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Guided Project: Interaction with Machine Learning

Professor Alan Blackwell (Computer Science and Technology), Advait Sarkar (Microsoft Research) and Dr Anne Alexander (Director of Learning, Cambridge Digital Humanities)

Call for applications now open

This Guided Project aims to provide humanities, arts and social science researchers with an overview of current theory and practice in the design of human-computer interaction in the age of AI and equip the participants with analytical tools necessary for a critical investigation of contemporary design with AI/ML. Looking closely at interactions between humans and emerging AI systems, participants will also explore the potential for interaction between humanities scholars and computer scientists in the process of development and assessment of new solutions. The aim of the course is to allow researchers without a Computer Science background to explore how key challenges in AI design are being addressed within the field of interaction design, as well as identify areas in which humanities methodologies and approaches could be adopted to improve the production process, by making it more fair, critical, and socially-aware.

 

There are two key components in the Interaction with Machine Learning course. 

  • An online Methods Workshop which is open to University of Cambridge graduate students and staff taking place over two sessions on 11 and 14 October 2021. Up to 30 spaces are available for this Methods Workshop which can be booked as a standalone session without progressing to the next stage of the course. 
  • A Guided Project consisting of lectures and practical research design sessions in Interaction with Machine Learning taught by Professor Alan Blackwell and Advait Sarkar (Microsoft Research) as part of an optional course for Part III and MPhil Computer Science students. In line with current University policy these sessions are being planned for in-person delivery, however, this may change as a result of the pandemic. CDH-registered participants in the IWML lecture series will have the option of working jointly on a group project to be presented for discussion in the final course session. This will involve additional ad-hoc online meetings in between lecture sessions (around 4 hours in total, with times to be arranged among the participants). 

 

Access to the Guided Project is by application only and priority will be given to participants who have attended the Methods Workshop, or who can demonstrate an equivalent level of prior engagement with the content of the course. Spaces are limited to 15 participants.   

Please note: no prior practical experience or knowledge of programming is required to take part in the course, however some awareness of how AI systems work will be beneficial.

Time commitment: 

  • Methods Workshop: 2 x 1.5 hour online sessions on 11 and 14 October with optional self-paced practical work in between (approx 1-2 hours).  
  • Guided Project: 8 weekly lectures followed by research design sessions led by Professor Alan Blackwell (Computer Science and Technology) and Advait Sarkar (Microsoft Research). Weekly from 25 January, 2-4pm 

Timetable for applications for Lent Term

  • 14 October applications open
  • 15 November applications close
  • All participants will be notified by 1 December 

 Indicative lecture topics 

  • Current research themes in intelligent user interfaces 
  • Program synthesis 
  • Mixed initiative interaction 
  • Interpretability / explainable AI 
  • Labelling as a fundamental problem 
  • Machine learning risks and bias 
  • Visualisation and visual analytics 
  • Research presentations by Computer Science Students 

Exact topics are subject to change and will be confirmed closer to the date of the course. 

Objectives

By the end of the course participants should:

  • have an overview of current state of the art in intelligent interactive systems
  • understand the human factors that are most critical in the design of such systems
  • be able to evaluate evidence for and against the utility of novel systems
  • be able to apply critical methodologies to current interaction design practices
  • understand the interplay between ML/AI research and humanities approaches  

Eligibility 

This course is open to graduate students and staff at the University of Cambridge. Priority for the Guided Project in Lent Term will be given to applicants from humanities, arts and social sciences disciplines. Early career researchers are particularly encouraged to apply. 

Timetable for applications for Lent Term

  • 14 October applications open
  • 15 November applications close
  • All participants will be notified by 1 December

 This course is offered in collaboration with the Department of Computer Science and Technology.

Date: 
Tuesday, 25 January, 2022 - 14:00
Event location: 
In-person and online - venue tbc