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Dr. Colin Harrison

Distinguished Engineer Emeritus

Dr. Harrison retired in January 2013 from IBM. He is an IBM Distinguished Engineer Emeritus and was the inventor of IBM’s Smarter City technical programme. He was previously Director of Strategic Innovation in IBM Europe and Director of Global Services Research. He is an IBM Master Inventor and a Member of the IBM Academy of Technology. His current activities are focused on applying systems methods to resilience solutions for cities and regions.

He spent 1972-77 at CERN developing the SPS accelerator and its distributed, real-time control system. In 1977 at EMI Central Research Laboratories he led development of the first clinical MRI system. At IBM since 1979 he worked on micromagnetics, medical imaging, parallel computing, mobile computing, intelligent agents, telecommunications, knowledge management, and Smarter Cities. In 2011 he spent several months working in Tohoku, Japan on plans for the region’s recovery from the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami and has increasingly focused on Resilient Cities.

He studied at Imperial College, London and the University of Munich, earning a PhD in Materials Science. He is Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Senior Life Member of the Institution of Electronic and Electrical Engineers, and Founder Member of the Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. He is an Expert Advisor to the Swiss Academy of Technical Sciences and has been a Visiting Scientist at MIT, Harvard Medical School, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In 2013 he was appointed Technical Expert on smart cities for the European Commission. He has published some 60 articles and has been awarded some 35 patents. He speaks worldwide on smarter cities and is leading a team that is writing a book on smart cities from the perspective of municipal administrators.