Archive for ERC

Ocean’s four!

Posted in Books, pictures, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2022 by xi'an

Fantastic news! The ERC-Synergy¹ proposal we submitted last year with Michael Jordan, Éric Moulines, and Gareth Roberts has been selected by the ERC (which explains for the trips to Brussels last month). Its acronym is OCEAN [hence the whale pictured by a murmuration of starlings!], which stands for On intelligenCE And Networks​: Mathematical and Algorithmic Foundations for Multi-Agent Decision-Making​. Here is the abstract, which will presumably turn public today along with the official announcement from the ERC:

Until recently, most of the major advances in machine learning and decision making have focused on a centralized paradigm in which data are aggregated at a central location to train models and/or decide on actions. This paradigm faces serious flaws in many real-world cases. In particular, centralized learning risks exposing user privacy, makes inefficient use of communication resources, creates data processing bottlenecks, and may lead to concentration of economic and political power. It thus appears most timely to develop the theory and practice of a new form of machine learning that targets heterogeneous, massively decentralized networks, involving self-interested agents who expect to receive value (or rewards, incentive) for their participation in data exchanges.

OCEAN will develop statistical and algorithmic foundations for systems involving multiple incentive-driven learning and decision-making agents, including uncertainty quantification at the agent’s level. OCEAN will study the interaction of learning with market constraints (scarcity, fairness), connecting adaptive microeconomics and market-aware machine learning.

OCEAN builds on a decade of joint advances in stochastic optimization, probabilistic machine learning, statistical inference, Bayesian assessment of uncertainty, computation, game theory, and information science, with PIs having complementary and internationally recognized skills in these domains. OCEAN will shed a new light on the value and handling data in a competitive, potentially antagonistic, multi-agent environment, and develop new theories and methods to address these pressing challenges. OCEAN requires a fundamental departure from standard approaches and leads to major scientific interdisciplinary endeavors that will transform statistical learning in the long term while opening up exciting and novel areas of research.

Since the ERC support in this grant mostly goes to PhD and postdoctoral positions, watch out for calls in the coming months or contact us at any time.

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UK vs. Horizon Europe [episode 23]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2022 by xi'an

Just read in The Guardian that the UK Government or more exactly the PM hopeful Liz Truss  (since Boris Johnson has gone AWOL!) is starting a formal procedure against the EU for British scientists being excluded from Horizon Europe funding due to said Government renegading on its former signature of the Northern Ireland Protocol. (After the EU announced last June re-commencing its infringement proceedings against the UK.) Just stick to Science!

sunset on the horizon…

Posted in pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2022 by xi'an

“The window for association is closing fast, and we need to ensure that political issues do not get in the way of a sensible solution. We have always been very clear that association is the preferred outcome for protecting decades of collaborative research, and the benefits this has brought to people’s lives across the continent and beyond. Adrian Smith

As reported in the Guardian of today a terrible impact of BoJo’s Vote Leave Brexit the UK Government failing to implement the Northern Ireland protocol is that this threatens ERC funding for UK scientists, as the associate membership of Horizon Europe was part of the Brexit negociations, whose “deal”  has been delayed because of this. About a hundred new ERC grant recipients who are currently located in the UK have to either relocate to (eager) EU universities or to give up this most prestigious funding…

Stick to Science [week of action]

Posted in University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2022 by xi'an

total boycott [reposted from Nature]

Posted in Kids, University life with tags , , , , , , , on March 4, 2022 by xi'an

Ukrainian scientists are rallying to convince international organizations to take stronger action against Russia. More than 130 people have signed an open letter to the European Commission and member states of the European Union calling for an urgent suspension of all funding to, and international collaboration with, Russian institutions. “The European Union cannot provide funding to the institutions subordinated to Putin’s regime anymore if the EU acts based on the declared values pointed at EU Treaties,” it says.

The letter, initiated by Ukraine’s Council of Young Scientists, says that Russia must not be involved in EU programmes such as the flagship research programme Horizon Europe; the exchange scheme Erasmus+e; international collaborations such as the particle-physics research laboratory CERN near Geneva, Switzerland; and the international nuclear-fusion project ITER.

Some Ukrainian scientists say that although they appreciate the support of their Russian counterparts, the actions announced so far do not go far enough. In particular, Russian academic institutions have failed to condemn the aggression, says an open letter from the Academy of Sciences of the Higher School of Ukraine. Restrictions on Russian scientists must be all-encompassing, they say: “We urge that researchers with an affiliation of such institutions not be admitted to international grant teams, not be invited to international conferences, and not be published in leading international scientific journals.”

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