UCL Engineering students learn state-of-the-art AI in DeepMind partnership

20 January 2017

DeepMind is known internationally as a leader in an area of computer science called machine learning.  Now senior DeepMind staff are joining forces with UCL’s Department of Computer Science to share their knowledge by delivering a state-of-the-art Master’s level training module called ‘Advanced Topics in Machine Learning

This new module will provide a key component of UCL’s Machine Learning Master’s programmes and will cover some of the most sophisticated topics in artificial intelligence.  The first of these lectures will take place in January 2017.

The course focuses on deep learning and reinforcement learning, and will be led by DeepMind’s Thore Graepel, who also holds a UCL professorship. Other guest lecturers will include leading researchers in machine learning, spanning areas such as deep learning, reinforcement learning, natural language understanding and others. Hado van Hasselt, Joseph Modayil, Koray Kavukcuoglu, Raia Hadsell, James Martens, Oriol Vinyals, Simon Osindero and Karen Simonyan will be joined by Volodymyr Mnih, David Silver and Alex Graves – who are also some of the first authors of DeepMind’s three Nature papers.

DeepMind pioneered research in this area, famously creating AlphaGo, a program that plays the ancient Chinese game of Go. In March 2016 AlphaGo made headlines across the world by defeating the best Go player of the decade, Lee Sedol, a feat considered to be at least 10 years away by many experts.

Professor John Shawe-Taylor, Head of UCL Computer Science, said:

“We are extremely excited about this new partnership.  The strength of computer science at UCL has been growing rapidly in recent years and now our Masters students will also benefit from superb training provided directly by DeepMind staff. This new partnership in state-of-the-art AI is an excellent example of research-led teaching, for which UCL is renowned.”

Demis Hassabis, CEO and co-founder of DeepMind said:

“DeepMind is proud to work closely with the academic community, supporting PhD students and university courses, sponsoring conferences, and publishing our research openly for others to learn from. We hope that this course will offer UCL students a unique opportunity to develop their understanding of deep learning and reinforcement learning at one of the best universities in the world, alongside members of DeepMind.”

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