Professor Bell has had the privilege of supervising about 40 PhDs to completion. He has headed many national and international projects, including a large number of European Union projects, for example under programmes such as MAP, ESPRIT, DELTA, COST, AIM, in Information Technology since 1981. He established a world reputation in Computing areas including Distributed Database theory and practice and later in Artificial Intelligence topics such as automated search, reasoning and learning methods. Before that, following his work in industry and schools, his research produced results in basic Computing topics - in Programming Language and Compiler Design, and in Hashing and Clustering methods.
He has authored or co-authored several hundred academic and other publications, including several books, and he has had well over six thousand citations of his work. One single paper has had more than 1000 citations, seven others have had more than 200 citations, and four others have had more than 100 citations. Many of these better cited papers were in aspects of machine learning.
Naturally, some of his books reflect his earlier focus. They include an influential book, Distributed Database Systems, with Prof Jane Grimson, published by Addison-Wesley in 1992. This text was cited over 300 times. The two-volume Evidence Theory and its Applications, which he authored with Prof Jiwen Guan, published by Elsevier Science Publishers in 1991 and 1992, had a similar impact. These books were intended to provide extensive resources for researchers in their domains. His most recent book is Superintelligence and World-views published by Grosvenor House Publishing in 2017, which presents some of his thoughts on how far future developments in Artificial Intelligence might go and how well they might fit in with wider beliefs.
Other activities have included highly prestigious international Conference chairmanships, eg joint Programme Committee (PC) Chair of the world-leading Very Large Databases (VLDB) conference in 1993 and also of the International Conference on Data Engineering (ICDE) in 1997. He has been a member of many other conference PCs and has had long periods when he worked on journal editorship and editorial board memberships - eg for Computer Journal and North-Holland’s Information Systems. He has been guest editor of well-known journals such as IEEE Trans on Knowledge and Data Engineering (TKDE), on (eg) Knowledge Discovery, Data Driven Data Mining and Semantic Web.
He served on the UK Technology Foresight Panel for several years, and was a member of a number of national and international advisory and funding groups, including, for example, a sub-group of the Wellcome Trust in the UK
His current research interests are centred on the linking of reasoning under uncertainty, machine learning, and other artificial intelligence techniques with his earlier work. This involves the exploration of other aspects of computing, including aspects of agent awareness and innateness.