Norman Fenton is Professor of Risk Information Management at Queen Mary London University (since 2000) and is also a Director of Agena, a company that specializes in risk management for critical systems (since 1998). His previous academic posts were at City University (Professor in the Centre for Software Reliability, 1989-2000), South Bank (Director of Centre for Systems and Software Engineering, 1984-89), Oxford University Maths Institute and Wolfson College Oxford (Post Doctoral Research Fellow, 1982-84) and University College Dublin (Research Fellow, 1981-82). He was a Simons Fellow at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge (2016), and was a visiting researcher at GMD, Germany (1988). Norman is an Affiliated Professor to the University of Haifa, Israel (since 2006), a Chartered Engineer, a Chartered Mathematician and is a Fellow of the British Computer Society. Norman's PhD was in Mathematics from Sheffield University.
Norman's current research focuses on critical decision-making and, in particular, on quantifying uncertainty. This typically involves analysing and predicting the probabilities of unknown events using causal, probabilistic models (Bayesian networks). This type of reasoning enables improved assessment by taking account of both statistical data where available and also expert judgement. This approach can provide more powerful insights and better decision making than is possible from purely data-driven solutions. Hence the approach can be summarised as 'smart data rather than big data'.
Applications include law and forensics (Norman has been an expert witness in major criminal and civil cases), medicine, security, software reliability, transport safety and reliability, finance, and football prediction. Norman also has a special interest in raising public awareness of the importance of probability theory and Bayesian reasoning in everyday life (including how to present such reasoning in simple lay terms) and he maintains a blog focusing on probability and the law.
Achievements and awards
Norman has published 7 books and over 250 refereed articles, and has provided consulting to many major companies world-wide. His book "Risk Assessment and Decision Analysis using Bayesian Networks" with Martin Neil (first edition 2012, second edition 2018) was the first to bring Bayesian networks to a general audience. His book "Software Metrics: A Rigorous and Practical Approach" (now in its third edition) has 5863 citations.
Norman has been PI in grants totalling over £10million. He currently leads an EPRSC Digital Health Technologies Project (PAMBAYESIAN) and a Leverhulme Trust grant (CAUSAL-DYNAMICS). In 2014 Norman was awarded a prestigious European Research Council Advanced Grant (BAYES-KNOWLEDGE). In March 2015 Norman presented the award-winning BBC documentary Climate Change by Numbers. Since June 2011 he has led an international consortium (Bayes and the Law) of statisticians, lawyers and forensic scientists working to improve the use of statistics in court. In 2016 he led a prestigious six-month programme on Probability and Statistics in Forensic Science at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, University of Cambridge. He was appointed as a Fellow of The Alan Turing Institute in 2018.