Prof Will Knottenbelt
Contact WillProf Will KnottenbeltProfessor of Applied Quantitative Analysis

Preparing for our block chain future

Trusted transactions, such as online payments and legal contracts, play an essential role in everyday life. Yet the mechanisms by which trust is assured are stuck firmly in the twentieth century. New technologies such as the Bitcoin digital currency and block chain public transaction ledger will challenge the establishment by easing transactions across geographical boundaries and lay the groundwork for future autonomous systems. In order for governments, commerce and individuals to reap the benefits from these next-generation solutions, a new class of systems engineer is needed to address the substantial practical and ethical challenges.

"I'm curious about...the opportunities and challenges of technologies that will give both people and machines the power to conduct secure financial and legal transactions, in any jurisdiction and at any time, without needing a bank or lawyer.Will Knottenbelt


Prof William Knottenbelt is a Professor of Applied Quantitative Analysis in the Department of Computing and Director of the Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering. Reflecting his interest in translational research, he is also Director of Industrial Liaison and Innovation Fellow for the Department of Computing. Will completed his PhD in stochastic modelling at Imperial College London and has BSc and MSc degrees in computer science and statistics from the University of Cape Town.


Will’s research focuses on the optimization of large-scale, distributed systems through the application of mathematical modelling techniques to ask:

  • What can mathematical modelling reveal about the behaviour of complex real-world systems, such as data storage arrays, automated warehouses and healthcare organisations?
  • How can these insights translate into concrete strategies to improve the design and resource demands of complex systems?
  • What opportunities and challenges arise when optimization processes can be automated and deployed in real time?
  • What are the potential impacts for commerce and society of emerging distributed technologies, such as decentralised trust systems?

Foresight and futures work

2035: Tech Foresight
Future of digitisation, automation, artificial intelligence and robotics

Profile Credits

Profile: Kit Huckvale, Pete Papathanasiou