• Nathaniel Byrne

Turing@Birmingham Newsletter, 19 February 2021

Book your place at The Turing presents: AI UK

The Turing are pleased to announce the addition of several new guest speakers to the line-up for their flagship event, AI UK on 23 – 24 March. They include:

  • Ruby Wax OBE, Chancellor, University of Southampton. Author of four Sunday Times best-selling books, Ruby has a Master's degree in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy from the University of Oxford, and is a highly-acclaimed global TED Talk speaker. She is also a Visiting Professor in the School of Mental Health Nursing at the University of Surrey.

  • Dr Shakir Mohamed, Research Scientist at DeepMind. Shakir works on advancing machine learning principles, applied questions in healthcare and climate, and diversity and transformation.

  • Danielle Belgrave, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research. Danielle’s research focuses on integrating medical domain knowledge, probabilistic graphical modelling and causal modelling frameworks to help develop personalised treatment and intervention strategies for mental health.

  • Maggie Philbin, Co-founder of TeenTech. Maggie has worked in radio and TV for over 30 years on science, medical and technology programmes from Tomorrow’s World to Bang Goes the Theory. She co-founded the award-winning organisation TeenTech.

Find out more.

Calls & Opportunities

NEW: April Data Study Group

The next Turing Data Study Group taking place in April. Data Study Groups are intensive, collaborative hackathons which bring together organisations from industry, government, and the third sector, with talented multi-disciplinary researchers from academia. Organisations act as Challenge Owners, providing real-world problems to be tackled by researchers.

The events provide a fantastic opportunity for early career researchers to rapidly develop their data science skills using real-world data. The event also offers participants the chance to forge new networks for future research projects and build links within The Alan Turing Institute and industry. PhDs, postdocs, those with equivalent non-traditional qualifications/experience and other early career researchers are encouraged to apply.

Please note that due to COVID-19 the Data Study Group will be run remotely over three weeks. For full details of this format, including the time commitment involved, please read our event page.

Research call on AI, data-driven technologies and ethnic minorities

In the spring we will be launching a research call in partnership with NHSX’s NHS Artificial Intelligence Lab, which will be administered by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR). Funding will be available for projects that support the advancement of artificial intelligence and data-driven technologies in health in a way that better meets the needs of minority ethnic populations. We will be sharing more information about this opportunity soon.

Sign up to Turing Interest Groups

The Institute has announced 15 new Turing Interest Groups have launched. Interest Groups aim to promote research collaboration, share knowledge, and communicate emerging scientific concepts to the wider Institute and beyond, around a shared area of interest in data science and AI. These are:

Express your interest to join the Turing’s reviewer pool

Expressions of interest are now welcomed for reviewing Turing initiatives from the Turing Community and beyond. As the Institute is growing, there are an increasing number of activities within the Turing that require advice from expert and generalist reviewers. These include recurrent work linked to academic programmes (e.g. Enrichment Scheme / Data Study Groups / Training Provision), and the review of externally proposed projects that Turing engages with.

We are hoping to create a reviewer pool of individuals who hold diverse expertise and who can be guided by an established framework to ensure transparent and consistent reviewing across these programmes. Find out more and express your interest.

Events at the University of Birmingham

Data Science and Computational Statistics Seminar

The Data Science and Computational Statistics Seminar series is jointly between the School of Mathematics and the School of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham. Seminars are scheduled for Tuesday afternoons. Upcoming seminars:

  • 2 March 2021, 15:00-16:00: Variational Bayesian inference for point processes - a latent variable approach. Professor Manfred Opper, Professor of Machine Learning, Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, University of Birmingham, considers Bayesian inference for estimating the intensity function of inhomogeneous Poisson processes, where the intensity function is modelled by a Gaussian process (GP) prior via a sigmoidal link function

  • 16 March 2021, 15:00-16:00: Roots of random functions. Assistant Professor Oanh Nguyen, Department of Mathematics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, presents approaches via the local universality method to study questions about the roots. As one of the applications, we prove that the number of real roots of a wide class of random polynomials satisfies the Central Limit Theorem.

For more information, please visit the Seminar page on Talks@Bham.

Thursday 4 March, 19:00

INTERFACE: Science + Art + Health

Short Talks, Panel Discussion and Audience Q&A

In 2020 the Centre for Systems Modelling & Quantitative Biomedicine (SMQB) embarked on a new Artist-in-Residence programme involving four multidisciplinary artists. Join us for an informal evening event to hear these artist & researcher stories of creative collaboration at the interface between mathematics, biology & healthcare. Register now.

Events at the Alan Turing Institute

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.

Research programmes showcase

The Alan Turing Institute is pleased to invite you to its first Research Programmes Showcase, a new event series connecting the Turing’s University Partners to its research programmes. The events will:

  • Provide valuable insight into how you can get involved

  • Offer the opportunity to learn more about the research ambitions, partners and key projects of each programme

  • Feature a presentation and panel discussion via an audience Q & A session

  • Include a networking session with key members of the programme

You can find details of all scheduled events below, the public policy programme will be announcing their date shortly. To book your place, click on the event title:

Wednesday 24 February

Tools, practices and systems seminar

The Tools, Practices and Systems monthly seminar brings together researchers, data scientists and software engineers across the Turing and beyond to connect and discover the latest in open research and infrastructure from a mix of internal and external speakers.

Seminars take place on the last Wednesday of every month (except March, August and December 2021). Sign up to the event on Wednesday 24 February

Tuesday 2 March, 12:30 – 14:00

Tabitha Goldstaub announced for next Turing Lecture

We’re pleased to announce that the next Turing Lecture will feature Tabitha Goldstaub and will take place on Tuesday 2 March, 12:30 – 14:00. Tabitha is co-founder of CogX and chair of the UK government's AI Council. She is also an advocate for increased diversity in tech, Tabitha is the author of How To Talk To Robots - A girls guide to a world dominated by AI. She's also a co-founder of Future Girl Corp and is an advisor to TeensInAI and on the board of Tech UK.

Thursday 11 March, 13:00 - 16:15

Hosted by the Trustworthy Digital Infrastructure for Identity Systems project, this workshop is designed to advance collective understanding of use cases, cultural considerations and how behaviours are evolving with the implementation of national digital identity systems, and technology generally. Discussions will inform research into understanding the threats and risks that are associated with trustworthy systems design and will explore opportunities for managing them. Register now.

Community Events

Turing ‘sandpit’ events on themes of the Greater Manchester local industrial strategy

The University of Manchester’s Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (IDSAI) is hosting four Turing ‘sandpit’ events in January and February 2021, based around the major themes of the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy, with input from the related Turing programmes. The sandpits will focus on the following themes: Health and Care Innovation; Advanced Materials and Manufacturing; Clean Growth and Digital Transformation. Funding is available to support collaborative feasibility studies (£10k-£15k) co-developed at the sandpit events. To register your interest, complete the EOI form.


21 - 25 June 2021

WebSci’21 | 13th ACM Web Science Conference

Hosted by the University of Southampton, UK, delivered online

The 13th ACM Web Science Conference (WebSci’21) is an interdisciplinary conference where a multitude of research disciplines converge with the purpose of creating a greater insight into a complex global Web than the sum of their individual parts. We invite participation from diverse fields including computer and information sciences, communication, economics, informatics, law, linguistics, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology.

Alan Turing Institute News

Institute offices at The British Library to remain closed

Our offices will remain closed. Our plans to reopen were always subject to any rapid developments and this decision has been taken in the light of the new health and safety advice, rising rates of infection and the guidance to ‘only go to work if you must’.

Virtual access to the Institute

You can also stay connected to the Turing via: Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

Thanks for your continued support.

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