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A virtual cocktail of science

Date: Thursday, July 16, 2020

While the shockwave effects of the coronavirus continue to be felt, Weizmann UK is not currently hosting its usual programme of face to face events. However, it is taking advantage of modern technology to host a new series of events on YouTube Live – A Virtual Cocktail of Science.

Making Connections is Weizmann UK's flagship programme, bringing together scientists from the UK and Israel by providing funding for joint research collaborations. Two of this year's Making Connections grant recipients from the Weizmann Institute spoke along with their UK partners at the committee’s first Virtual Cocktail of Science, on 11 June.


Both of the featured projects had an appropriately virtual theme, exploring questions around the role that artificial intelligence is increasingly playing in our lives. The evening was introduced by Sheridan Gould, Executive Director of Weizmann UK, and moderated by Prof. Benny Chain from UCL and Trustee of Weizmann UK. You can watch the full Virtual Cocktail of Science video on Weizmann UK’s YouTube channel.

Can we trust decisions made by an algorithm?

Prof. Yonina Eldar, Weizmann Institute of Science, and Prof. Miguel Rodrigues, UCL


We hear so much these days about algorithms and in particular the way in which machine learning depends on large amounts of data to allow computers to make decisions. But how do we know if an algorithm has made the correct decision and are there other factors that the machine is not taking into account?


Prof. Yonina Eldar from the Weizmann Institute and Prof. Miguel Rodrigues from UCL are jointly exploring questions around how we can be certain that the computer has “got it right”. They are also looking at whether machines are capable of making accurate decisions using much smaller data sets in fields such as medicine or autonomous vehicles where Big Data may not be available.

How can artificial intelligence help personalize science education?

Dr. Giora Alexandron, Weizmann Institute of Science, and Prof. Alexandra Cristea, University of Durham


In recent years there has been an explosion in the amount of educational content available online, but finding ways to sift for quality and to personalise this material to a particular student's needs remains a challenge. Dr. Giora Alexandron from the Weizmann Institute and Prof. Alexandra Cristea from the University of Durham are collaborating to address this challenge. They are proposing to crowdsource the technical information needed directly from teachers and learners to be able to personalise content and are using novel tools such as video game learning to enable them to gather the data needed.