The Automatic Computer Scientist (AutoCS) is an EPSRC-funded fellowship (EP/V040340/1) awarded to Andrew Cropper at the University of Oxford. It runs from September 2021 to August 2026. The aim is to accelerate algorithm discovery by building an AutoCS.
Building machines that automatically write computer programs is a long-standing grand challenge in AI. Such a development would offer the potential to build bug-free and efficient programs without required specialist knowledge.
To work towards this grand challenge, this project will build on major recent breakthroughs in Inductive Logic Programming (ILP), a form of machine learning based on mathematical logic. Because of these breakthroughs, ILP currently has the ability of a first-year computer science student: given much guidance, it can learn simple algorithms and build small programs. This project aims to advance ILP to the level of a computer science PhD student so that given little guidance it can discover novel and complex algorithms and build large programs.
As a marker of success, a key objective is to use an AutoCS to discover a novel algorithm and publish it in a computer science journal. Such a result would be a landmark achievement for AI and would herald a new era of automatic scientific discovery.
We will recruit multiple postdocs in 2022 and 2023 to work on this project. If interested, please see the join page.