• Nathaniel Byrne

Newsletter, 30 July 2020

Calls & Opportunities

LAST CHANCE: Contribute to the Turing response to UK Government's R&D Roadmap

As you may be aware, the Government recently published their UK Research and Development Roadmap. Over the coming months the Government intends to develop the proposals in this Roadmap in a R&D plan and have invited responses to the Roadmap in an online survey of high-level questions.

The Turing are consider a response based on the following eight questions:

  • How can we best increase knowledge and understanding through research, including by achieving bigger breakthroughs?

  • How can we maximise the economic, environmental and societal impact of research through effective application of new knowledge?

  • How can we encourage innovation and ensure it is used to greatest effect, not just in our cutting-edge industries, but right across the economy and throughout our public services?

  • How can we attract, retain and develop talented and diverse people to R&D roles? How can we make R&D for everyone?

  • How should we ensure that R&D plays its fullest role in levelling up all over the UK?

  • How should we strengthen our research infrastructure and institutions in support of our vision?

  • How should we most effectively and safely collaborate with partners and networks around the globe?

  • How can we harness excitement about this vision, listen to a wider range of voices to ensure R&D is delivering for society, and inspire a whole new generation of scientists, researchers, technicians, engineers, and innovators?

Any contributions to the Turing's response are welcome (up to 300 words for each of the questions above). Submissions should be written in an accessible manner with a clearly defined contribution. Any references to relevant projects or work currently underway at the Turing are particularly welcomed.

Please send your submissions to Iain Styles by 31 July 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) opened on 1 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

New NCSC Project - Expressions of Interest Requested

Expressions of interest are requested for a new project fully funded by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) on developing anonymisation techniques for logging data to preserve privacy and detect cyber-attacks. The Turing are seeking a PI and one research assistant to undertake this project, starting in mid-September and running to the end of the financial year (31 March 2021), with a possibility to extend. The funder will cover direct and indirect costs, plus overheads.

To express interest, or request further details, please email a short profile on suitability for the project and your CV to Nathaniel Byrne

Responses are requested with a deadline of 20 August 2020.

NIHR Artificial Intelligence for Multiple Long-Term Conditions

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) invites proposals to undertake programmes of research to spearhead the use of artificial intelligence (AI) methods to develop insights for the identification and subsequent prevention of multiple long-term conditions (multimorbidity).

Research funded through this initiative will use AI and data science methods, combined with expertise in clinical practice, applied health and care research and social science, to systematically identify or explore clusters of disease.

The call is now live and the deadline for applications is 29 September 2020.

Call for Azure applications

The Turing is offering the opportunity to apply for an allocation on the Microsoft Azure cloud computing service with limited time availability. The Institute aims to support 5-6 projects with up to $20,000 of Azure credits and potentially 1-2 projects with $50,000 (or more) Azure credits. The deadline for applications is Thursday 30 August. For more information or if you have any questions contact the Research Computing Platforms team at Find out how to submit a request

UoB Events

Every Tuesday (times vary)

UoB Data Science and Computational Statistics Seminar

This is the Data Science and Computational Statistics Seminar series jointly between the School of Mathematics and the School of Computer Science.

  • Tuesday 4 August 2020, 14:00 - 15:00: Can algorithms collaborate? The replica exchange method with Xin Tong (National University of Singapore). Gradient descent (GD) is known to converge quickly for convex objective functions, but it can be trapped at local minima. On the other hand, Langevin dynamics (LD) can explore the state space and find global minima, but in order to give accurate estimates, LD needs to run with a small discretization step size and weak stochastic force, which in general slow down its convergence. This paper shows that these two algorithms can "collaborate" through a simple exchange mechanism...

  • Tuesday 11 August 2020, 13:00 - 14:00: Non-reversible Markov chain Monte Carlo for sampling of districting maps Following the 2010 census excessive Gerrymandering, has become an increasingly prevalent practice in several US states. Recent approaches to quantify the degree of such partisan districting use a random ensemble of districting plans which are drawn from a prescribed probability distribution that adheres to certain non-partisan criteria. In this talk Matthias Sachs (Duke University) will discuss the construction of non-reversible Markov chain Monte-Carlo (MCMC) methods for sampling of such districting plans.

For more details on these and upcoming seminars, please visit the Talk@bham page.

Institute Events

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.

Wednesday 29 July 2020

Turing Lecture: Is education AI-ready?

COVID-19 is revolutionising the way we teach and learn, but what role should AI play in this? Join Professor Rose Luckin as she discusses the current stage of AI's application in education, and the ways in which AI has supported teachers and learners during the pandemic. Professor Luckin will also look to the future and consider how AI could be used to support a COVID-compliant transformation for our education system. This is the first event in a new mini-series for The Turing Lectures which will explore the role of AI and data science in our lives post-lockdown. Register now.

Friday 14 Aug 2020, 16:00 - 17:00

DSSGx UK | Multidisciplinary data science

This talk will discuss how to set up and run a multidisciplinary data science team. From who needs to be in the room and why, to how a policy brain can benefit data science projects, Raphaelle and Josie will cover the process, team and specific challenges associated with running multidisciplinary data science projects.

Thursday 20 Aug 2020, 15:00 - 16:30

Turing Lecture: AI for innovative social work

As remote working and online activism take centre stage in light of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement, Professor Desmond Upton Patton asks how we might use data science to improve our online experience, and help marginalised communities flourish, online and off.

Wednesday 26 Aug 2020, 14:00 - 17:00

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. This session will showcase some of the ways the urban analytics community has been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a look at the RAMP workstream led by Mark Birkin.

Monday 31 Aug 2020 - Friday 25 Sep 2020

Data Study Group - September 2020

The Turing Data Study Groups are popular and productive collaborative events and a fantastic opportunity to rapidly develop and test your data science skills with real-world data. The event also offers participants the chance to forge new networks for future research projects, and build links with The Alan Turing Institute – the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence.

Thursday 03 Sep 2020, 16:00 - 17:30

DSSGx UK | Summer projects closing ceremony

The DSSGx Summer projects closing ceremony on Thursday 3 September will celebrate the exceptional work of this year's nine talented data scientists, and feature insightful, short presentations on the challenges provided by our non-profit partners, Ofsted and The World Bank.

Other events

6 August 2020, 18:00

LMS-Bath Symposium on the Mathematics of Machine Learning

Carola-Bibiane Schönlieb, University of Cambridge will be delivery her public lecture "Looking into the black box: how mathematics can help to turn deep learning inside out" as part of the LMS-Bath Symposium on the Mathematics of Machine Learning. Deep learning has had a transformative impact on a wide range of tasks related to Artificial Intelligence, ranging from computer vision and speech recognition to playing games. Still, the inner workings of deep neural networks are far from clear, and designing and training them is seen as almost a black art. In this talk we will try to open this black box a little bit by using mathematical structure of neural networks described by so-called differential equations and mathematical optimisation.


Save the date: 24 November 2020

AI and data science in the age of COVID

A research conference that aims to fulfil the Turing's role as a national institute and convene the UK AI and DS community (including frontline COVID-19 responders) to make recommendations for future research in the age of COVID-19.

23- 24 March 2021

The Turing Presents: AI UK

Following the postponement of the event this year, we are pleased to confirm the event will now take place 23 - 24 March 2021.

The Alan Turing Institute continues to pursue its ambitious goals: by advancing world-class research in data science and artificial intelligence (AI), training and inspiring the leaders of the future, and shaping the public conversation. AI UK, a dynamic two-day event, will see the Turing host an unrivalled showcase featuring the very best of UK academic work in AI and machine learning.

Further information will follow in due course, including the release of additional tickets.

New blog: How COVID-19 is driving innovation in digital identity

As COVID-19 intensifies reliance on digital technology, it puts a spotlight on innovation in the fast-evolving world of digital identity (ID). Businesses, organisations and public services have faced a new imperative to facilitate online access to remote working, payment systems and resources, as if overnight. As COVID-19 intensifies reliance on digital technology, it puts a spotlight on innovation in the fast-evolving world of digital identity (ID). Businesses, organisations and public services have faced a new imperative to facilitate online access to remote working, payment systems and resources, as if overnight.

Reminder: Take part in the Return to Work survey by Friday 7 August

We want to hear your thoughts and ideas about a possible return to the office environment from September. Your input will be vital in deciding what measures we implement prior to re-opening the Turing offices. Please take the time to complete this survey before Friday 7 August.

The Turing Podcast

Listen to the latest episode of The Turing Podcast: Antibody Certificates for COVID-19? In this episode the hosts talk to Research Associate Chris Hicks and Research Assistant David Butler to discuss their work building a privacy-preserving system for issuing and verifying COVID-19 antibody certificates, a technology that could be used to help with the easing of pandemic measures in some scenarios. You can also find out more about their workin a related blog on the topic.

Virtual access to the Alan Turing Institute

The Turing Institute has requested feedback about communication and involvement since their head office in the British Library closed in March.

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.