I-X hosts inaugural conference to explore latest AI breakthroughs

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I-X Breaking Topics in AI Conference

International experts showcased the latest cutting-edge research at the I-X Breaking Topics in AI Conference.

Sponsored by Schmidt Futures, I-X recently hosted a one-day conference which brought together international experts in the field of AI. Held at Scale Space, the conference offered an insight into the latest cutting-edge research, emerging trends and the opportunity to foster new collaborations.

Marking the occasion, the event was opened by Chair of the Board for I-X, Professor Eric Yeatman who introduced I-X and highlighted the generous support from Schmidt Futures: “I-X is Imperial College's flagship initiative in AI, set up to particularly focus on collaborative ventures in AI and bring together all four faculties at Imperial and the many departments within those faculties. We are a part of the College’s exciting White City campus and innovative eco system who are equally dedicated to working with industry and supporting businesses.” 

“I-X is Imperial College's flagship initiative in AI, set up to particularly focus on collaborative ventures in AI and bring together all four faculties at Imperial" Professor Eric Yeatman Chair of the Board for I-X

“We were also fortunate to receive the support of Schmidt Futures in being one of the eight locations internationally which hosts an AI for Science Centre for Schmidt Futures. We have already recruited 30 fellows, and we're in the process of recruiting a third round of fellows to the programme. I'd like to thank Schmidt Futures, and the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fellowships for AI in Science specifically, who have been incredibly supportive of all of I-X’s activities, as well as today's event. 

Inspiring new AI techniques

Touching on what the conference hoped to achieve, Prof Eric Yeatman said: “This conference will offer some detailed focus on key topics within AI but also invites those who might be less familiar with these topics, to offer a basic grounding, and also to inspire your thoughts about how these techniques and ideas might be relevant to your own work.”  

The conference encompassed plenary presentations from four leading AI experts including Professor Lena Maier-Hein from Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (The German Cancer Research Centre), Professor Terry Lyons from the University of Oxford, Professor Gitta Kutyniok from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München and Professor Pier Luigi Dragotti from Imperial College London. 

  • Breaking topics in AI
  • Professor Pier Luigi Dragotti
  • Breaking topics in AI
  • Professor Lena Maier-Hein
  • Professor Terry Lyons
  • Breaking topics in AI

Speaking about her talk, Professor Lena Maier-Hein said: “I think we have seen a lot of hype in AI recently, but I want to shed light on the problems too and discuss the things that do not always work - which is why my talk was titled ‘Question everything: paving the way for true clinical translations of medical imaging AI.’  I wanted to show that when we develop an AI system we cannot treat the individual components as black boxes but instead we really need to understand what we are doing from beginning to end. We need to consider the whole pipeline and professionalise each single component. There are many examples of promising AI systems that, when applied in practice, didn’t meet expectations.” 

“Another key message I wanted to share was around validation. We need to invest time in checking the value of our AI systems. Before we even start working on a project, we need to think carefully about the true problem we are trying to solve and design the validation accordingly - this can have a huge impact on its success.”  

Challenging conventional practices

“Our plan is to have this as the first of a recurring series over the years ahead and this year we had very good attendance from industry and academe.”  Professor Nick Jones Director of the I-X Centre for AI in Science

Touching on Prof Lena’s talk and the conference, I-X faculty member Dr Islem Rekik said: “I think Prof Lena’s talk was highly stimulating as she challenged many foundational concepts in AI, particularly the way we evaluate our AI algorithms and methods. This is why conferences like this are so important as it allows us to challenge conventional practices and to ask key questions surrounding the development of AI.” 

Prof Nick Jones, Director of the I-X Centre for AI in Science said: “Our plan is to have this as the first of a recurring series over the years ahead and this year we had very good attendance from industry and academe. I-X now has nearly 50 faculty and independent fellows and we thus have the capacity to readily convene more exciting events like this.” 


A recording of the conference can be found on the I-X YouTube Channel under the I-X Centre for AI in Science Playlist

Reporter

Elinor Pegler

Elinor Pegler
Faculty of Engineering

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Contact details

Email: e.pegler@imperial.ac.uk

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