Improbable Appoints Professor Jordan Giddings and Rob Solly to Lead Innovation in Defence Applications


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New hires will help UK technology company enable deeper collaboration between governments, armed forces and private sector and strengthen the safety and prosperity of the UK and its allies

LONDON, 31 March 2021 – Improbable has today announced the appointment of Professor Jordan Giddings and Rob Solly to the Research team of Improbable’s defence and national security business. Professor Giddings joins as Chief Scientist, Defence and Rob Solly joins as Director of Research Partnerships.

The two appointments come as Improbable expands its science and research capabilities and fosters collaboration and innovation at the intersection between government, industry and academia. This expanded team will continue to build the unique capability that multi-domain simulation and synthetic environments offer to national security and resilience.

Improbable’s Research team not only helps to create models and AI for military training and planning, but assists projects such as the Royal Society’s Rapid Assistance in Modelling the Pandemic (RAMP) initiative, collaborating with a number of leading modelling experts to rapidly accelerate existing best-in-class COVID simulations by a factor of 10,000.

Professor Jordan Giddings, Chief Scientist, Defence

Professor Jordan Giddings is a Director of UKCRIC (UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities) at University College London, a visiting Professor at the University of Hertfordshire, an Honorary Principal Research Fellow to the Imperial College Institute for Security Science and Technology and an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Oxford amongst numerous other previous roles across the private and public sector.

He has previously worked with the British government in a number of roles, most recently as Head of Defence Capability Assessment, leading on areas including digital, innovation, transformation and cyber, and previously as Deputy Chief Scientific Advisor for both National Security and Transport.

Professor Giddings is a leader of innovation in defence and national security who has extensive experience of working with multidisciplinary teams on the most cutting-edge challenges of the day including cyber, critical national infrastructure, AI and machine learning, combining approaches and experiences from the best of government, industry and academia. To this end, he will continue to advise academic institutions and public bodies while working as Chief Scientist at Improbable.

Speaking about his appointment, Professor Jordan Giddings, Chief Scientist, Defence, Improbable, said, “With the Integrated Defence Review making clear how important the United Kingdom’s science and technology industry is in guaranteeing its defence and prosperity, I am incredibly excited by the prospect of joining Improbable.

“The success of the UK’s defence strategy in dealing with an increasingly complex world will be predicated on the ability to integrate numerous technologies, taking the best from the public and private sectors to create a truly integrated, collaborative approach to our national defence.

“Single synthetic environments are a game-changing technology in this regard, and Improbable’s synthetic environment platform has the capability to combine all of these inputs and resources to transform preparedness, planning and decision-making in an increasingly complex world.”

Rob Solly, Director of Research Partnerships, Defence

Rob Solly joins Improbable from the Ministry of Defence’s Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), where he was Head of Defence and Security Analysis Division and launched the Defence and Security Accelerator. Rob was previously a senior fellow at Dstl and is a Fellow of the Operational Research Society. Rob has a wealth of experience in collaborating with industry and academia, using simulation and analysis to improve the capability, strategy and operational effectiveness of the UK’s armed forces, and also brings familiarity with the United States’ Department of Defence, having worked on secondment at the Pentagon.

“The United Kingdom has long been a leader in innovation and there is no doubt that the UK government understands the links between a thriving science and technology sector and the success of the United Kingdom’s defence and foreign policy,” said Rob Solly, the new Director of Research Partnerships, Defence, Improbable. “Improbable is a critical part of this innovation, as an innovator itself and a facilitator of innovation between the public and private sector.

“Working with the Improbable team and our partners to build an innovation ecosystem for defence is a fantastic challenge and has huge positive potential for the UK and our allies. I’m greatly looking forward to helping to build an enterprising and enterprise-friendly science and technology culture.”

Commenting on the appointments of Professor Giddings and Rob Solly, Joe Robinson, CEO Defence, Improbable, said: “We are thrilled to announce the arrival of Professor Jordan Giddings and Rob Solly - two intellectual heavyweights of the UK defence science and technology community. At Improbable we are serious about our dual role as both innovators and enablers of innovation in the UK’s defence industry. Realising the objectives of safety and prosperity laid out in the government’s strategy requires that the best and brightest minds have space in which to pioneer novel technologies and strategies aimed at countering complex and emerging threats.”

“Single synthetic environments enable greater collaboration between government, the armed forces and the private sector, bringing a unique, sovereign capability to the task of delivering safety through collaboration, as the UK government set out in the Integrated Review. I know that the entire Improbable team is delighted to have two such experienced and distinguished individuals joining us, and we look forward to working with Jordan and Rob to build an ecosystem of innovation for defence and national security.”

About Improbable

Founded in 2012 and headquartered in London, Improbable employs more than 700 staff, with the majority working in the United Kingdom.

Improbable’s games business provides better ways to make multiplayer games and helps multiplayer developers to meet any challenge. Improbable’s services include managed hosting & orchestration, networking, online services and development tools, as well as advice, support and full co-development. Improbable also makes innovative multiplayer titles using its own technology.

Improbable’s Defence business operates globally and combines its parent company’s software engineering experience with expertise in computational modelling, AI and data analytics. Its work focuses on adapting and extending SpatialOS, Improbable’s multiplayer game networking solution, to enable the most sophisticated military simulations and synthetic environments ever experienced.

The business works across the NATO alliance and with a range of industry partners to transform planning, training and decision support in the government, defence & security community.

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