Signal Processing and Communications Laboratory

Department of Engineering

William J. Fitzgerald (1948-2014)

Background - Professional Activities - Publications

Position: Professor of Applied Statistics and Signal Processing

Dept. of Engineering,
University of Cambridge,
Trumpington Street,


Bill Fitzgerald was Professor of Applied Statistics and Signal Processing, and the Head of Research, in the Signal Processing Laboratory. His ground-breaking work on Bayesian statistical methodology as applied to signal and data modelling had a profound impact on the study of signal processing, both within the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge and internationally. He was also a renowned expert in non-linear signal processing, image restoration and medical imaging, extreme value statistics, bio-informatics, data mining and data classification. Bill was particularly interested in the applications of Sequential Monte Carlo (particle filtering) methods to signal processing and communication problems.

Bill held a BSc, MSc and PhD in Physics from the University of Birmingham, England. He worked in Neutron Scattering at the Institut Laue Langevin in Grenoble, France for 7 years and was then a Professor of Physics at the ETH in Zurich for 5 years, before joining the Engineering Department in Cambridge. He was a fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, England, where he was Director of Studies in Engineering and a Tutor.

Many of Bill's students have gone on to establish world-class academic, industrial and financial organisations around the world, and his research and enthusiasm continue to inspire new students in the Signal Processing Laboratory. In celebration of his life and work, former colleagues, PhD students and collaborators will give a series of talks at the Bill Fitzgerald Memorial Day on 23rd March 2015. All are welcome. To reserve a place, please email before Thursday 19th March.

Obituary, The Independent

Professional Activities

  • Invited lecture, Bayesian Signal Processing, Symposium at MEDIMAT, University Pierre and Marie Curie, 1993.
  • Invited lecture, Statistical Signal Processing, Schlumberger Cambridge Research Ltd. Conference on Signal Processing, 1994.
  • Invited lecture at the American Statistical Society's conference, Chicago 1996.
  • Many Invited Seminars at various UK and European Universities.
  • Organising committe for the International Society of Bayesian Analysis (ISBA), Istanbul, summer 1997 and Invited lecturer.
  • Organising committe for several European conferences held 1996 and 1997.
  • Visiting Professor Department of Statistics, University of Washington, Seattle, 3 months summer 1996, 30 lectures on Spatial Statistics to Graduate students.
  • Keynote Lecture, The Bayesian Approach to Signal Modelling and Classification, 1st European Conference on Signal Estimation, Prague, 1997.
  • Invited lecture, Bayesian Statistics Conference, Valencia, Spain, June 1998.
  • Referee for various IEEE Transactions and IEE Proceedings.
  • External examiner for many PhD theses both in the UK and in various European Countries.
  • Principal Organiser of a 6 month Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences Programme on 'Nonlinear and Nonstationary Signal Processing', July - Dec 1998.
  • Principal Organiser for 6 workshops taking place at the Newton Institute during the 6 month programme:
    • a) Bayesian Signal Processing,
    • b) Environmental Signal Processing,
    • c) Dynamics and Statistics,
    • d) Econometrics and Financial Mathematics.
  • Vice-Chair of the IEEE conference on Neural Networks held in Cambridge Aug/Sept 1998.
  • Organiser for a 5 day workshop on Extreme Value Statistics, Sept/Oct 1998 Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences.
  • Co-organiser for a 3 day workshop on 'Unresolved Biology and Critical Data : The Statistics of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs)', Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences.
  • Member of the Technical Committee for an international conference that was held in Trondheim (1999), concerning the signal processing of irregularly sampled data. Bill gave the the keynote lecture.
  • Visited the Statistics Department at the University of Caracus (Simon Bolivar) Easter,1999, for 4 weeks as a visiting Professor where he gave 6 lectures.
  • In Paris for 2 months in the summer of 2013, at the ENST laboratory for telecommunications where he was a visiting Professor.
  • Professor Fitzgerald was preparing to spend three months as Visiting Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle where he was to give several postgraduate course in addition to discussing future possibilities for either collaborative programmes or other kinds of involvement.
  • Organiser for an Isaac Newton Institute Programme on 'The Mathematics of Risk' - Summer 2001.


A complete list of publications can be viewed here.