code, recognised Tommy Flowers’ talent and introduced him to Max Newman, a Cambridge mathematician, who at that time   was creating the Heath Robinson Machine to mechanise Bill Tutte’s process of breaking the Lorenz code.

Flowers’ saw the flaws in this machine and his unique outlook led him to create Colossus, the world’s first electronic, programmable computer which is credited with shortening the Second World War by two years.

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