Department of Engineering / Profiles / Prof. David MacKay

Department of Engineering

Prof. David MacKay


David MacKay

Regius Professor of Engineering

Academic Division: Information Engineering

Research group: Machine Intelligence

Telephone: +44 1223 3 39763


Personal website


Research interests

Professor MacKay's research interests include reliable computation with unreliable hardware; using information theory to design better assistive technology; and sustainable energy. He has written two books, both of which are available free online:

Strategic themes

Energy, transport and urban infrastructure

Whole-system modelling of national and global energy systems, including material resources, with an emphasis on future low-carbon options.

Uncertainty, risk and resilience

Public understanding of risk and uncertainty; planning energy system transformations, including innovation support, in a way that takes rational account of uncertainty.


Understanding of biomolecular energy transduction. Engineering of more efficient sustainable bioenergy systems.

Other positions


David MacKay studied Natural Sciences at Trinity College Cambridge, then completed a PhD in Computation and Neural Systems at the California Institute of Technology.  He returned to Cambridge as a Royal Society research fellow, then became a Lecturer in the Department of Physics, where he became Professor of Natural Philosophy in 2003. In 2009 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and was made Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department of Energy and Climate Change and in 2012 delivered a talk on renewable energy at TEDx. In 2013 he was appointed Regius Professor of Engineering in the Department of Engineering.