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University of Edinburgh: Appleton Tower – 60 years of computer science and AI - themed walking tour


In Person

A controversial building since its inception, Appleton Tower recently underwent a thorough refurbishment with a new entrance and enhanced facilities and services. Home to the University?s world-leading School of Informatics since the Cowgate fire in 2002, it?s currently used for teaching while research has moved to the Informatics Forum across the road. The state-of-the-art study suite on Level 9 offers amazing view of the city.

We are inviting visitors to join a walking tour that will take them through the landmarks in the history of computer science and AI on Central Campus. The tour starts in front of the Informatics Forum and includes access to level 9 of the Appleton Tower offering an amazing view of the city.

The University of Edinburgh traces the origins of its activities around AI to a small research group established in 1963, led by Donald Michie. The same year the Computer Unit was created and Sidney Michaelson was appointed its Director.

35 years later, in 1998, different activities around the science of information (including computer science, artificial intelligence, cognitive science and others) were brought together and a new Division (later changed to School) of Informatics was formed.

Before the School occupied its iconic Informatics Forum building and carried out teaching in the nearby AT, its activities were dispersed over various sites on two of the University campuses.

Visitors are encouraged to join tours of the KB campus to learn about computer science and AI history there.


Digital Resources

Virtual Tour

Explore Appleton Tower through a virtual tour.

Go on a virtual guided tour!

Key Information

Please note only tour attendees will be able to access the building including access to level 9 of the Appleton Tower you need to be booked onto the walking tour.

Where to find us

  • 11 Crichton Street
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LE
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Programmes this building took part in: