Turing Lecture: Data Science, National Security and Systems Challenges

Date: 2 November 2016

Time: 1:30-5:00pm




In this Turing Lecture, Chief Scientific Advisor for National Security Anthony Finkelstein will present the technological challenges faced by defence and security in the UK, and discuss how the government plans to overcome the obstacles presented by the application of data science in this sector. This talk will be followed by The Alan Turing Institute Faculty Fellow Professor Jon Crowcroft (University of Cambridge), who will address the complications that arise from system designs, and explain how The Alan Turing Institute and its collaborators are beginning to approach them.

Speaker One: Professor Anthony Finkelstein

Title: National Security Science: challenges and opportunities

National security is a challenging setting for the application of science and technology. This talk will present a perspective on these challenges and will specifically address the particular research challenges and opportunities for the data sciences, setting the scene for data science research taking place in this sector.

Anthony FinkelsteinBiography

Anthony Finkelstein was appointed Chief Scientific Adviser for National Security in December 2015. He is a member of the Board and a Trustee of The Alan Turing Institute, and holds a Chair in Software Systems Engineering at University College London (UCL). He is a visiting professor at Imperial College London, the National Institute of Informatics, Tokyo, Japan and the University of South Australia. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, 2016. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng), an elected Member of Academia Europaea (MAE) and a Fellow of the City and Guilds of London Institute (FCGI). Prior to assuming his current role, he was Dean of the UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences and Head of UCL Computer Science. His scientific work is in the broad area of software systems development.

Speaker Two: Professor Jon Crowcroft

Title: Systems Challenges for Data Science at The Alan Turing Institute

Today, data science systems at “hyperscale” are available only to large, cloud-based companies, such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook, or in very specialized, data-driven science.

But much of the promise lies in dealing with data that is somewhat more distributed in rack scale systems such as the Internet of Things, Smart Cities, public health monitoring and personal cloud in mobile provider networks. Neither of these environments provide ease of programming with high throughput, low latency and decent security and confidentiality.

In this talk, Professor Crowcroft will discuss the challenges that arise from the design of systems, in particular programming languages, operating systems, and networking and analytics platforms, and how The Alan Turing Institute, with its partners and collaborators, is addressing them.


Jon Crowcroft has been the Marconi Professor of Communications Systems in the Computer Laboratory since October 2001. He has worked in the area of Internet Support for multimedia communications for over 30 years. Three main topics of interest have been scalable multicast routing, practical approaches to traffic management, and the design of deployable end-to-end protocols. Current active research areas are Opportunistic Communications, Social Networks, and techniques and algorithms to scale infrastructure-free mobile systems. He leans towards a “build and learn” paradigm for research.

He graduated in Physics from Trinity College, University of Cambridge in 1979, gained an MSc in Computing in 1981 and PhD in 1993, both from UCL. He is a Fellow at the Royal Society, a Fellow of the ACM, a Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the IET and the Royal Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the IEEE and Faculty Fellow at The Alan Turing Institute.

He enjoys teaching and has published several books based on learning materials.