Skip to main content

Andrew and Kathleen Booth Memorial Lecture

The Andrew and Kathleen Booth Memorial Lecture is delivered annually by world-renowned scholars and practitioners of computer science, to commemorate the pioneering work of Professor Andrew Booth and Kathleen Booth (née Britten) at Birkbeck. 

In 1947, both academics visited the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton University, where they worked with John von Neumann, one of the most influential early computer pioneers. Their best-known machine, the APEC (All-Purpose Electronic Computer), was designed in Birkbeck’s Computation Laboratory (now the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems) in 1952.


Paul Clarke, former Chief Technology Officer at Ocado: ‘Where Physical and Digital Worlds Collide’

Wednesday 16 June, 5pm

We are delighted to welcome Paul Clarke, former Chief Technology Officer at Ocado, to deliver the 2021 Andrew and Kathleen Booth Memorial Lecture to staff, students, alumni and friends of Birkbeck’s Department of Computer Science and Information Systems.

In this online lecture entitled ‘Where Physical and Digital Worlds Collide’, Paul will explore the role of digital technology and the physical world:

‘It’s at this cyber-physical intersection that the really exciting things happen. Smart mobile machines that are aware of the world around them and able to interact with it, that are able to interact with one another and with us. Machines that can collaborate and swarm like insects, sharing what they learn about their environment to harness the power of the crowd. Whose behaviours are modelled and optimised within AI-powered digital twins and matured within living labs. This talk will explore the opportunities to cook with this cauldron of disruptive technologies and the alchemical recipes for innovation at a national and even planetary scale.’


5.00pm   Welcome address - Dr Geoff Walters, Executive Dean

5.10pm    Introduction to speaker - Professor George Roussos

5.15pm    Booth Memorial Lecture - Paul Clarke

6.00pm    Leading Q&A - Professor George Roussos

6.20pm    Closing remarks and vote of thanks - Professor George Roussos


In November 2020, Paul Clarke stepped down as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Ocado - a world leader in smart fulfilment and logistics.

After joining Ocado in 2006, Paul initially worked on warehouse control systems and then joined the team designing Ocado’s next highly automated fulfilment centre. After establishing new teams for Simulation and Mobile Development, Paul then co-wrote the first of Ocado’s award-winning mobile apps.

Ocado Technology, with its 2000+ engineers, is responsible for building all the technology that powers Ocado's end-to-end e-commerce, fulfilment and logistics platforms. Having handed over the leadership of Ocado Technology in April 2018, Paul led the Office of the CTO whose mission included exploring opportunities to use Ocado's technologies and competencies to disrupt other sectors (including vertical farming), research activities and the technology vision and future proofing of the business.

Paul read Physics at Oxford University, before then entering the computer industry.  He has worked in software engineering, consultancy, interim management and a number of software start-ups.

Paul sits on a number of government and industry advisory boards including the AI Council, Robotics Growth Partnership (co-chair), ISCF Future Flight, National Food Strategy and the Innovation Expert Group.

In what little spare time he has alongside his work and family, Paul loves to invent and build stuff, design PCBs, write software and generally tinker.

Previous Lectures