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23.04.2014

Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medals for UK’s brightest up-and-coming tech entrepreneurs

Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medals for UK’s brightest up-and-coming tech entrepreneurs

Congratulations to Professor Dino Distefano who has won one of the four annual Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medals for the year.

The coveted Silver Medal award was established 20 years ago to recognise an outstanding personal contribution by an early or mid-career engineer that has resulted in successful market exploitation.

Professor Dino Distefano is the co-Founder and CEO of Monoidics, a start-up company that was acquired by Facebook in 2013, a Professor of Software Verification at the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, Queen Mary University of London, and a former Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow. Dino is one of the world’s leading experts in the process of automatically finding errors in software systems. This is only becoming more important as society becomes increasingly reliant on software-based systems, and less tolerant of errors.

Dino’s advances in this field have contributed significantly to the UK research community being recognised as a world leader. The code-checking start-up Monoidics, which he co-founded in London’s Silicon Roundabout in 2009, was acquired by Facebook in 2013. Prior to the acquisition, Monoidics’ commercial products were utilised by major organisations in security, avionics, and consumer electronics.

The scale of technical advances that Dino has made in this field is striking. When he began in 2004, tools for verifying properties of pointers were applied to toy programs of tens or hundreds of lines. Now, Dino’s ideas are being applied to industrial software systems of over a million lines of code.

The Silver Medal was established by the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1994 to recognise an outstanding and demonstrated personal contribution to British engineering, which is resulting in successful market exploitation, by an engineer with less than 22 years in full time employment or equivalent on 1 January in year of award and who will normally be Chartered. Up to four medals may be awarded in any one year. For more information, including previous winners, please visit: http://www.raeng.org.uk/prizes/silver.

The 2014 Silver Medallists are:

  • Professor Dino Distefano: Software Engineer at Facebook since the acquisition of his start-up, Monoidics;
  • Chris Young: Director and former Chief Engineer at Rolls-Royce, responsible for the world’s most efficient large aircraft engine;
  • Professor Maire O’Neill: Inventor of security chips used in over 100 million television set-top boxes and the youngest ever professor at Queen’s University Belfast;
  • Peter Brewin and Will Crawford: Founders of internationally successful and multi-award winning company, Concrete Canvas.

The four medallists were selected from a long list of nominations, drawn from all areas of contemporary engineering. They were chosen by a panel of Academy Fellows who have expertise across the range of engineering disciplines, as well as personal entrepreneurial experience.

Dervilla Mitchell FREng, Chair of the Academy’s Awards Committee, said,

The Silver Medals recognise individual excellence, not only technically, but also in the ability to turn knowledge and ideas into useful, wealth-creating products and services. This is essential to UK economic prosperity, and this year’s winners are all excellent examples of the kind of world-class entrepreneurs that the Academy is championing through its Engineering for Growth campaign and supporting through its Enterprise Hub.

The UK boasts world-leading expertise in digital security, computer programming, aerospace, and manufacturing, and our 2014 medallists demonstrate the strength of knowledge and skill in these areas that will enable us to maintain this position for years to come. They are outstanding role models for the next generation.

Notes for editors

  1. About the Silver Medal Award The Silver Medal was established in 1994 to recognise an outstanding and demonstrated personal contribution to British engineering, which is resulting in successful market exploitation, by an engineer with less than 22 years in full time employment or equivalent on 1 January in year of award and who will normally be Chartered. Up to four medals may be awarded in any one year. For more information, including previous winners, please visit: http://www.raeng.org.uk/prizes/silver.
  2. About the Royal Academy of Engineering. As the UK’s national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK’s role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK’s world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook. We have four strategic challenges: Drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.
  3. Engineering for Growth is a partnership campaign to promote the economic impact and societal benefits delivered by engineering and to raise debate on how engineering can make an even bigger contribution. Engineering for Growth is led by the Royal Academy of Engineering in partnership with Atkins; BAE Systems; EADS; Lucite International; Rolls-Royce; McLaren Group; National Grid; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; Technology Strategy Board; Institution of Chemical Engineers; Institution of Engineering and Technology; and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. http://www.engineeringforgrowth.org.uk/

 

 

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