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The scholarship

The scholarship is in memory of Alvin (Shen). The first awards (for September 2022) have just been made to two postgraduate students on Imperial College's new MRES in Machine Learning and Big Data in the Physical Sciences - the course reflects Alvin's academic and real- world scientific interests. Each student will receive £7,500 towards their tuition fees and we hope to provide some information here on the website in the next few weeks.
We are now raising funds for the September 2024 awards. We have to raise 50% by December after which the university will advertise the scholarships for the following year. ​Donations go into a dedicated fund within Imperial College. All funds are governed and administered in accordance with UK charity law and regulations.​
Thanks for your support - Joe, Molly, and Althea
The MRES course reflects Alvin's academic and real-world scientific interests.
The fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning have seen tremendous progress in the past few years, followed by an exponential increase in the investments and creation of new jobs. Today we have conversations with AI bots, our phones can recognise objects and people in our photos, and our cars drive by themselves. This progress has been driven mostly by the growth in data, computing resources and, to a smaller extent, new theoretical ideas. A large number of machine learning algorithms show excellent performance, but they are neither very robust nor predictable. More theoretical work is necessary to understand those algorithms, improve them and allow further progress.
Machine learning researchers have usually a background in information engineering, computer science and statistics/math. The contribution of theoretical physicists is still negligible, but we think that a field growing at such a fast pace would benefit from interdisciplinary work. This effort is necessary not only to stimulate research at the academic level, but also to meet the increasing demand of companies for diverse expertise. We believe that theoretical physicists have a lot to offer to machine learning given their knowledge of advanced applied techniques such as statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, dynamical systems, stochastic processes. They have also a lot to gain, in terms of new jobs and novel problems to study.
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