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  • AI: A panel discussion on current practical use cases (as opposed to hype)

Hosted by BCS Manchester branch.


  • Sunil Vadera
  • Martin Fergie
  • Matthew Shardlow


Free to attend and open to BCS members and non-members

6:00pm – Start time
Presentations and discussions
8:00pm - End time


By hosting the AI safety summit in Bletchley Park at the beginning of November, the UK government department for science, innovation and technology is leading the way with discussions on frontier AI. The current consensus, including from those directly involved in building AI systems, appears to be that predicting the direction of evolution is very challenging.

Irrespective of whether you regard AI as hope or horror, come and join our discussion with a panel of local experts who have been, over many years, involved in and/or influenced the design and evolution of a variety of functioning AI systems.

About the speakers

Sunil Vadera:

Is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Salford. His research is driven by the desire to close the gap between theory and practice in AI, something he has been doing for over two decades. He led the University of Salford’s contribution to the GM AI Foundry which supported over 45 SMEs interested in using AI for developing innovative applications. Examples of his research include: an EU funded project on Self-Learning Energy Efficient Buildings and Open Spaces; Developing new models for real time sensor validation of gas turbines with the Mexican Instituto de Electricas; Development of and Energy consumption profiles from smart meters data from over 40,000 households for British Gas.

His most recent interests are in reducing the size of deep learning models and fairness in AI. He has led a number of projects as a Principal Investigator and served in many leadership roles that require management of collaborative, multi-disciplinary teams consisting of academics, users and practitioners. His research has been published in outlets such as the ACM Transactions on Knowledge Discovery from Data, ACM Computing Surveys, Journal of the Operational Research Society, Computer Journal, IEEE Access and IEEE Transactions of Power Systems.

Martin Fergie:

Martin Fergie is a computer science researcher at the University of Manchester in the Division of Informatics, Imaging and Data Sciences. After completing his PhD in 2012, he became the Chief Technology Officer of DigitalBridge, a start-up applying deep learning technology for performing image understanding for indoor scenes.

In March 2017 he moved to the University of Manchester to apply his experience in machine learning and computer vision to help develop novel imaging biomarkers. His current research is focused on developing models for predicting breast cancer risk from screening mammograms.

Matthew Shardlow:

Dr. Matthew Shardlow is a senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University and is a member of the Centre for Advanced Computational Sciences. He completed his PhD at the University of Manchester in 2015 on the topic of lexical simplification. He has worked on the Horizon 2020 funded project: an Open Mining Infrastructure for Text and Data (OpenMinTeD), developing bespoke text mining infrastructures for the life sciences.

More recently, his work has focussed on the topics of lexical complexity prediction and lexical simplification, 2 topics for which he has organised successful shared tasks (Semeval 2021 Task 1, TSAR-2022 Shared Task). He has tackled numerous problems within the scope of lexical semantics, ranging from the prediction of emoji in tweets, to assessing the complexity of multi-word expressions. Dr. Shardlow is an expert on the large language model technology that underpins AI chatbots such as ChatGPT and others.

Recent work on this topic has included articles on the possibility of language model consciousness, contributing to the BCS's response to the UK Governments call for evidence on LLMs and developing policies for the usage of AI in HE settings in collaboration with a diverse range of collaborators from across UK universities.

Our events are for adults aged 16 years and over.

BCS is a membership organisation. If you enjoy this event, please consider joining BCS. You’ll be very welcome. You’ll receive access to many exclusive career development tools, an introduction to a thriving professional community and also help us Make IT Good For Society. Join BCS today

For overseas delegates who wish to attend the event, please note that BCS does not issue invitation letters.


BCS is following government guidelines and we would ask attendees to continue to also follow these guidelines. Please go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ for more information, advice, and instructions.

This event is brought to you by: BCS Manchester branch

AI: A panel discussion on current practical use cases (as opposed to hype)
Date and time
Tuesday 21 November, 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Manchester Metropolitan University
Chester Street
Jon Dalton Building, Room E005
M1 5GD
This event is sold out