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Royal Academy of Engineering and Man Group establish new Research Chair in Machine Learning

06 October 2016

The Royal Academy of Engineering and Man Group have appointed a new Research Chair in Machine Learning at the University of Oxford to develop machine learning and data analysis techniques for large-scale, real-world applications, including financial modelling. Professor Stephen Roberts FREng will hold the five-year Research Chair, applying his extensive expertise and years of experience in machine learning approaches, data analysis and statistical modelling.

Professor Roberts currently leads the University's hub for machine learning and data analytics. This encompasses the Department of Engineering Science’s Machine Learning Research Group, a body of some 30 leading machine learning researchers, and the Oxford-Man Institute, an innovative collaboration between the University of Oxford and Man Group, which focuses on machine learning in quantitative finance.

Machine learning provides a powerful way of combining data from multiple sources in real time, to deliver information and predictions about complex systems, such as financial markets. Some trade-offs are usually made between speed and precision on account of the sheer volume of data collected each second. One of the core goals of Professor Roberts' research will be to develop more agile systems that can maximise use of the available bandwidth while minimising the impact on performance and precision. Professor Roberts’ project will seek to produce scalable technology in a single, coherent solution that can be deployed in large systems in real time, in areas that monitor large steams of data.

Professor Stephen Roberts FREng, Royal Academy of Engineering/Man Group Research Chair in Machine Learning, said:

“Challenging engineering problems are rarely black and white, so the key is to develop ways to manage uncertainty and to create a dynamic process which can change and react over time to deliver the best results. There are a large number of models currently used within machine learning to address such problems, but as the Royal Academy of Engineering/Man Group Research Chair in Machine Learning, my goal will be to bring them together and produce a coherent solution with multiple applications.”

Professor Ric Parker CBE FREng, Chair of the Academy’s Research Committee, said:

“We need skilled engineers to develop the tools that can rapidly process vast amounts of data into actionable information. The information can be used to tackle problems from commerce and industry to humanitarian needs, but it needs innovative technology to deliver it. The Royal Academy of Engineering is proud to support Professor Roberts as the new Research Chair in Machine Learning to advance this increasingly important field.”

Sandy Rattray, CEO of Man AHL, said:

“At Man AHL, we have been actively researching and investing in machine learning techniques for several years. Through the Oxford-Man Institute (OMI), our unique collaboration with the University of Oxford, we are able to apply these techniques in our client trading programs. In a world where the quantity and forms of available data are expanding enormously, we believe that the cutting-edge research carried out by Professor Stephen Roberts has great potential to further enhance this field and so help us to deliver value to our clients.”


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