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The Alan Turing Institute is the United Kingdom's national institute for data science and artificial intelligence, founded in 2015. It is named after Alan Turing, the British mathematician and computing pioneer.
The Alan Turing Institute is an independent private-sector legal entity, operating not-for-profit and as a charity. It is a joint venture among the University of Cambridge, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Oxford, University College London (UCL) and the University of Warwick, selected on the basis of international peer review. In 2018, the institute was joined by eight additional university partners: Queen Mary University of London, University of Leeds, University of Manchester, University of Newcastle, University of Southampton, University of Birmingham, University of Exeter and University of Bristol. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the primary funder of the institute, is also a member of the joint venture. The primary responsibility for establishing the Alan Turing Institute has been assigned to the EPSRC, with continuing engagement in the shaping of the Institute from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Government Office for Science. The Chair of the Alan Turing Institute, appointed in June 2015, is Howard Covington; the Institute Director and Chief Executive, appointed in 2018, is Sir Adrian Smith.
Concurrently with the selection of founder universities, the EPSRC initiated a process to find a "location partner". The selected location is the British Library in London. This was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 4 December 2014 as a key part of the Knowledge Quarter. The Alan Turing Institute is housed within the current British Library building and it is anticipated it will occupy new premises in a development planned on land between the Francis Crick Institute and the British Library.
The Alan Turing Institute is the indirect product of a letter from the Council for Science and Technology (CST) to the UK Prime Minister (7 June 2013), describing the "Age of Algorithms". The letter presents a case that "The Government, working with the universities and industry, should create a National Centre to promote advanced research and translational work in algorithms and the application of data science".
Funding for the creation of the Institute came from a £600m investment for the "8 Great Technologies", and specifically so-called "big data", signalled by the UK Government in 2013 and announced by George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the 2014 budget. The bulk of the investment in "big data" has been directed to computational infrastructure. Of the remainder, £42m has been allocated to the Institute to cover the initial five-year period of its operation. The five founder universities have each contributed £5m to the Institute. Additional funding from industry, foundations and government bodies has already been indicated.
The Alan Turing Institute fits into a complex organisational landscape that includes the Open Data Institute, the Digital Catapult and infrastructure investments. The specific role of the Institute will be to provide the expertise and fundamental research into data science and artificial intelligence needed to solve real-world problems.