Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Professor Marta Kwiatkowska from the Department of Computer Science discusses her research specialism in developing modelling and analysis methods for complex systems in an interview for the University's Science Blog. This work includes those arising in computational networks (which are applicable to autonomous technology), electronic devices and biological organisms.

Molecular structure model

Are there any AI research developments that excite you or that you are particularly interested in?

Robotics, including autonomous vehicles, and the potential of neural networks, such as autonomous vehicles, image and speech recognition technology. For example, developments like the Amazon Alexa-controlled Echo speaker have inspired me to work on techniques to support the design and specifically safety assurance and social trust, of such systems.

What can be done to encourage more women in AI?

I think women should have the same opportunities as men and we should raise awareness of these opportunities, through networking, female role models and the media. AI is embedded in all aspects of our lives and we need all sections of society to contribute to the design and utilisation of AI systems in equal measure, and this includes women as well as men.

What research projects are you currently working on?

I am following several strands of work of relevance for autonomous systems, mobile devices and AI, including developing formal safety guarantees for software based on neural networks, such as those applied in autonomous vehicles. This involves formalising and evaluating the social trust between humans and robots. A social trust model is based on the human notion of trust, which is subjective. To make the model applicable to technology you have to develop 'correct by construction' techniques and tools for safe, efficient and predictable mobile autonomous robots. That means building personalised tools for monitoring and the regulation of affective behaviours through wearable devices.

Professor Marta Kwiatkowska
Professor Marta Kwiatkowska

In your opinion what are the biggest challenges facing the field?

Technological developments present my field with tremendous opportunities, but the speed of progress creates challenges around formal verification and synthesis - particularly the complexity of the systems to be modelled. We therefore need to develop techniques that can be accurate at scale, deal with adaptive behaviour and produce effective results quickly.

What motivates you in your field?

I like working on mathematical foundations and gaining new insight from that, but my main motivation is to make the theoretical work applied through developing algorithms and software tools: I refer to this as a "theory to practice" transfer of the techniques.

What research are you most proud of?

I was involved in the development of a software tool called PRISM (www.prismmodelchecker.org) , which is a probabilistic model checker. It is widely used for research and teaching and has been downloaded 65,000 times.

Who inspires you?

I have been inspired by several leading academics in my career, but one particular female scientist and my fellow countrywoman has been a role model and an inspiration for me throughout, Maria Sklodowska-Curie, because she combined a successful career with family.

Learn more about Professor Kwiatkowska’s research.

Story courtesy of the University of Oxford Science Blog

Similar stories

Discovery of new nanowire assembly process could enable more powerful computer chips

Researchers from Oxford University’s Department of Materials have developed a technique to precisely manipulate and place nanowires with sub-micron accuracy. This discovery could accelerate the development of even smaller and more powerful computer chips.

Students take up Black Academic Futures Scholarships thanks to support from 'activist investor’

A DPhil candidate in the Department of Materials is amongst three 2022-entry Scholars to embark on postgraduate studies with support from the Black Academic Futures programme, with a fourth Scholar due to join in 2023/24.

Night-time blood pressure assessment important in diagnosing hypertension

A new study involving Oxford's Department of Engineering Science has found that monitoring night-time blood pressure is important in preventing cardiovascular disease such as stroke or heart failure.

Professor David Deutsch awarded Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

Professor David Deutsch has today been named as one of four internationally pioneering physicists to receive the 2023 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for his work on quantum information, while Professor James Maynard has received one of six New Horizons in Mathematics Prizes.

Two MPLS Professors elected as Royal Academy of Engineering Fellows

Professors Niki Trigoni and David Hills are among 72 leading figures in engineering and technology to be elected as Fellows of The Royal Academy of Engineering this week.

Decarbonising the energy system by 2050 could save trillions

The new study shows that a fast transition to clean energy is cheaper than slow or no transition. It was conducted by a team at the Institute for New Economic Thinking, Oxford Martin School, led by Professor Doyne Farmer of the Mathematical Institute.