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Fellowship to deliver world-class Artificial Intelligence research

Artificial intelligence concept

A Photonics researcher at the University of Strathclyde has received a prestigious fellowship to support his development of ultra-fast Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies for medicine, security and renewable energy.

Dr Antonio Hurtado, Senior Lecturer at Strathclyde’s Institute of Photonics, is one of 15 recipients of Turing AI Acceleration Fellowships, supported by a £20million government investment and delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to lead innovative and creative AI research with transformative impact.

Dr Hurtado aims to develop ultrafast yet energy efficient AI systems using photonic devices which operate through low-energy light signals, such as the semiconductor lasers that can be found in mobile phones and supermarket barcode scanners.

Dr Hurtado said: “In today’s world, the ability to process vast amounts of data fast and efficiently is crucial in sectors such as energy, healthcare and finance. AI systems are key tools to make sense of huge volumes of data but consume very high levels of energy and increasingly contribute to global greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr Antonio Hurtado

“Operating in a similar way to the biological neurons that process information in the brain, the new photonic devices will be able to process data at high speeds while reducing energy consumption, helping the UK to meet its net zero carbon ambitions by 2050. The new technology’s potential capability to perform complex computational tasks at ultrafast speed could see it used across a range of sectors – from meteorology forecasting to processing images at very fast rates for medical diagnostics.”

The Turing AI Acceleration Fellowships, named after AI pioneer Alan Turing, will accelerate and support the careers of a diverse cadre of the best and brightest AI researchers, enabling them to become world-leading researchers in the five years of the award. This will sustain and strengthen the UK’s leading international position in AI.

The fellowships will increase collaboration between academia and industry, with each fellow bringing together a wide range of partners on their projects to accelerate the impact of their transformative AI technologies. Partners have already committed to cash and in-kind contributions in excess of £10million.

UK Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “The UK is the birthplace of artificial intelligence and we have a duty to arm the next generation of Alan Turings with the tools that will keep the UK at the forefront of this remarkable technological innovation.

“The inspirational fellows we are backing today will use AI to tackle some of our greatest challenges head on, transforming how people live, work and communicate, cementing the UK’s status as a world leader in AI and data.”

UK Digital Minister Caroline Dinenage said: "The UK is a nation of innovators and this government investment will help our talented academics use cutting-edge technology to improve people's daily lives - from delivering better disease diagnosis to managing our energy needs."

EPSRC Executive Chair Professor Dame Lynn Gladden said: “The Turing AI Acceleration Fellowships will support some of our leading researchers to progress their careers and develop ground-breaking AI technologies with societal impact.

“By enhancing collaboration between academia and industry and accelerating these transformative technologies these Fellowships will help to maintain and build on the UK’s position as a world leader in AI.”