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Knowles and Fitzgibbon

May 15, 2024

Royal Society Fellowships for Graphcore’s Knowles and Fitzgibbon

Written By:

Iain Mackenzie

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Two of Graphcore’s senior engineering leaders have been named as Fellows of the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of sciences. 

Company co-founder and CTO Simon Knowles, and Graphcore Engineering Fellow Dr Andrew Fitzgibbon were elected to the Society alongside more than 90 of the world’s most distinguished scientists from across academia, industry and wider society. 

Simon and Andrew join an illustrious list of new Fellows including Professor Anthony Fauci, who led the US response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier. 

“The Royal Society has an unparalleled history in the search for truth and knowledge, and it is a great honour to be elected to the Fellowship.  I thank the Fellows for this honour, and look forward to contributing to these noble aims of the Society.  I also thank all my engineering colleagues, at Graphcore and before, who have taught me all I know,” said Simon. 

“This is an incredible honour, of which I could scarcely have dreamed when I began my career as a research software engineer three decades ago. I have long believed that science and engineering are deeply intertwined, and my best work has been at that interface, in collaboration with other people, both from academia and industry. I look forward to contributing to the society’s long-established success in promoting the benefits, the importance, and the beauty, of science in all its forms,” said Andrew. 

Welcoming the 2024 intake, Royal Society President Sir Adrian Smith said: “This new cohort have already made significant contributions to our understanding of the world around us and continue to push the boundaries of possibility in academic research and industry.”

Simon Knowles 

Simon Knowles created Graphcore along with Nigel Toon in 2016 and leads overall development of the company’s AI compute systems as Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of Engineering. He is responsible for the design and development of the Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU).

A veteran of the semiconductor industry, Simon has co-founded two other successful processor companies: Element14 which was acquired by Broadcom in 2000, and Icera which was bought by nvidia in 2011. He holds more than 20 patents in the field of microprocessor design. 

Simon has a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cambridge. 

Andrew Fitzgibbon   

Andrew is an Engineering Fellow at Graphcore working on advanced AI compute hardware and software. 

He is widely known for his work in the field of computer vision. During his 15 year career at Microsoft, he helped to develop the company’s groundbreaking Kinect for Xbox 360 and served as science lead for hand tracking on Microsoft HoloLens. 

Andrew also co-founded the motion imaging software company 2d3, picking up a Primetime Emmy award for its 3D motion tracking and special effects tool, Boujou. 

He is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the British Computer Society and holds more than 30 patents in the field of visuospatial computing. 

Prior to his work at Microsoft, Andrew was a Royal Society University Research Fellow at Oxford University, having previously studied at Edinburgh University, Heriot-Watt University, and University College, Cork.