Turing Fellowships for three University of Glasgow researchers

Three University of Glasgow researchers have been appointed as new Turing Fellows by The Alan Turing Institute.

Professor Alison Heppenstall, Dr Yiannis Giannakopoulos and Dr Dezong Zhao are part of a new cohort of 51 Turing Fellows who have joined the Institute from universities and research institutes across the UK, starting today (Friday 1st March).

The Turing Fellowship Scheme aims to grow the data science and AI ecosystem in the UK by supporting, retaining and developing the careers of the next generation of world leading researchers, whilst contributing to the Institute’s overarching goals.

The new Turing Fellowship model is aimed at established researchers whose research interests align with the Turing’s Science and Innovation priorities outlined in the Institute Strategy.

As well as taking part in the Turing’s interdisciplinary, and collaborative research community, the new fellows will also support work in the areas of skills and public engagement.

The Turing Fellows were appointed through an open call which is anticipated to run on an annual basis. Future calls will be aligned closely to the Institute’s goals.

The University’s new Turing Fellows are:

Professor Alison Heppenstall of the School of Social & Political Sciences

Professor Heppenstall’s research investigates the creation and adaption of AI/ML methods to spatio-temporal systems. She is interested in individual-based models (microsimulation, agent-based modelling), synthetic population generation, uncertainty quantification, simulating behaviour and data assimilation.

She is also interested in the development of exascale computation for application to agent-based models in the social sciences. Her current work is focused on building and validation of urban digital twins and systems science approaches in public health. She leads the Smart Cities theme on the Artificial intelligence for Collective Intelligence (AI4CI) Hub.

Dr Yiannis Giannakopoulos of the School of Computing Science Dr Giannakopoulos is a Senior Lecturer in Algorithms and Complexity at the School of Computing Science. Previously, he was a faculty member at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg and TU Munich. He holds a DPhil in Computer Science from the University of Oxford. His research interests lie in the general area of algorithms, complexity, and optimization.

He is primarily working in the field of algorithmic game theory, where he is using tools from algorithmic theory, mathematics, and theoretical economics, to study aspects of existence, quality, computability, and approximability, of stable and desirable outcomes in settings involving agents with competing incentives, including classical game theory and equilibrium analysis, auctions, and mechanism design.

Dr Dezong Zhao of the James Watt School of Engineering Dr Zhao develops innovative methodologies and toolkits for automation and autonomous systems. His research focuses on promoting the safety, trustworthiness and efficiency of autonomous vehicles and robotics. In particular, he is working on the multimodal perception and safe decision making of autonomous vehicles.

Meanwhile, he is building robotics driven by both knowledge and cause-and-effect. He also works on digital twinning towards net-zero transportation systems and energy systems. He was awarded an EPSRC Innovation Fellowship in 2018 and a Royal Society-Newton Advanced Fellowship in 2020.

Professor Mark Girolami, Chief Scientist, The Alan Turing Institute said: "I’m delighted to welcome a new cohort of Turing Fellows, brought to us from across our University Network in recognition of their status as the next generation of world leading researchers in the data sciences, AI and related fields.

"I’m very much looking forward to seeing the immense value they will add to our diverse and vibrant science and innovation community, including playing a critical role in the delivery the Turing’s strategy as we strive to change the world for the better through data science and AI."

The appointment of the new Turing Fellows is the latest development in the University of Glasgow’s relationship with the Turing.

In April last year, the University was announced as one of the founding members of the Turing University Network , a new network of higher education institutions which will work to use data science and AI for social good.

In June 2023, Professor Dame Muffy Calder, head of the College of Science & Engineering, co-authored a Turing report on privacy intrusion and national security in the age of AI.

In September, Professor Mark Girolami attended the official opening of the University’s Centre for Data Science and AI , which brings together hundreds of academics from across the University’s four Colleges with the aim of tackling global grand challenges and creating a better future for all.