The University of Southampton

Published: 
16 November 2017
Illustration

Funding is being made available for projects at the University of Southampton capitalising on the growing potential of the Web through the new Z21 Innovation Fund.

The fund, a collaboration between the University of Southampton and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), launched yesterday with an event at the University’s Highfield Campus during Global Entrepreneurship Week that saw representatives of Solent LEP and the Web Science Institute unveil plans alongside investors, external mentors, students and University staff.

The fund is inviting applications from within the University of Southampton for web-related research projects and early stage commercial initiatives that can be accelerated towards commercialisation and angel funding. Web-based startup projects will be supported towards success with expertise, facilities and support from a network of mentors connected with the University.

Solent LEP has invested £500,000 to support the initiative, which is being matched in-kind by the University, with a view to the Innovation Fund supporting at least 16 potential ventures by March 2019 and generating 40 new direct jobs in the Solent region by March 2021.

Two beta projects from the University have started receiving support from the Z21 Innovation Fund. Aura Vision Labs, founded by two PhD students, is pioneering the next generation of video analytics and the Web Observatory, founded by a research team, is developing a ground-breaking marketplace for datasets and data analytics applications.

Anne-Marie Mountifield, Chief Executive of Solent LEP, commented: “The Solent economy has seen the emergence of new ideas and innovation in the past few years which has underpinned the growth of the Solent economy as a whole. Among the factors underpinning this are the strong knowledge assets of our three universities, each of whom invest in the region’s small business base. The Solent LEP is delighted to be working in a new ground-breaking collaboration with the University of Southampton and our £500,000 Z21 fund delivered in partnership with the Web Science Institute will help create our next generation of innovative University spin-outs..”

The University’s Web Science Institute (WSI) will deliver expert advice to entrepreneurs in the programme while the Future Worlds on-campus incubator will provide acceleration through mentoring, the creation of professional promotional videos and introductions to potential investors.

Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Executive Director of the Web Science Institute and Regius Professor in Computer Science, added: “The University of Southampton is home to some of the most talented students, researchers and academics in the world and benefits from cutting-edge facilities. The Z21 Innovation Fund represents a unique and exciting relationship between the Solent LEP and the University of Southampton that will drive innovation into the real world.”

The Z21 Innovation Fund is seeking applications from potential ventures to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) over a 3-month project before having the opportunity to progress for Pre-Seed funding to further develop the proposition ready for external investment.

The closing date for applications for the first Call is 5pm on Friday 24 November 2017.

If you would like further information, please contact the Z21 Coordination Manager Susan Davies at z21@soton.ac.uk.

Share this article FacebookGoogle+TwitterWeibo

Contact

Share this profile FacebookGoogle+TwitterWeibo

node type automatic_tidt_calendar_event has no template

<div><strong>WAIS Seminar with Christopher Adetunji in B32-R3077</strong></div>
\n<div><strong></strong>&nbsp;</div>
\n<div><strong>Title</strong>: </div>
\n<div>Enterprise Mobility and the Making of a PhD</div>
\n<div>&nbsp;</div>

Contact

Share this profile FacebookGoogle+TwitterWeibo

Published: 
10 November 2017
Illustration
Sofie Debloudts: I am convinced this course will further my career greatly

The University of Southampton’s MSc programme in Artificial Intelligence (AI) has attracted a surge of interest a decade on from its launch at the institution.

The one-year course, which draws upon the knowledge of world-leading experts in Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), teaches students core data analysis skills while exploring both traditional and state-of-the-art aspects of AI and machine learning.

The 2017/18 intake of over 40 students in the research-led programme represents an increase of over 130 per cent from 2016/17 and follows an 82 per cent rise in applications from the same year.

Programme Coordinator Dr Richard Watson explains, “Our MSc in AI benefits from world-leading research groups in intelligent agents, machine learning and data science - no other UK MSc can offer that. We have taken a contemporary approach with this course and cover the fundamental aspects of traditional and modern approaches.

“I’m delighted to see Southampton’s international reputation in the field being reflected in rising student numbers and am confident that we will see this trend continue as our researchers remain at the forefront of this rapidly expanding discipline.”

ECS has pioneered many of the most important advances in computer science and web technology over the course’s 10 years. Its high profile staff include Professor Dame Wendy Hall, who co-led a major Government review this year into how the UK can increase the use of AI across the economy. In it she emphasises that Universities are on the ‘front line’ to help prepare and upskill the country’s future workforce.

Students participating in the AI MSc study the fundamentals of all aspects of intelligent algorithms with the freedom to choose options and specialise where desired. Topics in the course cover a skill base which is in very high demand from industrial companies and include intelligent agents, complexity science, computer vision, robotics and machine learning techniques.

Notable MSc projects this year include skin cancer detection using machine learning and computer vision, deep learning for visual recognition of satellite imagery and real-time epilepsy prediction from brain signal analysis.

Current MSc student Sofie Debloudts chose to study AI at Southampton after spending two years as a game designer. “I looked at the programme details based on a friend’s warm recommendation and the reputation of the University in general,” she says. “I immediately felt that this was the course for me. Now I’ve started, I’m finding that the programme is structured well and the lecturers are passionate about their subject matter. I am convinced this course will further my career greatly - by my second week of study I had already been contacted by head hunters to ask about my plans after graduating.”

Jia Bi completed the AI MSc in 2015. “I chose to come to Southampton to study my MSc in AI because ECS at the University has a good reputation and is among the top ranked in the UK,” she explains. “It has great research staff, advanced experimental facilities, and I had such a good supervisor that I decided to stay here to do my PhD in Computer Science.”

Undergraduate students are also able to develop their skills in artificial intelligence through ECS' MEng Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence and it's MEng Electronic Engineering with Artificial Intelligence.

Share this article FacebookGoogle+TwitterWeibo

Publications

De Angelis, Stefano, Aniello, Leonardo, Baldoni, Roberto, Lombardi, Federico, Margheri, Andrea and Sassone, Vladimiro (2017) PBFT vs proof-of-authority: applying the CAP theorem to permissioned blockchain At Italian Conference on Cybersecurity, Venice, Italy. 17 - 20 Jan 2017. 11 pp. (Submitted).

Contact

Share this profile FacebookGoogle+TwitterWeibo

Published: 
10 November 2017
Illustration
Universities are on the ‘front line’ to help prepare and upskill the country’s future workforce.

Just weeks after the publication of the UK government's review of the country's capabilities in artificial intelligence, Professor Dame Wendy Hall, co-chair of the review and Regius Professor of Computer Science in ECS at the University of Southampton, says the time is right to capitalise.


“Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been around for a long time as a concept but in reality, we’re now seeing a major surge in the technological development of AI which is likely to see automation continue to escalate and accelerate.

“The machines we’re building today are so much more powerful than ever before in terms of their processing power and storage ability, and because of the huge amounts of data available, we’ve vastly improved our capacity to build intelligent systems that can learn and begin to ‘think’ for themselves, although it’s still an open question as to whether they will ever really be able to outperform the human brain.

“As a result, we’re seeing a huge surge in automation in every walk of life which places even greater importance on the recently-published government review of Artificial Intelligence in the UK which I co-chaired alongside Jérôme Pesenti, Chief Executive of BenevolentTech. But we now need to act in order to realise the full potential of AI and achieve the positive benefits it can deliver.

“Through our review, we made 18 specific recommendations including a number that focus on ways in which universities, research institutes, industry and government can come together to better prepare us for the AI landscape of the future. Universities are on the ‘front line’ to help prepare and upskill the country’s future workforce but they’re also key to the future of research, development and commercialisation of AI to benefit the economy and society as a whole.

“We’ve emphasised the importance of skills and the need to increase the UK’s expertise through industry-funded Masters programmes in AI and Masters-level conversion courses with funding and other forms of support coming directly from industry. AI is where the new ‘big salary’ jobs will be but the demand from industry for new talent is already outstripping the supply so we need to continue to create additional courses and places for generating new talent in the UK whilst improving our responsiveness of our skills training system to the demand. At the same time we have to reduce the gap between industry and academia, attracting the best talent from around the world to the UK and create more opportunities for women and other underrepresented groups.

“We’ve also made recommendations to increase the uptake of AI to help organisations and workers understand how AI can boost their productivity and make better products and services, including public services.

“Data sharing and access is another key area we’ve concentrated on so we can ensure that people and organisations can be confident that use of data for AI is safe, secure and fair, making more data available from publicly-funded research. We also want to build on the UK’s strong record in cutting-edge AI research with targeted proposals including making the Alan Turing Institute a national institute for AI in the UK.

“Ever since computers were invented, people have talked about how they can help us to learn and that’s what got me into computing in the first place.

“I’m fortunate to have lived and worked during one of the world’s most important technological revolutions which has delivered some huge breakthroughs, although I don’t believe we’ve arrived yet at what will be a ‘steady state’ of the future, if there ever is one.

“Now is the time for us all - scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs and the government - to come together and address the issues about how AI is going to impact society and seek ways to ensure that we’re able to deliver the great breakthroughs the technology has the potential to deliver for the benefit of society.”

Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Regius Professor of Computer Science, University of Southampton

Share this article FacebookGoogle+TwitterWeibo

Contact

Share this profile FacebookGoogle+TwitterWeibo

node type automatic_tidt_calendar_event has no template

<div>Professor Zaifu Yang from the University of York will present speak about Game theory and mechanism design.</div>

node type automatic_tidt_calendar_event has no template

<div>Professor Chris Baber from the University of Birmingham will speak about Ubiquitous computing.</div>

Pages

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×