#UK Nokia Bell Labs and university launch new AI hothouse in Cambridge


A new generation of wearable and mobile devices powered by advanced AI is to be developed at a new hothouse in Cambridge created by the university in alliance with US-headquartered Nokia Bell Labs.

The new Centre for Mobile, Wearable Systems and Augmented Intelligence is based in Cambridge’s world-leading Department of Computer Science and Technology. 

The centre will advance state-of-the-art mobile systems, security, new materials, and artificial intelligence to address one of the main human needs – the ability to communicate better with each other.

The collaboration pairs two innovation powerhouses. Nokia Bell Labs in Cambridge conducts research on novel sensors based on emerging materials, embedded and network intelligence, and computational social science. 

The university’s Department of Computer Science and Technology is expert in analysing mobile data and systems research in real world applications with quantifiable impact.

The research jointly conducted in the new centre will redefine the way people interact with the digital and physical world. 

Areas of focus include precise, predictive and personalised medicine, digital, physical, mental, and social well-being, and sensory human communication experiences beyond visual and audio. 

The centre will be directed by Cecilia Mascolo, Professor of Mobile Systems, and Alastair Beresford, Reader in Computer Security.

Professor Mascolo said: “The new centre provides support for high-quality, long-term research into mobile, wearable and augmented intelligence systems in Cambridge. It will also engage with other researchers across the UK and abroad. We will formally launch the new centre with a research symposium later in the year, with researchers drawn from across the UK and beyond.”

Dr Beresford added: “Mobile systems have transformed our lives and evolved dramatically over the last 20 years. However, there are many big changes to come and our research will ensure we have the right technical solutions as well as appropriate safeguards available.”

The centre will be used to establish a vibrant research community and support Nokia Bell Labs PhD Studentships as well as postdoctoral researchers over the next five years. It will also support the wider research community with a range of events, workshops and seminars. The official opening and first academic research symposium will take place in September.

Markus Hofmann, head of Applications, Platforms and Software Systems Research at Nokia Bell Labs said: “We are very excited to participate in the creation of this new centre at Cambridge. 

“We look forward to solving the key technical challenges as we move towards our shared goal – to provide people with enhanced awareness of their world, to help them better sense and interpret their digital and physical environment, to enable the long-distance exchange of people’s emotions and perceptions, to augment and improve the human experience in a digitally connected world.”

Nokia Bell Labs has been collaborating with some of the world’s preeminent researchers at the University of Cambridge for decades in the areas of Computer Science and Engineering to develop breakthrough nanomaterials and Artificial Intelligence technologies.

Nokia Bell Labs – Finnish-owned but with its HQ in New Jersey – has also expanded its physical presence in a state of the art research lab located right in the heart of the West Campus of Cambridge University on JJ Thomson Avenue.

At this new lab it has three research departments and a total of 25 researchers who will support the new centre hosting and supervising numerous PhD and postdoctoral researchers on a range of strategic projects involving novel sensors based on emerging materials, embedded and network intelligence, and computational social science.

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Professor Cecilia Mascolo

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