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.


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

Complex, resilient and intelligent systems

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

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.