• Nathaniel Byrne

Newsletter, 11 June 2020

Calls & Opportunities

Turing's response to Government consultation on a new research funding agency (UK ARPA)

The Alan Turing Institute is coordinating a response to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee consultation on "A new UK research funding agency". The consultation formally inquires into the nature and purpose of a new US ARPA-like agency that would “invest at least £800 million in blue skies, high-reward research and in UK leadership, including in artificial intelligence and datascience.

The Turing have asked we collect and summarise views from the University community. If you would like to make a contribution to this, please send your views to Dr Iain Styles by the end of the day on Tuesday 16 June. You are also, of course, at liberty to submit your own response.

The Turing would like to include the views of as many researchers as possible and are seeking input into the following five questions raised by the public consultation:

  1. What gaps in the current UK research and development system might be addressed by an ARPA style approach?

  2. What are the implications of the new funding agency for existing funding bodies and their approach?

  3. What should be the focus be of the new research funding agency and how should it be structured?

  4. What funding should ARPA receive, and how should it distribute this funding to maximise effectiveness?

  5. What can be learned from ARPA equivalents in other countries? What benefits might be gained from basing UK ARPA outside of the ‘Golden Triangle’ (London, Oxford and Cambridge)

Any references to relevant projects or work currently underway at the Turing are particularly welcomed. As a previous example of a coordinated consultation response from the Institute, please read the Turing's response to the formation of the Centre of Data Ethics & Innovation.

Please send submissions by EOD Tuesday 16th June to Iain Styles.

Opportunities for Early Career Researchers

The Turing is looking for early career researchers interested in acting as a Principal Investigator (PI) at the Turing’s Data Study Groups (DSGs). This opportunity is primarily for early career academics who are interested in working with industry. You can find more information about the role here. We are currently looking for a PI for the following challenges:

  • Greenvest: Predicting solar energy generation using metrological quantities and satellite images. Useful skills: Time series, spatio-temporal pattern prediction, functional data analysis, satellite images

  • CatsAI: The impact of weather on bakery sales - uncovering explanations from a black box model. Useful skills: Counterfactuals and explainability models

Deadline for applications: 18 June

Register your interest for various challenges brought together through GSMA (GSMA represents the worldwide mobile communications industry) set to run in the December 2020 and April 2021 Data Study Group.

Turing Access to the JADE GPU Cluster

The Alan Turing Institute is offering access to the Joint Academic Data Science Endeavour (JADE) high performance computing (HPC) facility for research projects in the fields of artificial intelligence and data science.

JADE is a Tier2 HPC resource designed specifically for applications in machine learning and data science. It features 22 Nvidia DGX-1 deep learning systems, each with 8 Nvidia V100 GPUs connected via NVlink.

For more information, eligibility and instructions on how to apply please visit the call website.

Application deadline is 29 June 2020

Call for applications: Theory & Methods Challenge Fortnights in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence

A call for applications for the 2021 Theory & Methods Challenge Fortnights in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (TCMF) will open on 1st June 2020.

TMCF is a Turing initiative that brings together experts from across the university partner network and external institutions for a multi-day research event on a specific theoretical or methodological challenge. For this event, members of the Turing research base will be invited to formulate proposals where they present one modern theoretical and/or methodological challenge, and set a plan and a team to start tackling it. The theoretical and methodological challenges can be drawn from any discipline in the remit of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence.

Please contact Nathaniel Byrne for more information

University of Birmingham Events

Wednesday 24 Jun 2020

SMQB Conversation with Professor Gareth Leng: Touching the Heart of the Brain

At the heart of the brain, a tiny and ancient region, the hypothalamus, controls things that fill our lives with meaning and passion – our appetites, motivations and emotions. Professor Gareth Leng FRSE will be talking about what we know of how it does these things, and about how mathematics can help in understanding it. Register here.


The Turing is committed to working flexibly and staying connected - we’ve reconfigured to virtual engagement. You can watch highlights of our past events at the video archive on YouTube.

Tuesday 16 Jun 2020, 13:00 - 14:00

AI UK | Online harms and disinformation post COVID-19

Covid-19 is an unprecedented challenge and, as more time is spent online due to lockdown and remote working practices, it is crucial that we take the appropriate steps to understand and counter online harms, protecting all online users from rogue actors and harmful content. In this virtual webinar, The Alan Turing Institute brings together civil society, tech platforms and academics to discuss these pressing issues and ways of addressing them.

Monday 15 June 2020, 09.00 BST

AI Adoption in Business for Post-Pandemic Success

UK-UAE AI Panel discussion with Dame Wendy Hall, Kellogg College Oxford, PWC, IBM, Chalhoub Group and the UAE’s Artificial Intelligence Office, moderated by Angie Lau from Forkast.News.

This webinar, run by the AI Everything Show, will explore how educating senior executives and decision-makers on AI adoption of techniques and strategies, and making them active, engaged sponsors of AI projects, could propel organisations to unlock tangible results, in a shorter time frame.

Here is the link to register for the Zoom event: Registration Link


12th International ACM Web Science Conference, University of Southampton

The ​12t​h International ACM Conference on Web Science in 2020 (WebSci’20) is a unique interdisciplinary conference facilitating creative and critical dialogue with the aim of understanding the Web and its impacts and reflecting on the most pressing questions facing the Web. This year the organiser particularly encourage contributions on the interrelationships between the Web, AI and other new digital technologies, exploring current theoretical, methodological, and epistemological challenges as well as the practices of individuals, collectives, institutions, and platforms.

The conference will be held at the University of Southampton and run between Tuesday 7 July 2020 - Friday 10 July 2020

Virtual access to the Alan Turing Institute

To continue to engage with the Turing over this period, please sign up to the Institute's newsletter if you have not already done so, check the website for updates, and look out for the University of Birmingham's Institute of Interdisciplinary Data Science website, which will be launched in the coming weeks.

The Turing's latest newsletter can be found online. You can also stay connected to the Turing via: Twitter, LinkedIN, Instagram and Facebook

Thanks for your continued support.

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