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Department of Computer Science and Technology

We're pleased to announce we'll be offering a new Centre for Doctoral Training in Artificial Intelligence (AI) from next academic year in partnership with the University of Manchester.

The Centre will focus on 'Decision Making for Complex Systems'. It is one of 12 new Doctoral Training Centres in AI being funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the national funding agency investing in science and research in the UK.

UKRI is funding these new Centres, which offer training for PhD students, in order to ensure that the UK continues to have the skills needed to seize the potential of the AI era. The Centres aim to nurture the British tech talent that will push the AI revolution forwards.

Having interactions between Machine Learning and other domains is what creates real progress. This new Centre will allow us to do this by creating critical mass around a range of different topics, allowing students to be exposed to different challenges from a wide range of domains such as physics, business and pharmacology.

Dr Carl Henrik Ek

The new AI Centre on Decision Making for Complex Systems will help equip the next generation of AI researchers with the theoretical and practical skills to develop and deploy new machine learning models and approaches that can efficiently cope with uncertainty in complex systems. It will be led in Cambridge by researchers in this Department and in the Department of Engineering.

All students will start with a foundation year in Manchester, where they will be given a foundation in Machine Learning and AI and an in-depth understanding of the implications of its application to solve real-world problems. The year will also include a course taught (virtually) here in Cambridge.

Students can then opt to spend three years studying for their PhD either in Manchester or here in Cambridge. During those three years, they will be trained to develop AI methods designed to accelerate new scientific discoveries. 

Machine Learning as an enabling technology
The new Centre further expands this Department's existing focus on how we can use Machine Learning as an enabling technology. It complements the approach of our Accelerate Programme for Scientific Discovery where researchers are trained in the use of AI as an engine for scientific discovery, from predicting the impact of climate change to using genetic data to create new healthcare treatments.

University Senior Lecturer Dr Carl Henrik Ek is one of team here who developed the concept for the new Centre. He says: "As a scientific field, Machine Learning requires close collaboration with other disciplines in order to drive development in the right direction. Having interactions between Machine Learning and other domains is what creates real progress.

"Having this new Centre will allow us to do this. It will create critical mass around a range of different topics, allowing students to be exposed to different challenges from a wide range of domains such as physics, business and pharmacology."

The first cohort of students will start in the 2024-25 academic year. Recruiting for these students will begin shortly.


Published by Rachel Gardner on Tuesday 31st October 2023