Alan Turing Institute operations begin

Work is getting under way at the Alan Turing Institute, a UK research venture involving Edinburgh scientists.

The initiative aims to promote the development and use of advanced mathematics, computer science, algorithms and big data for human benefit.

It involves the Universities of Edinburgh, Cambridge, Oxford, UCL, Warwick and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

It will be headquartered at the British Library.

Supercomputer project

Among the first projects to be undertaken by the Institute is a collaboration with Cray and the EPSRC on ARCHER, the UK’s largest supercomputer for scientific research.

ARCHER is housed at the University of Edinburgh.

The supercomputer will be enabled with advanced data analytics capabilities.

These will provide a scalable platform to enable the science community, commerce and industry to realise the value of big data for the UK economy.

Director appointed

Professor Andrew Blake has been appointed director of the Institute, and takes up his post in October.

Professor Blake is a graduate and former computer science researcher at Edinburgh.

He is currently a Microsoft Distinguished Scientist and Laboratory Director of Microsoft Research UK.

Funding award

Lloyd’s Register Foundation has become the Institute’s first strategic partner, with £10 million of research funding.

This grant will further the Institute’s core mission of data science research and facilitate research into engineering applications of big data, to enhance the safety of life and property at sea, on land and in the air.

The research will aim to tackle some major global challenges including food, water and energy security, climate change, and pandemic disease.

Ambitious targets

The Alan Turing Institute seeks to attract the best data scientists and mathematicians to break new boundaries in the use of big data.

It is being funded over five years with £42 million from the UK government. The university partners are contributing £5 million each, totalling £25 million.

In addition, the Institute will seek to partner with other business and government bodies.

The Institute and GCHQ will cooperate on training and research in data-analytical methods that may be applied in open access and commercial environments, and to propagate best practice for the use of big data.

The Alan Turing Institute has set off on a speedy course to secure new lasting partnerships and bring together expertise from across the UK that will help secure our place as a world leader in areas such as Big Data, computer science and advanced mathematics.

Jo JohnsonMinister for Universities and Science