Department of Engineering

Silver Medal

Silver Medal

Andy Hopper FREng, Professor of Communication Engineering, has won a prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal for his phenomenal record of developing and commercialising new computing technologies.

We're exporting British engineering to a huge number of people all over the world, in its own field this is revolutionary technology but we run it with three lads in an office in Cambridge.

Professor Andy Hopper, Professor of Communication Engineering

The award of The Academy's Silver Medal to Professor Andy Hopper recognises "his outstanding research exploitation characterised by imaginative innovation followed throught to practical realisation: this has led to industrial exploitation, including some ten successful start-up operations."

He has founded or co-founded ten start-up companies, including Acorn Computers Ltd, where he was Research Director. After the success of its BBC Microcomputer, Acorn spawned the world-leading chip company ARM. Other successful ventures have included Virata Corporation and Cambridge Broadband Ltd. Professor Hopper (pictured right with his wife Dr Alison Smith) received his medal at the Academy Awards Dinner in London on Thursday 5 June.

Professor Hopper is currently excited about one of his newest spin-offs, RealVNC Ltd, formed last year to develop remote control software for desktop PCs. "This one is really going against the trend," he says, "we're going back to the old-fashioned idea of dumb terminals, which carry only graphics, linked to a central computer that does the hard work. It burns bandwidth passing all the instructions and graphics up and down the line but the trade-off is much simpler programming." Five million users have downloaded over 15 million licences for RealVNC from its open source on the web. "We're exporting British engineering to a huge number of people all over the world, in its own field this is revolutionary technology but we run it with three lads in an office in Cambridge."

The Academy's Silver Medals, instigated in 1995, are awarded annually to engineers aged 50 or under who have made outstanding contributions to British engineering. Only four awards may be made each year.