We are a research group at UCL’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence.

Our research expertise includes:

- data-efficient machine learning and probabilistic modeling
- autonomous decision making and recommender systems
- responsible AI and AI safety

We also work on applications related to social/environmental sustainability, climate and nuclear fusion.

If you are interested in joining the team, please check out our openings.

Iterative State Estimation in Non-linear Dynamical Systems Using Approximate Expectation Propagation

State estimation in nonlinear systems is difficult due to the non-Gaussianity of posterior state distributions. For linear systems, an exact solution is attained by running the Kalman filter/smoother. However for nonlinear systems, one typically relies on either crude Gaussian approximations by linearising the system (e.

Predicting plasma evolution within a Tokamak reactor is crucial to realizing the goal of sustainable fusion. Capabilities in forecasting the spatio-temporal evolution of plasma rapidly and accurately allow us to quickly iterate over design and control strategies on current Tokamak devices and future reactors. Modelling plasma evolution using numerical solvers is often expensive, consuming many hours on supercomputers, and hence, we need alternative inexpensive surrogate models. We demonstrate accurate predictions of plasma evolution both in simulation and experimental domains using deep learning-based surrogate modelling tools, viz., Fourier Neural Operators (FNO). We show that FNO has a speedup of six orders of magnitude over traditional solvers in predicting the plasma dynamics simulated from magnetohydrodynamic models, while maintaining a high accuracy (MSE in the normalised domain $≈$ $10^-5$). Our modified version of the FNO is capable of solving multi-variable Partial Differential Equations (PDE), and can capture the dependence among the different variables in a single model. FNOs can also predict plasma evolution on real-world experimental data observed by the cameras positioned within the MAST Tokamak, i.e., cameras looking across the central solenoid and the divertor in the Tokamak. We show that FNOs are able to accurately forecast the evolution of plasma and have the potential to be deployed for real-time monitoring. We also illustrate their capability in forecasting the plasma shape, the locations of interactions of the plasma with the central solenoid and the divertor for the full (available) duration of the plasma shot within MAST. The FNO offers a viable alternative for surrogate modelling as it is quick to train and infer, and requires fewer data points, while being able to do zero-shot super-resolution and getting high-fidelity solutions.

Gaussian processes (GPs) can provide a principled approach to uncertainty quantification with easy-to-interpret kernel hyperparameters, such as the lengthscale, which controls the correlation distance of function values. However, selecting an appropriate kernel can be challenging. Deep GPs avoid manual kernel engineering by successively parameterizing kernels with GP layers, allowing them to learn low-dimensional embeddings of the inputs that explain the output data. Following the architecture of deep neural networks, the most common deep GPs warp the input space layer-by-layer but lose all the interpretability of shallow GPs. An alternative construction is to successively parameterize the lengthscale of a kernel, improving the interpretability but ultimately giving away the notion of learning lower-dimensional embeddings. Unfortunately, both methods are susceptible to particular pathologies which may hinder fitting and limit their interpretability. This work proposes a novel synthesis of both previous approaches: Thin and Deep GP (TDGP). Each TDGP layer defines locally linear transformations of the original input data maintaining the concept of latent embeddings while also retaining the interpretation of lengthscales of a kernel. Moreover, unlike the prior solutions, TDGP induces non-pathological manifolds that admit learning lower-dimensional representations. We show with theoretical and experimental results that i) TDGP is, unlike previous models, tailored to specifically discover lower-dimensional manifolds in the input data, ii) TDGP behaves well when increasing the number of layers, and iii) TDGP performs well in standard benchmark datasets.