06 May 2021
Professor Philip Torr elected Fellow of the Royal Society for outstanding contribution to scientific understanding
Professor Torr is distinguished for his contributions to computer vision, which have significantly influenced commercial applications in the field
Professor Philip Torr FREng FRS has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge), for outstanding contributions to scientific understanding in computer vision. This year over 60 outstanding scientists from all over the globe have joined the Royal Society as Fellows and Foreign Members, all selected for their exceptional contributions to science.
Professor Torr (St Catherine’s College) is distinguished for his contributions to computer vision in three areas. He has been a pioneer in the use of robust statistics in visual geometry, especially in the computation of camera motion from video. Secondly, he has made significant advances in Markov Random Field approaches to segmentation and recognition. And in the last decade he has combined established approaches with deep learning for segmentation and object recognition. His work has significantly influenced commercial applications of computer vision.
He says of the award, “It is an incredible honour to receive this award. Often, modern science is a collaborative venture and the work that I have done has involved many people. As such this award is not just for me, but also in recognition of the many outstanding scientists I have had the pleasure to work with, in particular the students and post docs of my team, and also my collaborators and mentors, without whom over the years so much progress would not have been possible. I am very interested in how computer vision can help society and believe this fellowship will very much further that aim in the future years”.
Professor Torr did his PhD (DPhil) at the University of Oxford before joining Microsoft Research as a research scientist for 6 years, first in Redmond, USA, in the Vision Technology Group, then in Cambridge founding the vision side of the Machine Learning and Perception Group. He then became a Professor in Computer Vision and Machine Learning at Oxford Brookes University. In 2013 Philip returned to the University of Oxford as full professor where he established the Torr Vision group. He is founder of several companies including OxSight and AIstetic, is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and is in receipt of the IAPR Fellow award.
Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society, said, “This is the first year of my presidency at the Royal Society and I’ve been very much looking forward to welcoming the newly elected Fellows and Foreign Members. The global pandemic has demonstrated the continuing importance of scientific thinking and collaboration across borders. Each Fellow and Foreign Member bring their area of scientific expertise to the Royal Society and when combined, this expertise supports the use of science for the benefit of humanity. Our new Fellows and Foreign Members are all at the forefronts of their fields from molecular genetics and cancer research to tropical open ecosystems and radar technology. It is an absolute pleasure and honour to have them join us.”
Other members of the University of Oxford elected as Royal Society Fellows in 2021 are: Professor Frank Edwin Close OBE FRS, Professor of Theoretical Physics Emeritus and Fellow Emeritus of Exeter College; Professor Adrian Vivian Sinton Hill FRS, Director, Jenner Institute and Chairman, Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine; Professor Frances Mary Platt FMedSci FRS, Professor of Biochemistry, Department of Pharmacology; Professor Endre Suli FRS, Professor of Numerical Analysis, Mathematical Institute; Professor Charlotte Katherine Williams FRS, Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry.