A new Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Autonomous, Intelligent Machines and Systems (AIMS) is to be run in Oxford thanks with government funding, following an application overseen by Stephen Roberts, Professor of Engineering Science and a fellow of Somerville College.

Professor Roberts, who has already been appointed Director of the new CDT, has a particular research focus on machine learning theory for problems in time series analysis and decision theory.

“In the next decade our society will be revolutionised by Autonomous, Intelligent Machines and Systems, which can learn, adapt and act independently of human control,” said Professor Roberts. “The UK has the opportunity to become a world-leader in developing these technologies for sectors as diverse as energy, transport, environment, manufacturing and aerospace.”

Professor Roberts is especially pleased at how the new CDT will bring together two high-profile departments at the University of Oxford: Engineering Science and Computer Science.

“The CDT will deliver highly-trained individuals versed in the underpinning sciences of robotics, computer vision, wireless embedded systems, machine learning, control and verification. The CDT will advance practical models and techniques to enable computers and robots to make decisions under uncertainty, scale to large problem domains and be verified and validated.

19 UK CDTs have had funding confirmed by the government in 2014. David Willetts, Minister for Education, has made the government’s resolve in this are very clear.

“The Government will be investing in a further 900 students through an additional 19 Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs), bringing our total investment in CDTs to £390 million,” said Willetts.

“In addition, universities, industry and other charitable partners will be adding a further £124 million to support the training of tomorrow’s scientists and engineers. The combined public and private investment amounts to £764 million”.

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