Igor Aleksander

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Igor Aleksander
Born (1937-01-26) January 26, 1937 (age 87)[1][2]
Alma materQueen Mary College, London
Scientific career
Thesis Decimal array logic  (1966)

Igor Aleksander FREng[4] (born 26 January 1937) is an emeritus professor of Neural Systems Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Imperial College London. He worked in artificial intelligence and neural networks and designed the world's first neural pattern recognition system in the 1980s.[5]

Life and work[edit]

Aleksander was educated in Italy and graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, arriving in the UK in the late 1950s, intending to become a research student under Colin Cherry. Instead he found work with Standard Telephones and Cables, later joining Queen Mary College where he gained a PhD, subsequently becoming a lecturer there in 1961. He moved to the University of Kent in 1968 as a reader in Electronics and then to Brunel University as professor in 1974. In 1984 he became professor at Imperial College London as professor of the Management of Information Technology.[1] He was Head of Electrical Engineering and Gabor Professor of Neural Systems Engineering at Imperial College from 1988 to his retirement in 2002.[6] He was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (1988), and he served as Pro-rector of External Relations at Imperial College (1997). In 2005 he presented the Bernard Price Memorial Lecture.

His work centred on the modelling capability of artificial neural networks. He devised neuromodels of the visual system in primates, visuo-verbal system in humans, the effect of anaesthetics on awareness, and artificial consciousness. He inspired the engineering design of one of the first stand alone neural pattern recognition systems, the WISARD (anonym for Wilkie Stonham Aleksander's Recognition Device) which was named after the co-inventors Bruce Wilkie, John Stonham and Igor Aleksander. This Brunel University prototype WISARD was commercially developed and marketed by Computer Recognition Systems, Wokingham, under the trade name of ’CRS WISARD’ in 1984. After this, the further developments of this system do not appear to have been documented. A popular link for WISARD is that of “the wisard pattern recognition machine” at the Winton Gallery, British Science Museum.

Aleksander received an honorary degree in Computer Engineering from University of Palermo in Jul 2011.

See also[edit]

Selected publications[edit]

  • 2005, The World in My Mind, My Mind In The World: Key Mechanisms of Consciousness in Humans, Animals and Machines published by Imprint Academic, ISBN 1-84540-021-6.
  • 2000, How to Build a Mind, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson
  • 1996, Impossible Minds: My neurons, My Consciousness published by Imperial College Press ISBN 1-86094-036-6.
  • 1975, I.Aleksander, F. Keith Hanna, Automata Theory: An Engineering Approach New York: Crane Russak, London: Edward Arnold.
  • 1971, Microcircuit learning computers, London: Mills & Boon Monographs and Technical Library
  • 2008, "Machine consciousness", Scholarpedia 3(2):4162.
  • 2003, "Axioms and Tests for the Presence of Minimal Consciousness in Agents", in: Journal of Consciousness Studies
  • 1997, Evolutionary Checkers in: Nature, Vol. 402, Dec. 1999, pp. 857–860.
  • 1997, I. Aleksander, C. Browne, R. Evans, N. Sales, "Conscious and Neural Cognizers: A Review and Some Recent Approaches", in: Neural Networks, Vol. 10, No. 7, pp. 1303–1316.
  • 1996, N. Sales, R. Evans, I. Aleksander. "Successful naive representation grounding", in: Artificial Intelligence Review, vol. 10, no.1–2, pp. 83–102.
  • 1994, K. Warwick. "Weightless brains", Review of Neurons and Symbols by Igor Aleksander and Helen Morton, The Times Higher Education Supplement, p. 31, February (1994)


  1. ^ a b Gay, Hannah (2007). The history of Imperial College London, 1907–2007: higher education and research in science, technology and medicine. World Scientific. ISBN 978-1-86094-709-4.
  2. ^ "ALEKSANDER, Prof. Igor". Who's Who 2012. Oxford University Press. 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  3. ^ Jha, Alok (23 June 2005). "The simple things are hardest". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  4. ^ "List of Fellows". Archived from the original on 8 June 2016. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  5. ^ Igor Aleksander 1937–), Head of Intelligent and Interactive Systems at Imperial College, retrieved 17 April 2008.
  6. ^ "Council: Staff Matters" (PDF). Imperial College London. 18 October 2002. Retrieved 20 June 2009.

External links[edit]