University astrophysicist announced as Turing AI Fellow

Professor Anna Scaife, a senior research scientist at Jodrell Bank, has been awarded a five-year Fellowship to support her work in astrophysics.

Her Turing AI Fellowship focuses on AI for discovery in data intensive astrophysics. Radio telescopes, such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), generate more data than can be stored by current computers. Prof Scaife aims to develop new machine learning approaches to efficiently and automatically process these huge data volumes, while still allowing for discovery.

She is partnering with the SKA Organisation and IBM Research to carry out this Fellowship.

Commenting on her Fellowship, Prof Scaife said: “This fellowship will allow me to focus my research on the AI challenges facing data intensive research fields. These challenges are not only related to the volume of data we need to handle, but also to ensuring the unbiased veracity of scientific results.”

She continued: “Allowing for new discoveries and identifying novel signals that don’t fit a known pattern is part of scientific discovery, and we must be careful not to lose the capacity for discovery when automating AI on this scale.”

Previously, Prof Scaife has been the lead investigator on a number of international research projects, such as the Magnetism Key Science Project for the LOFAR radio telescope array in the Netherlands. She was part of a team that identified radio emission from nanodiamonds in three infant star systems, and is co-leading the design of the European computing centre for the SKA telescope. Earlier this year, Prof Scaife was awarded the Jackson-Gwilt Medal by the Royal Astronomical Society.

The Turing AI Fellowships are a joint scheme between the Office for Artificial Intelligence, The Alan Turing Institute and UK Research and Innovation. Fellows are drawn from a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds, with a focus on tackling research challenges using artificial intelligence.

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