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Newsletter, 15 May 2020



Director of the Alan Turing Institute, Sir Adrian Smith, confirmed as President Elect of the Royal Society


Congratulations to Sir Adrian Smith on his confirmation as President Elect of the Royal Society! Adrian will take up the post of President on 30 November 2020 and will continue his leadership of The Alan Turing Institute as Director.



Virtual access to the Alan Turing Institute


Despite recent changes to government policy, the Alan Turing Institute's offices in the British Library will remained closed for the foreseeable future. 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.


Calls & Opportunities


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



Call for researchers for 'Trusted digital infrastructure for identity systems'


The Alan Turing Institute is joining a vibrant community of NGOs, charities, private sector providers, universities and think tanks addressing global identity challenges in the digital age.

We invite researchers (Turing Fellows, Turing Research Fellows, Doctoral Student Supervisors and others) and other academics from our partner universities to apply to this research call. Applications from other UK-based universities may also be considered, subject to mutual acceptability of contractual terms.


This initiative is funded through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


See the related project page 'Trusted digital infrastructure for identity systems' here.


To apply for the research call: please find the form and apply online via the Turing’s Flexigrant site by Monday 18 May 2020 13:00 BST



West Midlands PCC: Recruitment of new ethics committee member - data scientist

The West Midlands PCC & West Midlands Police’s Ethics Committee is looking to recruit a new member with particular expertise in data science and predictive analytics. The committee’s work to date has sought to transparently scrutinise the work of WMP’s Analytics Lab, and certain national data related projects led by the Home Office. The committee has received both international and high profile media attention for its commitment to transparency and human rights.


The role is voluntary and it is an excellent opportunity to ensure technology works to improve society, protect human rights and ultimately help shape long term policy in technology innovation. More information can be found here.



Call for papers and workshops: Data for Policy conference 2020


Data for Policy 2020 conference, taking place in London 15-16 September, will be hosting a special track exploring the latest thinking in research and policy for data trusts. It will bring together researchers and policymakers to debate ‘where next?’ for these ideas. Discussions will map the current state of debate about data trusts and their use, consider their legal and policy foundations, and advance discussions about the technical infrastructure that will underpin their work. If you're interested in submitting a paper or proposing a panel you can find out more here; you can fund out more about arranging a workshop or tutorial here. The deadline has been extended to 20th May.


BBC Expert Network seeking Turing written contributions


The BBC is actively looking for written contributions from the Turing for their Expert Network.


Articles need to be related to a Turing project/piece of research and can be linked to the news agenda and/or have a human angle. Article pieces need to be between 600-800 words (you can browse website for examples) and need to be accessible to members of the public.


View a piece they commissioned by Turing Fellow Brad Love: Do supermarkets know more about us than we do? And another from ESRC Turing Fellow Ganna Pogrebna: The emotions that make a film a hit…or a miss


If you are interested or have any questions, please contact Beth Wood, Turing’s Press and Communications Manager at bwood@turing.ac.uk



Events & Conferences


Tuesday 10 May 2020

Urban Analytics monthly meet up

This series brings together members of the urban analytics research community once a month for half a day, hosted by the Turing’s Urban Analytics programme. The events feature a mixture of activities, including presentations, discussion sessions and group work.  Although aimed at academics (at all career stages), it is envisaged that there will also be sessions with participation from stakeholders in industry and government. This will be a virtual event, Register now.


Tuesday 26 May 2020

Turing Lecture: Provably beneficial AI, with Prof Stuart Russell

In this talk, Stuart Russell will show that it is useful to imbue systems with explicit uncertainty concerning the true objectives of the humans they are designed to help. This uncertainty causes machine and human behaviour to be inextricably (and game-theoretically) linked, while opening up many new avenues for research. The ideas in this talk are described in more detail in his new book, "Human Compatible: AI and the Problem of Control"


Thursday 28 May 2020

AI UK | Data, privacy and public health: Countering COVID-19 with technology and trust

In this webinar, panellists will discuss the key challenges in ethics, privacy, and trust, in relation to the collection and analysis of data as a public health intervention for countering COVID-19. Panellists include:

  • Dr Simon Eccles, Deputy CEO of NHSX and National Chief Clinical Information Officer

  • Lord Jonathan Evans KCB, DL, Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life and Director General of the British Security Service MI5 from 2007 to 2013

  • Dr Mariarosaria Taddeo, Senior Research Fellow & Deputy Director at the Digital Ethics Lab, Oxford Internet Institute, and Turing Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute

  • Professor Jonathan Crowcroft, Marconi Professor at the University of Cambridge and Researcher-at-large at the Alan Turing Institute


Tuesday 02 Jun 2020

AI UK | 2020 Digital poster exhibition

Join the interactive audience at this virtual exhibitionto hear from the UK's next generation of data science talent on their research techniques and applications, and see what the future holds for artificial intelligence.


Tuesday 02 Jun 2020

AI in optimising the value of urban areas

The seminar will be given by Dr Chanuki Seresinhe and Dr Stephen Law on AI in optimising the value of urban areas. It will be followed by wider network updates and discussion chaired by Dr Ben Caldecott.


Thursday 04 Jun 2020

Challenging power in data science, with Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren Klein

This talk will draw on insights from D’Ignazio and Klein's collaboratively crafted book about how challenges to the male/female binary can challenge other hierarchical (and empirically wrong) classification systems; how an understanding of emotion can expand our ideas about effective data visualization; and how the concept of “invisible labor” can expose the significant human efforts required by our automated systems. Together, they show how feminist thinking be operationalized into more ethical and equitable data practices.


Monday 08 Jun 2020 - Wednesday 10 Jun 2020

CogX 2020

Join us as The Alan Turing Institute once again partners with CogX to curate and host the virtual research stage within the international festival of AI. 


Tuesday 16 Jun 2020

AI UK | Online harms and disinformation post COVID-19

Details coming soon


Tuesday 23 Jun 2020

AI UK | Smart cities

Details coming soon



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

Turing Save Haven Secure Compute Environment


Turing’s Safe Haven secure compute environment is currently available through the Alan Turing Institute. Check out the background information here  and a more in depth paper can be found via this arxiv link: https://arxiv.org/abs/1908.08737

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