STFC is about to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to more efficiently sort through the swathes of experimental data produced at its national multidisciplinary science facilities with the aim of making quicker scientific breakthroughs.
This work will be carried out in collaboration with the Alan Turing Institute, which has recently been awarded £40million from UK Research and Innovation to fund research into developing AI technology to benefit the engineering, health, science and criminal justice sectors.
STFC’s Chief Data Scientist Tony Hey will co-direct the project. He said: “There are many areas of science that now generate such large volumes of data that processing it is laborious and inefficient. There is an opportunity here for us to use the tools of data science and AI to assist scientists create new scientific knowledge more quickly and efficiently.
“It is vital that the UK develops suitable systems for mining and exploiting data at our national experimental facilities in order to maintain its position at the forefront of the global research community.”
STFC will be specifically focusing on applying AI and advanced machine learning technologies to the experimental data generated by the facilities at the Harwell Campus – Diamond, ISIS neutron and muon source, the UK’s Central Laser Facility and the NERC Centre for Environmental Data Analytics with its JASMIN super data cluster. This AI capability will be known as the ‘Turing Hub’, and will be hosted at STFC’s Scientific Computing Department.
The Alan Turing Institute has allocated funding to set up the Turing Hub at Harwell, which includes funding for four data scientists and an AI computer system. The Hub will give users of the facilities the new ability to utilise AI technologies to collect and analyse their data, which will significantly increase the efficiency and productivity of users from both academia and industry.
The STFC Hartree Centre is also collaborating with the Alan Turing Institute to work on AI technologies for industry, and the new Turing Hub will be working closely with the Hartree Centre.