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The Alan Turing Institute at Future Cities Forum's 'Innovation Cities'


Above: Professor Mark Birkin of the University of Leeds and The Alan Turing Institute (Photo courtesy University of Leeds)



Future Cities Forum is delighted that Mark Birkin, from the Alan Turing Institute will be joining our 'Innovation Cities' event at Here East this September. Mark is also Professor of Spatial Analysis and Policy in the School of Geography, University of Leeds.


The Alan Turing Institute, headquartered in the British Library, London, was created as the national institute for data science in 2015. In 2017, as a result of a government recommendation, it added artificial intelligence to its remit.  The Institute is named in honour of Alan Turing (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954), whose pioneering work in theoretical and applied mathematics, engineering and computing are considered to be the key disciplines comprising the fields of data science and artificial intelligence.


Mark will be talking about how data can be used to map cities and to show changes in land use. He has longstanding interests in mathematical modelling of urban and regional systems including geodemographics, microsimulation, agent-based modelling, and spatial decision-support systems. Mark has a notable track record of collaboration, including ten years as an executive director of Geographical Modelling and Planning (GMAP) Limited.


In this time, GMAP developed from occasional consulting projects into a market analytics business with 120 employees and global reach, working with household name partners such as Ford Motor Company, Asda-Walmart, Exxon-Mobil and GSK. An ethos of collaboration with external partners in business and the public sector continues in his current role as Director of the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC), a national investment within the ESRC Big Data Network. He is also PI for the ESRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Analytics which will coordinate sixty postgraduate research projects in tandem with external partners.

Since 2014, Mark has been Director of the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA). Having started as a partnership between CDRC and the MRC Medical Bioinformatics, LIDA now supports 40 projects and programmes with more than £50M of funded research, bringing together over 200 researchers from across all eight faculties at the University. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

The ambition of the CDRC is to create scientific insights on all aspects of society which are richly informed by the preferences and behaviour which are revealed in everyday patterns of consumption. This research is informed through partnership and engagement with more than 150 external organisations. Mark’s personal research interests include geodemographic profiling for neighbourhoods, microsimulation of individual behaviour patterns, and decision-support systems for retail and business organisations.

LIDA’s Integrated Research Campus provides tools for data management and analytics within a secure and accredited environment. This infrastructure supports more than £50M of funded research projects involving all eight faculties of the University, including National Centres for Consumer Data Research and Medical Bioinformatics.

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