Professor Brian Randell Collection

Scope and Content

Consists of papers relating to Professor Randell's professional and academic associations throughout his career.

Administrative / Biographical History

Brian Randell was born in Cardiff (16 April 1936) and educated at Imperial College London. From 1957 until 1964 he was employed in the Atomic Power Division of the English Electric Company Ltd, Whetstone, Leicester, including working on compilers for the ALGOL 60 language (see BR/1). From 1964 to 1969 he worked for IBM at the T.J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York, and later in California, specialising in computer architectures, operating systems and system design methodology (see BR/2). In 1969 he was appointed Professor of Computing Science at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (later Newcastle University) (see BR/3), becoming Emeritus Professor following his retirement.

His main research interests are in the field of system dependability and fault-tolerant computing. Professor Randell also carried out research into the history of computing and computers (see BR/3/20 and BR/3/21), including pioneering research into the work carried out at Bletchley Park during World War two (see BR/3/20/3).

Professor Randell was involved in commercial exploitation of the software and techniques developed at the University, being instrumental in the founding of the Microelectronics Applications Research Institute (MARI), of which he was a director (see BR/14) and the Northern Informatics Applications Agency (see BR/18).

In addition to his employment, Professor Randell served on a number of UK, French and European bodies, including panels of the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) (see BR/5), the Health and Safety Commission Advisory Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (ACSNI) (see BR/6), the Council of the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) (see BR/10) and the Scientific Committees of the CNRS Institutes at the universities of Toulouse and Rennes (see BR/11 and BR/12). He was also an active member of many organisations concerned with Computer Science, notably the British Computer Society (BCS) (see BR/21) and the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) (see BR/20); he was a founder member of IFIP's Working Groups on Programming Methodology and Dependability and Fault Tolerance.


The archives are arranged as follows:

  • BR/1 to BR/2: Employment at English Electric Company and International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)
  • BR/3: Professor of Computing Science at Newcastle University (see below for more detail on the arrangement of these archives)
  • BR/4 to BR/6: Service on UK bodies
  • BR/7 to BR/9: Service on European bodies
  • BR/10 to BR/13: Service on bodies in France
  • BR/14 to BR/18: Involvement in commercial initiatives and consultancy
  • BR/19 to BR/22: Activities relating to membership of other organisations and institutions

The records relating to Professor Randell's employment as Professor of Computing Science at Newcastle University are arranged as follows:

  • BR/3/1 to BR/3/10: Records relating to the University in general
  • BR/3/11 to BR/3/18: Records relating to the Faculties of Science and Engineering and to the Computing Science Department
  • BR/3/19: Computing Laboratory research papers and publications
  • BR/3/20 to BR/3/23: Professor Randell's research and publications (including research into the history of computing) and publications by others in which he played a role
  • BR/3/24 to BR/3/33: Other academic activities, including the Advanced Course on Computing Systems Reliability held at Newcastle in 178 (BR/3/26) and records relating to meetings and visits (BR/3/24 and BR/2/25)

Access Information


Personal Names