School of Informatics

Sethu joins The Alan Turing Institute as Programme Co-Director for AI

Sethu Vijayakumar has been recently announced as Programme Co-Director for Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the Alan Turing Institute.

Sethu celebrating with a robot

The Alan Turing Institute is the national institute for data science and artificial intelligence 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 fields of data science and artificial intelligence.

Five founding universities – Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford, UCL and Warwick – and the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council created The Alan Turing Institute in 2015.

Eight new universities – Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Queen Mary University of London, Birmingham, Exeter, Bristol, and Southampton – joined the Institute in 2018.

In an interview with the Turing Sethu comments on the opportunities arising from his appointment “My ambition is to try to marry my passion of machine learning and statistical methods, in which the UK has world class talent, with solving problems arising from, and in the deployment of, robotic platforms.”

“There are some very interesting theoretical, conceptual, and algorithmic problems that come up in the robotics domain that can be very good challenges for people working in data science to tackle.”

His vision for how the relationship between the Turing and Bayes Centre will enable the sharing of these challenges. “We want to create living labs that bring together different stakeholders to test technology in real-world scenarios. We can do this by enabling core developments in data science and scalable algorithms and bringing in end users and companies to develop proof of concept testbeds, to help translate world class lab research. With the Turing’s network we’ll have access to the right kind of talents to push this work forward.”

He is also keen to ensure that the perception of robotics and AI is positive, but also realistic. “As practitioners we need to be able to tell the public, and law makers and the government, about the tremendous opportunities of technology, but also what its limitations are. We want to ‘bust the hype’, manage expectations, and allay fears.”

Further reading

'Tackling challenges in AI, one robotic step at a time'