• Nathaniel Byrne

Newsletter February 14th 2020


Dr Iain Styles appointed as UoB's Turing University Lead

Dear all,

You may have already heard that I have been selected to be the new Turing Institute Lead, and also the Director of the Birmingham Institute for Interdisciplinary Data Science. I look forward to working with you and helping you to get the most from the Turing and your fellowships.

My immediate priority is to make sure that the University's Turing Fellowship Projects are up-and-running, and I know there are some issues to be resolved - Nathaniel Byrne, University Liaison Manager, has been working on these and now we have a clear picture of the situation, I have a clear plan for what we want to do.

Please bear with me for the next couple of weeks as I work to divest my responsibilities in other areas, but please feel free to get in touch - I know many of you very well, but others not so and it would be very good to find out more about your work.

Best regards


Dr Iain Styles

Calls & Opportunities

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 Turing@Birmingham Lead and 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

Events & Conferences


Tuesday 24 March 2020 - Wednesday 25 March 2020

Turing Presents: AI UK

Tickets are now available for the Alan Turing Institute's first major conference. For the first time a dynamic, two-day showcase will see the Turing bring together all three of these goals in an unrivalled showcase featuring the very best of UK academic work in AI and machine learning.

Turing Fellows are eligible for a 10% discount, please contact Nathaniel Byrne, for details.

Thursday 5 March 2020

European AI Policy Conference

Bringing together some of the leading voices in AI from across the continent to discuss why European success in AI is important, how the EU compares to other world leaders today, and what steps European policymakers should take to be more competitive in AI.

Sunday 7 June 2020 - Wednesday 10 June 2020

PSI Conference: Speaker required

The PSI ( are looking to run a session around the topic of ethics and are looking for a third speaker from The Alan Turing Institute who would be interested in presenting at their upcoming conference in Barcelona. One idea is to have a presentation on ethics with respect to automated decision making in healthcare, but a different topic around ethics and data science/AI in the area of healthcare would be of interest.

Tuesday 7 July 2020 - Friday 10 July 2020

12th International ACM Web Science Conference, University of Southampton

Call for Contributions

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.

Please see the website for more information and detail on submitting.

Abstract submission deadline: 14 February 2020

Paper submission deadline: 21 February 2020

New: Health Programme Seminar Series

You can now register for the upcoming Turing Health Programme Seminars taking place on:

The presentations for the Health programme seminar will run from 12:45 to 13:45. Delegates can bring their own lunch and join from 12:30 onwards for ‘meet and eat introductions’ with other programme members.

The February and March 2020 seminars will take place at The Alan Turing Institute and participants can join either in person or remotely (via Zoom). We will ask partner universities to host future seminars to ensure they are accessible for Health programme members around the country.

If you would like to host a future Health programme seminar at your university or have suggestions for topics for future sessions, please complete this online form.

Upcoming Events

Monday 24 Feb 2020

UK multi-agent systems symposium

The AI Programme at the Turing will host an interactive UK Symposium on Multi-Agent Systems (UK-MAS). The goal of the symposium is to bring together UK-based research labs at universities and industry who have a significant focus on MAS research, to explore the MAS research landscape in the UK. There will be space for talks by people from academia and industry as well as discussion sessions and networking opportunities.

Wednesday 26 Feb 2020

Turing Lecture: AI and the future of work

In this lecture, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon will explore some of the current limitations of the implementations of AI, the implications of a severe lack of diversity throughout the development and creation processes and specifically what this means in the workplace. Also – Anne-Marie will touch on the loss of jobs and strategies for ensuring future employment. Then, drawing on her work with the Institute for the Future of Work, she’ll close with the role that industry has to play in creating a fairer, more equitable future and in role-modelling behaviours to shape society.

New: Tuesday 03 Mar 2020

Causal machine learning masterclass

This masterclass will introduce machine learning-based methods for the evaluation of (causal) treatment effects, highlighting that bias can be introduced if using standard machine learning methods that are tuned for prediction performance, as opposed to estimation of treatment effects. We will then introduce the framework of “Targeted Learning” and other causal machine learning approaches, as a principled solution with optimal statistical properties for the estimation of causal treatment effects. This is an invitation to apply to attend the workshop, please see the web page for details

Wednesday 04 March 2020,

Targeted learning

Part of the Turing AI for Science and Government initiative, this talk exposes the current practice of learning from data by applying traditional statistical methods that are too simplistic, arbitrarily chosen, and subject to manipulation, and presents a solution — a principled and reproducible approach, termed targeted learning, for generating actionable and truthful information from complex, real-world data. This approach unifies causal inference, machine learning and deep statistical theory to answer causal questions with statistical confidence.

Wednesday 11 Mar 2020

Machine learning interpretability, explainability and trustability

In this seminar, we will outline the challenges in achieving machine learning model interpretability, explainability and trustability. We will then present research progress in turning “black-box” models into “white-box” models. We also introduce key ideas on how to develop more interpretable algorithms for risk prediction, time-series prediction and treatment effects as well as how to test and communicate the goal of interpretability, explainability and trustability is achieved. We will conclude by defining the research agenda that lies ahead.

Monday 16 Mar 2020

Data science for development

A one day workshop at The Alan Turing Institute on 16 March 2020 designed to bring together data scientists and development experts from both the academic and public/NGO sector to explore how advanced quantitative techniques might be deployed to tackle urgent development challenges. We are welcoming submissions (short talks and posters) showcasing applications of data science for development or highlighting development challenges where data science might be deployed.

Tuesday 17 Mar 2020

Edge computing for earth observation

This one-day interactive workshop will look at the advances and challenges in on-board processing, machine learning and artificial intelligence for Earth observation. It aims to bring together a group of Earth scientists with interesting problem sets, data scientists with knowledge of machine learning algorithms and experts in computer architectures for power and bandwidth constrained environments.

Wednesday 18 Mar 2020 - Thursday 19 Mar 2020

UK-Italy robotics and AI research collaboration workshop

The workshop will be held on 18-19 March 2020, at Villa Wolkonsky, the residence of the British Ambassador in Rome. It will bring together leading researchers in AI and robotics from Italy and the UK. This first workshop will help identify collaboration topics and is a very important first step in helping the AI programme establish a firm basis for future joint activities.

Tuesday 24 Mar 2020

Turing Lecture: Provably beneficial AI with Professor Stuart Russell

Professor 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.

This special lecture will close the first day of The Alan Turing Institute's first major showcase, AI:UK. To purchase tickets for the showcase, please visit the event website.

Future Events

Monday 20 Apr 2020 - Friday 24 Apr 2020

New: Data Study Group - April 2020

Wednesday 22 Apr 2020

Turing Lecture: Earth Day with Emily Shuckburgh

Many events are recorded, find the archive on YouTube.

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:

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