Professor Tom Drummond

Tom is Head of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering at Monash and Chief Investigator ARC Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision.

His research interests include high-performance computing, machine learning and computer vision. He has a particular interest in is mainly in the field of real-time computer vision – the processing of information from a video camera in a computer to enable intelligent systems to understand what is happening in their environment. This has applications for augmented reality, robotics and assistive technologies for visually impaired users, as well as medical imaging.  He is interested in how the design of intelligent systems can both learn from and inform our understanding of biological systems.

Tom studied a BA in mathematics at the University of Cambridge before emigrating to Australia and working for CSIRO in Melbourne for four years. He completed a PhD in Computer Science at Curtin University in Perth. In 1998 he returned to Cambridge as a post-doctoral Research Associate and in 1991 was appointed as a University Lecturer. In 2010 he returned to Melbourne and took up a Professorship at Monash University.

As Chief Investigator, and Monash Node Leader for the ARC Centre of Excellence, Tom and the team work to overcome challenges with current robots. The main technological roadblock of today is an inability for robots to quickly perceive and understand their environment.

The research program of the centre will create the technologies that allow robots to see, understand and infer as we do and overcome the remaining barriers to the deployment of robots into society, contributing to the country’s future prosperity.

Why does consciousness research matter?

An understanding of consciousness, and the mechanisms that create our experience of the world and our place within it, is more important than ever before. Significant to our everyday lives, consciousness research has far reaching implications for: