Neil Lawrence

# Professor Neil Lawrence

 Collaborative Chair in Neuro- and Computer Science Department of Computer Science Regent Court 211 Portobello University of Sheffield Sheffield S1 4DP and The Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience 385A Glossop Road Sheffield S10 2HQ Phone: +44 114 xxx xxxx Fax:     +44 114 222 2290 email: N.Lawrence@dcs.sheffield.ac.uk

## News

I'm Tutorials Chair for NIPS 2013.

## Welcome

In Computer Science I lead the Machine Learning Research Group. My research interests are in probabilistic models.

## Teaching

This year I'm teaching Machine Learning and Adaptive Intelligence (COM6509 and COM4509) module and I'm also the staff contact for COM3310 taught by Malcolm Beattie. For information (via Tony Cowling who was staff contact last year) on COM3310 see here.

## Research Group

### Research Fellows

Teo de Campos ( Synergy Project, with Magnus Rattray)
Nicholas Durrande ( BioPreDyn Project, with Magnus Rattray)
James Hensman (Iterative Project, with Magnus Rattray)
Ciira Maina (Synergy Project, with Magnus Rattray)

### Quotes

discipulus est prioris posterior credulitatis

-Neil Lawrence 2013 (modified, probably incorrectly, from Publilius Syrus c 50 BC)

They say that Understanding ought to work by the rules of right reason. These rules are, or ought to be, contained in Logic; but the actual science of Logic is conversant at present only with things either certain, impossible, or entirely doubtful, none of which (fortunately) we have to reason on. Therefore the true Logic for this world is the Calculus of Probabilities, which takes account of the magnitude of the probability (which is, or which ought to be in a reasonable man's mind). This branch of Math., which is generally thought to favour gambling, dicing, and wagering, and therefore highly immoral, is the only ‘Mathematics for Practical Men’, as we ought to be.

—James Clerk Maxwell in a letter to Lewis Campbell, circa July 1850

pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate

-William of Ockham

The law that entropy always increases, holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell's equations — then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation — well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.

—Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927)

## Old News

### Inaugural Lecture

My inaugural lecture was on 6th September 2012 at 17:15 in St George's Church Lecture Theatre at the University of Sheffield. The title is ‘Life the Universe and Machine Learning’. More details and an abstract can be found here.

### Machine Learning as Engine Design

A blog post on Machine Learning as Engine Design as a response to Kiri Wagstaff's ICML paper.

### CVPR 2012 GP Tutorial

With Raquel Urtasun I presented a Short Course on Gaussian Processes at CVPR in Providence.

### Review of Our Edited Book

A review of the volume on "Learning and Inference in Computational Systems Biology" (edited with Mark Girolami, Magnus Rattrayand Guido Sanguinetti) has been published by Ernst Wit in Biometrics. A further review has been published by Terence Speed in The Quarterly Review of Biology (not open access unfortunately).

### Computer Science

A blog post containing personal thoughts on machine learning and Computer Science degrees.

### MLSS 2012

I'll be giving three lectures at the Machine Learning Summer School in La Palma. The details of the lectures are available here.

### AISTATS 2012

Along with Mark Girolami, I'm one of the programme chairs for AISTATS 2012. Bernhard Schölkopf is the general chair and Fernando Pérez-Cruz is handling local arrangements.

If you are interested in integrating MATLAB or Octave code into LaTeX, then you might be interested in MATweave. This is a solution for keeping the code you used to create your figures in your LaTeX file.

We've just appointed two post-doctoral research positions associated with our new group in Sheffield.

From 1st August 2010 I will be taking up a new position as a collaborative Chair between the departments of Neuroscience and Computer Science at the University of Sheffield. I will be based in the Sheffield Institute of Translational Neuroscience. I will be joined there by my colleague Magnus Rattray. We will co-lead research groups in machine learning and computational biology.

## Book

An edited volume on "Learning and Inference in Computational Systems Biology" is out with MIT Press. I edited it with Mark Girolami, Magnus Rattray and Guido Sanguinetti. on Learning in Computational and Systems Biology. It originally emerged from our PASCAL Thematic Programme and the follow on workshops. The MIT Press site is here.

## Teaching 2011-12

In Autumn 2011 with Trevor Cohn I taught the Machine Learning and Adaptive Intelligence (COM6509 and COM4509) module and the Introduction to Bioengineering Module (FCE101). See also my Lecture Notes (campus only) page for more details.

## AISTATS 2010 in Europe!

For the first time the AISTATS conference was held in Europe. It took place in Sardinia from May 13th-15th 2010. Further European AISTATS are planned for 2012, 2014 etc.. I was General Chair for the meeting and Yee Whye Teh and Mike Titterington were the Program Chairs.

## Interspeech 2009 Tutorial

For details of an Interspeech tutorial on probabilistic dimensionality reduction see here.

## PhD Projects

If you are interested in doing a PhD in Machine Learning you can apply to our research group.

I have a number of PhD projects available:

## Book

I had the pleasure of co-editing a volume on dataset shift with Joaquin Quiñonero Candela, Masashi Sugiyama and Anton Schwaighofer. You can find more details on it here.

## ICML 2008 Tutorial

For details of an ICML tutorial on probabilistic dimensionality reduction see here.

## Thematic Programmes

With Marc Dymetman I organised the first Thematic Programme for the European FP7 Network of Excellence PASCAL II on Leveraging Complex Prior Knowledge for Learning.

With Mark Girolami, Magnus Rattray and Guido Sanguinetti I co-organised a thematic programme for the European FP6 Network of Excellence PASCAL on Learning in Computational and Systems Biology.

## Workshops

With Mauricio Alvarez I organized a Statistics and Machine Learning Interface Meeting.

With Joaquin Quiñonero Candela I organised the Bayesian Research Kitchen.

I helped out Cédric Archambeau, Ian Roulstone, John Shawe-Taylor and Andrew Stuart in organising Approximate Inference in Stochastic Processes and Dynamical Systems.

I helped out Tony Dodd and Rob Harrison in organising a 'Winter School' in Data Modelling.

I helped out Matthias Seeger, David Barber and Onno Zoeter in organising a NIPS workshop on "Approximate Bayesian Inference in Continuous/Hybrid Systems".

The Parameter Estimation in Systems Biology PASCAL workshop was co-organised by myself and Magnus Rattray. It was held in Manchester on the 28-29th March 2007.

I helped out Joaquin Quiñonero Candela, Masashi Sugiyama and Anton Schwaighofer in organising a NIPS workshop on "Learning when Test and Training Inputs Have Different Distributions". See the associated book from MIT Press.

I co-organised the Gaussian Processes in Practice workshop with Joaquin Quiñonero Candela and Anton Schwaighofer.

## Editing

I started the JMLR Workshop and Conference Proceedings series and I'm currently the series editor.

I'm an Associate Editor-in-Chief for IEEE TPAMI.

I'm an associate editor for JMLR.

## Former PhD Students

Alfredo Kalaitzis (viva 3/5/13: now Post-doctoral researcher at UCL with Riccardo Silva, thesis)
Mauricio Álvarez (viva 4/5/11: now Associate Professor at Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira, Colombia, thesis)
Chris Penfold. (viva 27/11/09 with Alastair Goldman): Now at Warwick.
Carl Henrik Ek (viva 25th August 2009 with Phil Torr): Went to Berkeley and now KTH.
Nathaniel King (viva 21/11/2007): Now at IBM.
Yasser Abdel-Haleem (with Steve Renals): Now at IBM.
Tonatiuh Pena Centeno: Now a postdoc at Greifswald.