Symbolic AI Research and Industry: A Personal Journey
In this talk, I will show how my master's and PhD led to applied symbolic AI collaborations with Industry. I will focus on Connect-R. Connect-R is a £6M project funded by Innovate UK and industry and focuses on developing a multi-robot system that self-assembles into a stable structure in a target environment so that other robots can traverse the structure to reach specific points efficiently. Target domains are nuclear plants, oil and gas facilities and other extreme environments. In this project, I co-developed the planning algorithms (PI is Prof. Bernardini's) behind the self-assembling behaviour of the robotic units that compose the structure and also the path-finding algorithm for the MTB robots which traverse the structure. The Connect-R team also includes Barrnon Ltd, Ross Robotics, Tharsus, Jigsaw Structures, the UK Atomic Energy Authority and the University of Edinburgh.
I will also review the planning competitions I participated at. Furthermore, I will discuss the SimplifAI project, where I co-developed symbolic AI algorithms used to optimize Urban Traffic Control problems. This was another Innovate UK grant, the project is supported by industrial partners BT, Infohub and KAM Futures, with technical/academic expertise from The University of Huddersfield, including myself. The end customer is Transport for Greater Manchester.
The last project I will comment on is SMaILE (Simple Methods for AI Learning and Education), a £1m project funded by Compagnia di San Paolo (Italy). The goal of the SMaILE project is to make AI concepts accessible to a wide spectrum of young adults and children and empower them to understand AI in-depth as well as to create AI technology. This project is a collaboration between RHUL, Politecnico di Torino and the University of Turin. My role is the creation of the AI Backend for the SMaILEApp (PI is Prof. Bernardini), an interactive app to learn AI and unleash creativity.
I will also discuss some of the recent successes in AI and how you could be part of them.