Report summary

From the design of jet engines to new drug development and manufacture, computation modelling is becoming increasingly embedded in the design and operation of our public services, business processes, and national infrastructure. Rapid growth in the availability of data and computing power, as well as new methods for modelling complex systems, are transforming our capability in modelling.

This report, produced by the Council for Science and Technology and written by experts from academia and industry from across the UK, looks at the country’s computational modelling capability and how it could be better leveraged in both the public and private sector. The report aims to demystify computational modelling, demonstrate the UK’s capabilities, and make recommendations as to how the UK can take full advantage of the opportunities offered by advances in modelling capability.

Summary of the Turing’s involvement

Amongst the report’s recommendations, it is suggested that the government should consider whether there is a need for a centre of expertise for modelling for the public and private sectors, to promote exchange of expertise and independent critique of models. It is suggested that The Alan Turing Institute could form an important node in a networked solution to this recommendation.

The report also recommends that the Turing act as a catalyst for innovation partnerships, champion ‘grand challenges’ in modelling, and evangelise modelling’s benefits, to help policymakers and employers understand what is possible.

Sir Alan Wilson, CEO of the Turing, was one of the contributing authors of the report: “I enjoyed working with colleagues to produce this report – my main contribution was in Chapter 7 [Modelling cities and infrastructure], but it was genuinely a joint effort. As a modeller myself, I support its conclusions and will look forward to The Alan Turing Institute strengthening its offer in this field.”

Journal follow-up

A paper entitled 'Computational modelling for decision-making: where, why, what, who and how' was published The Royal Society as a condensation of the Council for Science and Technology's report. It is organised into five sections covering: where models are used, why model, making and using models, types of model and analysis and future directions. Appendix A contains two checklists: making and using models and what users should ask about a model.

Additional information

Sir Alan Wilson, CEO of The Alan Turing Institute

Turing affiliated authors