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  • Ganna Pogrebna

Newsletter 29th August 2019









This week in the Turing at Birmingham Newsletter

Save the Date: Turing at Birmingham Town Hall Meeting


September 24, 2019


The Turing at Birmingham Town Hall meeting will take place on September 24th, 2019 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Alan Walters Building. Please, stay tuned for the Eventbrite registration, which will be released shortly.

Book Your Calendar: Turing at Birmingham Day


October 15, 2019


The Turing at Birmingham Day will take place on October 15, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the University Hotel and Conference Centre. The event's programme and registration will be released via Eventbrite shortly.


Talk by the Alan Turing Institute Fellow Aaron Sloman


September 2, 2019 at 11 a.m.


Venue: School of Computer Science Common Room (opposite the main entrance)


One of our Fellows, Aaron Sloman, will give a talk on September 2, 2019 in the School of Computer Science at 11 a.m. Please do attend! The title of the talk is "Why current AI and neuroscience fail to replicate or explain ancient forms of spatial reasoning and mathematical consciousness"


Brief Overview: It is widely, but erroneously, believed that Immanuel Kant's philosophy of mathematics in his Critique of Pure Reason (1781) was disproved by Einstein's theory of general relativity (confirmed by Eddington's observations of the solar eclipse in 1919, establishing that physical space is non-Euclidean). Aaron's 1962 DPhil thesis (now online) defended a slightly modified version of Kant's claim that many important mathematical discoveries are non-empirical, non-contingent, and non-analytic (i.e. not just logical consequences of axioms and definitions), but it did not explain how brains or machines could make such discoveries. Aaron later encountered AI, around 1969, learnt to program, and hoped to show how to build a baby robot that could grow up to be a mathematician making discoveries like those of Archimedes, Euclid, Zeno, etc., and many other deep discoveries made long before the development of modern logic and formal proof procedures. Aaron thinks those mathematical abilities are closely related to the spatial intelligence of pre-verbal human toddlers, and other intelligent animals, e.g. squirrels, elephants, crows, apes, and perhaps octopuses - whose abilities are not yet replicated in AI/Robotics systems nor explained by current theories in neuroscience or psychology. Insofar as such mathematical discoveries involve necessity or impossibility they cannot be substantiated by mechanisms that collect statistical information and derive probabilities, e.g. currently fashionable Deep Learning systems. For more information and related references, see Aaron's webpage.


Digital Aid: Understanding the Digital Challenges facing Humanitarian Assistance


September 9, 2019


Jointly hosted by The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the Alan Turing Institute, this event will bring academics together to examine the research questions arising from the intersection of global digital developments and the provision of effective humanitarian assistance in low- and middle-income countries affected by conflict and displacement. This is to better understand the needs and the issues at the frontiers of development aid. The overall objective is for the ideas generated from this workshop to result in a commissioned report with emergent priorities and recommendations for the humanitarian sector. This workshop will explore the following research questions in three breakout sessions:


The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Humanitarian Assistance: Nowcasting and forecasting to aid humanitarian response, Facial Recognition for restoring family links;


The Data Vault: Privacy, cyber security and data protection


The Digital Conditions of Aid: Humanitarian principles, biometrics, digital ID, inclusion, data governance and ethics in the digital world


For more details, click here.


The workshop is open to all UK researchers.



Turing Spring and Summer Schools Call


Deadline: September 13, 2019


To support the goal of training new generations of data science and AI leaders, the Alan Turing Institute’s Training Steering Group are accepting applications for a new Turing Spring and Summer Schools call. This will provide successful applicants with funding to deliver summer school style (multi-day) training workshops to benefit the knowledge and skills of the Institute’s PhD students, as well as doctoral and postdoctoral researchers across the UK data science community. Applications are open (via Flexigrant) to the Turing Research Community (Turing Fellows, Turing Research Fellows and researchers at University Partners) with a deadline of Friday 13 September. Proposals can include a number of collaborators, should this opportunity be of interest to you. We encourage you to promote this opportunity to anyone in your networks you think might be suitable and interested in applying. If you have any questions, please email training@turing.ac.uk.


Turing Call for Proposals: Theory and Methods Challenge Fortnights


Deadline: September 2, 2019


The Alan Turing Institute is seeking research proposals from across the Turing research community to establish new ‘Theory & Methods Challenge Fortnights in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence’ (TMCF) event series. There will be two events per academic year and each event will last between 8 and 14 days. They can be held at locations across the Turing university partner network or at the Turing’s offices in London. The Theory & Methods Challenge Fortnights will bring together experts from the Turing and other institutions to join forces for a multi-day research event on a specific theoretical or methodological challenge. These theoretical and methodological challenges can be drawn from any discipline in the remit of data science and Artificial Intelligence. The Institute expects that the theoretical and methodological contributions stemming from the challenge, impact or have the potential to impact, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence or at least one of the associated disciplines in a fundamental way. The successful proposals will receive sufficient funding to fully cover travel, subsistence, accommodation (and daycare costs as necessary) for the challenge team for a maximum of 2 weeks. See here for more information. If you are a fellow who wants to apply for the challenge, email tcmf@turing.ac.uk for any queries. If you are NOT a fellow, but still have ideas for the challenge, email gpogrebna@turing.ac.uk.

Call for projects: International Alliance for a Human-Centric Approach to Artificial Intelligence


A new call for projects: ‘International alliance for a human-centric approach to Artificial Intelligence’, has been announced by the EU. The project will facilitate cooperation with like-minded partners, in order to promote ethical guidelines and to adopt common principles and operational conclusions. Global or regional promotional events will also take place, potentially involving also other countries, to provide leadership in the area of AI. Find out more.

UK Health Data Research Alliance Expands to Increase Diversity of Health Data for Research and Innovation

Eight leading health organisations, research institutes and charities, including three of the UK’s largest NHS trusts – Barts Health, University Hospitals Birmingham and Nottingham University Hospitals – have announced they are joining the UK Health Data Research Alliance to accelerate progress in medicine and health.  Other new members are UK Biobank, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, The Brain Tumour Charity, NIHR BioResource, and Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP). Find out more


Upcoming Events


12 September: 10:00-18:00

Mathematics and Data


13 September

Visualization for Data Science


16 September: 8:45-17:30 100+ brilliant women Lady Margaret Hall Oxford  This conference will bring together some of the most eminent women working in AI ethics and will feature keynotes from Dame Wendy Hall and Jeanette Winterson.


17-18 September

UK-Japan robotics and AI research collaboration workshops


18 September: 17:15 - 19:00 Driving data futures: AI explainability with a human face The Alan Turing Institute Enigma In this lecture series, the Turing's public policy programme invites audiences to learn and critically engage with new research at the intersection of new technologies, public policy, and ethics.


23 September

Data Trusts Workshop


For complete list of upcoming events, check out THIS PAGE



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