Black box AI and Women in Science award: News from the College

Credit: David Poultney
Credit: David Poultney

Here’s a batch of fresh news and announcements from across Imperial.

From efforts to demystify how neural networks operate , to an award supporting female researchers , here is some quick-read news from across the College.

Demystifying black box AI

Neural networks - learning machines that recognise patterns in data - have revolutionised the way we analyse large datasets. However, although these networks have enjoyed rapid success, the way they work can be mysterious, even to those who built them - a major obstacle to their interpretability and trust in AI.

Now, a team led Professor Danilo Mandic has uncovered a way to demystify the mechanisms that underpin convolutional neural networks. This is achieved through matched filtering - a tool that finds patterns in noisy data that has a physically meaningful interpretation.

Professor Mandic, from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering , said: "AI could be extremely beneficial to critical sectors like health, security, finance, or energy, but its adaptation is slow. This is mainly due to the lack of interpretability of current AI models, which prohibits our understanding of and trust in its decision-making process.

"Using this approach helps demystify the operation of neural networks for researchers and practitioners, while at the same time helping enhance their interpretability and applicability through solid theoretical justification."

Learned Society of Wales Fellow

Professor Tim Green has been elected Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.

Prof Green is Professor of Electrical Power Engineering at Imperial, with a research focus on developing a cost-effective and reliable zero carbon electricity supply system that can accommodate variable renewable sources. He specialises in power electronics and works on control, stability, and protection of power systems with high penetration of inverter-based resources.

He said: "I am really thrilled to be elected fellow. I’ve lived away from Wales for many years but I am proud to be Welsh and delighted to be able to play a part in the Learned Society of Wales."

L’Oréal-UNESCO 2023 Women in Science awards

Three researchers were distinguished at the L’Oréal-UNESCO 2023 Women in Science awards, an annual award that supports women researchers around the world to pursue their scientific careers in their home countries or abroad.

Dr Livia Cupertino-Malheiros , from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering , was recognised as a "Highly Commended Candidate" at the awards. She works to address challenges in materials engineering to help develop better performing metallic alloys.

Dr Cupertino-Malheiros said: "It was a great opportunity to meet incredible people at Downing Street, the Royal Society and the House of Commons - and was definitely a boost of energy to pursue my research in materials engineering for a more sustainable society!"

Also nominated were Dr Minoo Kabirnezhad from the Department of Physics and Dr Julia Woitischek from the Department of Earth Science and Engineering. Imperial had more shortlisted candidates this year than any other university.

Read about our previous winners.

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