John Fox

Director, COSSAC

John Fox is Professor of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford. He set up COSSAC in early 2007.

John trained in cognitive psychology at Durham and Cambridge Universities, and then held postdoctoral fellowships in psychology and Artificial Intelligence at Carnegie-Mellon and Cornell Universities between 1973 and 1975. After returning to the UK, he was a Research Scientist with the Medical Research Council where he initiated research on clinical decision support systems and cognitive modelling (themes which continue in his current research.

From 1981-2007, John was responsible for directing the Advanced Computation Laboratory at Cancer Research UK, supervising a wide programme of research in theoretical and applied AI.

John has collaborated on a number of national and international projects in a variety of areas (particularly medical informatics and cognitive science) including:

  • Knowledge-based services based on Argumentation Systems (ASPIC) (EU 6th Framework - scientific co-ordinator)
  • Speech and natural language interfaces for point of care clinical services (HOMEY) (EU 5th Framework)
  • Cognitive modelling (COGENT)
  • Care planning under uncertainty (REACT).

A notable achievement by John and his group has been PROforma, a method and technology for authoring and enacting clinical guidelines and protocols at the point of care. John is leading one the main projects running at COSSAC, CREDO, which aims to carry out a clinical trial of PROforma technology in improving consistency, quality and safety in the care of cancer patients.

Fox was managing director, until February 1999, of InferMed Ltd. This company, a joint venture between Cancer Research UK and Integral Solutions Ltd, was set up to commercialise a range of clinical applications based on PROforma in particular.

He is founding editor of the Knowledge Engineering Review (Cambridge University Press), and was editor from 1984-97. He has published over 100 papers and edited four books. His last book, Safe and Sound: Artificial Intelligence in Hazardous Applications, written in collaboration with Subrata Das of Charles River Analytics (USA), was published in June 2000 by MIT Press and the American Association of Artificial Intelligence.