John Fox - HETT 2020

John Fox

Professor of Cognitive Science and Systems Engineering
Lincoln College - Oxford University

John Fox was educated at Durham and Cambridge universities and has spent most of his career working in artificial intelligence and cognitive science. Following a period in the USA, including a post-doctoral fellowship with AI Founders Allen Newell and Herbert Simon at Carnegie-Mellon University, he returned to the UK to work on clinical decision systems with the MRC at Sheffield University. In 1981 he joined the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK) where he set up the Advanced Computation Laboratory which straddled computer science, artificial intelligence and medical software engineering. The group was awarded the 20th Anniversary Gold Medal of the European Federation of Medical Informatics for its work on PROforma, a formal language for modelling clinical decisions and care pathways (JAMIA 2003), and associated software for supporting patient care. This technology has been used in a wide range of clinical applications, with some 15+ successful published trials. In 2007 he moved to Oxford University to set up the COSSAC interdisciplinary collaboration in cognitive science and systems, in collaboration with Edinburgh University and UCL and set up a clinical applications incubator at the Royal Free Hospital. He has led or co-founded a number of AI startups including Expertech (acquired by Inference Corp), InferMed (acquired by Elsevier), Deontics (, and OpenClinical, a social enterprise aimed at improving patient care through innovative AI and knowledge engineering techniques ( John has published widely in computer science and software engineering as well as AI and cognitive science including Safe and Sound: Artificial Intelligence in Hazardous Applications (MIT Press 2000) which still appears to be the only general treatment of the safe use of AI in medicine and other critical fields. He can be contacted through his LinkedIn page at