About us

The Alan Turing Institute is the national institute for data science.

The Institute is named in honour of Alan Turing (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954), whose pioneering work in theoretical and applied mathematics, engineering and computing are considered to be the key disciplines comprising the emerging field of data science.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is data science?

Billions of gigabytes of data are generated globally every day. Data science is the drive to turn this data into useful information, and to understand its powerful impact on science, society, the economy and our way of life.

The study of data science brings together researchers in computer science, mathematics, statistics, engineering and the social sciences. It is an emerging new science set to change the world.

In this film we asked a range of Turing researchers, together with industry and government thinkers about what data science means to them – and why it is important to all of us.

 

What research does The Alan Turing Institute undertake?

Our first step in forming the Institute was to undertake a major research process involving more than 1000 individuals, including a peer-reviewing process which looked at more than 100 research proposals.

32 workshops (capability-led) and 11 summits (user-led) were delivered over the course of a 9 months period, summarised in our Scoping Workshop report.

This exercise involved researchers from a huge range of disciplines – digital humanities, social data science, computer science, mathematics and statistical science – as well as a range of leaders from the private, public and third sector

From this diverse map of opportunities for where our data science could potentially be applied, we have chosen those areas in which we feel we could make the most effective impact in our first year, based on our expertise and partners:

Priorities matrix

How will The Alan Turing Institute contribute to the debate on data ethics?

Understanding the societal implications of big data is one of The Alan Turing Institute’s key research priorities.

The members of our Data Ethics Group will lead our research in this area. The group will work in collaboration with the broader data science community, will support public dialogue on relevant topics, and there will be open calls for participation in workshops later this year, as well as public events.

The ethical expertise concentrated in the Data Ethics Group complements a wider group of researchers in the Institute exploring issues of fairness, transparency and privacy in data science. This interest group, led by Turing Fellow Adrian Weller, includes experts in machine learning, security, causal inference and algorithm design. The group aims to develop new technical approaches to managing these ethical challenges, and to inform a broader discussion.

Turing Lectures by Professor Luciano Floridi, ‘Ethics in the Age of Information’,  Professor Helen Margetts, ‘The Data Science of Politics’, and Ben Shneiderman, ‘Algorithmic Accoutability‘, provide a useful introduction to the topics around data ethics which the Turing will explore.

How can I get involved?

We run regular Turing Lectures featuring guest speakers discussing the latest trends in data science. We host workshops and seminars for researchers. Events are free and open to all. Sign up for newsletter mailing list to be kept  informed.

We regularly advertise for talented researchers, students, data scientists, engineers and operations staff to join our team. We also run regular calls for Visiting Researchers and students to join the Institute and support our research. Look out for these on our Opportunities page.