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Summer at the Alan Turing Institute

In Autumn 2016 the Alan Turing Institute will begin its first academic year, and over 100 researchers will begin research into data science at our new headquarters in the British Library.

In the run-up to launch, the Institute has embarked on a Summer Programme of events, workshops and projects which make up the first phase of research-focused activities taking place at the Institute.

Alan Turing Faculty Fellow Dr Scott Hale and Intern Yin Lu, both working on the YouthNet Project

Alan Turing Faculty Fellow Dr Scott Hale and Intern Yin Lu, both working on the YouthNet Project

Twelve young PhD students have joined the Institute on a summer internship scheme working on four research projects guided by Alan Turing Institute Faculty Fellows.

Echoing the principles of collaboration that will underpin the Institute’s research culture, interns from different disciplines are working together to analyse data and solve problems.

Yin Lu, a PhD student from the University of Oxford interested in the intersection between language and technology, is an intern at the Turing Institute working with on a project with The Mix (formerly YouthNet), a non-profit youth support charity, being led by Dr Scott Hale, a Turing Institute Faculty Fellow from the University of Oxford.

Reflecting on her time at the Turing Institute so far, Yin Lu commented: “I’ve had a fantastic time here over the past two and a half weeks. It’s as close to being in a start-up environment in academia as one can get. We are the first academics to conduct research here full time, virtually anything is possible and feedback cycles are incredibly fast.”

“By the end of the summer we hope to discover how/why youth use different channels of communication (email, phone, online chat, forums) to seek help, who uses each channel, and how volunteers can best engage the youth who contact them.  There is a lot of potential here for us to contribute not only to youth support but also to online communication.”

The Institute is also running a number of summer workshops which bring together researchers and industry representatives to work on a highly focused research topic. We recently hosted a two-day workshop on urban analytics, which considered how data scientists at the Alan Turing Institute might contribute to the future challenges of urban living.

Professor Sir Alan Wilson, an Alan Turing Institute Faculty Fellow from University College London, who hosted the workshop, commented: “This was a very effective workshop with excellent contributors and everyone joining discussions that will help to set the priorities for the Institute’s work on smart cities and urban analytics.”

Summer Programme Workshop “Urban Analytics”

Summer Programme Workshop “Urban Analytics”

Throughout the summer small research groups are gathering at the Alan Turing Institute to work on fixed time research projects, such as ‘How Data Collection Habits Affect the Presence of Data’ and ‘Development of Theory and Algorithms for Monte Carlo Quadrature’.

Faculty Fellow Professor Ruth King, from the University of Edinburgh, took part in a research group investigating ‘Linking hidden Markov models with intractable likelihoods’, and commented:

“The Institute provides a unique and exciting opportunity to meet, interact and collaborate with interesting researchers across different research areas. Working in the small research group provided a mechanism for building new research links and work intensively on a problem, using the different strengths and skills of the team.”

Professor Mari Girolami presenting at the Turing Lecture.

Professor Mari Girolami presenting at the Turing Lecture.

While the Summer Programme is ongoing, researchers are also gathering at the Institute for our regular Turing Lecture event series. This month more than 130 researchers attended a lecture with Professor Andrea Bertozzi from UCLA and Professor Mark Girolami, and a further 100 tuned in online via our livestream. The lecture is now live on our YouTube channel and more events will be scheduled throughout the summer. Our next Turing Lecture, featuring visiting speaker Prof Mike West from Duke University, will take place this Friday, click here for more information and to book a place.

Follow our Twitter account @turinginst for regular updates on our events and activities.