On 8 April 2024, Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, the University of Cambridge-trained artificial intelligence expert whose work and ideas are celebrated worldwide will receive the highest academic accolade at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering (Doctor Technologiae Honoris Causa). This recognition comes on the back of his exceptional academic leadership and great strides made in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

Prof Marwala.

The ceremony will take place at the Soshanguve Campus Spring Graduations.

In what is dubbed “Prof Marwala’s Historic Week”, the current Rector of the United Nations University and UN Under-Secretary-General will participate in a series of thought-provoking activities at the University, including TUT’s 20th Anniversary Lecture on 10 April and the Master Class with postgraduate students on 11 April.

Born and bred in the Limpopo village of Duthuni outside Thohoyandou, Prof Marwala is the former Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg where he also served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and internationalization, and as Dean of Engineering, previously.

He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (magna cum laude) from Case Western Reserve University (USA) in 1995. In 1997, he obtained a Master of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Pretoria. After fulfilling all the requirements for the degree, the University of Cambridge awarded Prof Marwala a PhD in Artificial Intelligence and Engineering in the year 2000.

He has also completed the Advanced Management Program (AMP) at Columbia University Business School in 2017 and completed a Program for Leadership Development (PLD) at Harvard Business School in 2007.

An exceptional academic, Prof Marwala rose rapidly through the ranks. Already a registered engineer, from 2001 to 2003. He was Executive Assistant to the technical director at South African Breweries. From 2000 to 2001, he was a post-doctoral research associate at Imperial College (then University of London). Between 2003 and 2008, he rose from being an Associate Professor to becoming a Full Professor. He also became the incumbent of the Carl and Emily Fuchs Chair of Systems and Control Engineering as well as the SARChI Chair of Systems Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand.

He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, TWAS (The World Academy of Sciences), the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Science of South Africa, the African Academy of Sciences, and the South African Academy of Engineering. He was a distinguished member of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery). 

A world-renowned expert in Artificial Intelligence, Prof Marwala’s research interests are nevertheless multi-disciplinary. They include the theory and application of artificial intelligence to engineering, computer science, finance, social science and medicine. He has an extensive track record in human capacity development, having supervised 47 master’s and 38 doctoral students to completion. Some of these students have completed their doctoral and post-doctoral studies at leading universities such as Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, British Columbia, Rutgers, Purdue, Chiba and Waseda.

He has published 27 books on artificial intelligence and related topics, one of which has been translated into Chinese, over 500 papers in journals, proceedings, book chapters, newspapers, and magazines, and holds five patents.

Prof Marwala has received more than 45 awards, including the Order of Mapungubwe, and was a delegate to the 1989 London International Youth Science Fortnight (LIYSF) in high school. His writings and opinions have appeared in New Scientist, Fortune, The Economist and Time magazines. 

In his former capacity as deputy chair of the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution in South Africa, Prof Marwala has played a pivotal role in shaping the digital future of his native land. Marwala is the quintessential academic leader, hailed by his peers across the world, for the ground-breaking nature of his research.

For media enquiries 
Phaphama Tshisikhawe
University Spokesperson
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
066 211 1441 

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