Computing with Uncertainty

The last forty years of the information revolution have been driven by one simple fact: the number of transistors on a silicon chip doubles every couple of years. The resulting exponential growth in the power of processors distinguishes computing from any previous technology in history. Today we are witnessing a second form of exponential growth: in the quantity of data being collected and stored. It is driving a transformation in information technology, away from solutions that are explicitly hand-crafted to those which are learned from data. Real-world data, however, is full of complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty and so the data revolution is driving a shift from computing with logic to computing with probabilities. This talk will introduce the key ideas of computing with uncertainty, and will be illustrated with a variety of large-scale case studies.

Speaker Details

Chris Bishop is Chief Research Scientist at Microsoft Research Cambridge, where he helps with the strategic direction and planning for the lab and jointly leads the Machine Learning and Perception Group. His research interests include probabilistic approaches to machine learning, as well as their application to fields such as biomedical sciences and healthcare.

Chris is also Professor of Computer Science at the University of Edinburgh, where he is a member of the Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation in the School of Informatics. Chris is a Fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge and a Fellow of the British Computer Society. In 2004 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and in 2007 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In 2008 he was selected as the Royal Institution Christmas Lecturer.

Chris obtained a BA in Physics from Oxford, and a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of Edinburgh, with a thesis on quantum field theory. He then joined Culham Laboratory where he worked on the theory of magnetically confined plasmas as part of the European controlled fusion programme.

From that, he developed an interest in pattern recognition, and became Head of the Applied Neurocomputing Centre at AEA Technology. In 1993 Chris was elected as a Chair in the Department of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Aston University, where he was a member of the Neural Computing Research Group. Chris then took a sabbatical during which time he was principal organiser of the six month international research programme on Neural Networks and Machine Learning at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge, which ran in 1997.

After completion of the Newton Institute programme Chris joined the Microsoft Research Laboratory in Cambridge.

Christopher Bishop