Posted on 16/05/2017
A report just published by The Royal Society highlights the importance of Machine Learning for society and the economy, from healthcare to transport, to public services:
"Many people now interact with systems based on machine learning every day, for example in image recognition systems, such as those used on social media; voice recognition systems, used by virtual personal assistants; and recommender systems, such as those used by online retailers.
As the field develops further, machine learning shows promise of supporting potentially transformative advances in a range of areas, and the social and economic opportunities which follow are significant."
The report highlights the fact that the UK has a strong history of leadership in machine learning. At Royal Holloway, we are proud to be the home of one of the first centres dedicated to machine learning research, which hosts or has hosted some of the earliest thinkers in the field and trained generations of researchers who went on to create centres in other universities or to join leading companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft.
One of the several recommendations issued in the report address the skills gap:
"In the short term, the most effective mechanism to support a strong pipeline of practitioners in machine learning is likely to be government support for advanced courses – namely masters degrees – which those working across a range of sectors could use to pick up machine learning skills at a high level."
Here again Royal Holloway was a pioneer when, in 2013, it launched one of the first master programmes that is entirely dedicated to machine learning. Starting this year, this programme will be available in part-time day-release mode, which is the preferred mode of studying for those on a full-time job.