Andrew Herbert, the managing director of Microsoft Research in Cambridge, has been awarded an OBE for services to computer science in the New Year Honours list.
Herbert [pictured], a Microsoft Distinguished Engineer, has worked in the field of computer science for 35 years, conducting research into computer networking, operating systems and distributed computing. He told ZDNet UK on Monday that he had been informed of the honour two months prior to its announcement on 31 December, and that no-one on the list is told precisely why they are included.
"It's completely mysterious — you have no idea who [else] is on [the list] or why," said Herbert. "My guess is that it's a reflection of the fact that I'm head of Microsoft Research, and that we've done a lot of work helping the academic community."
In his early career, Herbert worked as a faculty member at the University of Cambridge with Roger Needham and Maurice Wilkes on development in local area networks and distributed computing. He then founded Ansa, which undertook industry-backed research and development on the use of distributed systems technology to support applications integration in enterprises.
Herbert later went on to become director of advanced technology at Citrix, where he worked on web-based application development products. In 2001, he joined Microsoft Research.
He said he was very pleased to have been given the award.
Herbert pointed to Microsoft Research collaborative work with institutions including Queen Mary's College and Oxford University, and the funding of research in subjects such as biological computing, as projects that had made a difference to computing in the UK.