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AMBS team develop innovative AI toolkit

Data scientists from AMBS have taken a major step in the development of an innovative AI (Artificial Intelligence) toolkit after securing a place on the Lean Launch programme.

The programme, which is run by a consortium of UK universities and funded by Innovate UK, is an online customer discovery programme that enables researchers to rapidly test whether there is market potential for a specific idea, and offers a pathway towards further funding and the possible development of a spin-out business.

The team at AMBS have won a place on the programme in order to develop their generic ‘explainable’ AI tool known as Turtle.AI, which could have widespread uses in domains which require such results to be understood by customers, such as in the fintech and healthcare industries.


Machine Learning Researcher Dr Sujit Roy said explainable AI was all about exploring how humans can understand the rationale behind how an algorithm has arrived at a particular recommendation or decision.

As he explained: “Turtle.AI is a comprehensive cloud-based AI toolkit that is equipped with state-of-the-art machine learning models designed to produce explainable results. It can be customised to suit the business needs of specific companies and uses algorithms in order to provide justification for specific decisions so that decision-makers in sectors such as healthcare and finance can then understand the factors that lead to that decision.

“Crucially, this allows for unbiased and trusted decision-making, which is essential in areas like healthcare, finance and judicial decision-making. Trust is the most expensive component in the market, and we design algorithms which can help people trust AI.”

Dr Richard Allmendinger, Senior Lecturer in Decision Sciences, echoed the sentiments about trust. “There is a lot of debate right now about how one can fully trust AI systems and the decisions they make on a daily basis.

“It is therefore crucial that where relevant AI systems are explainable to the user and that it is clear what a particular algorithm can and cannot do. As the use of AI grows across society this will become more and more important.”


Turtle.AI is also supported by the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre (MEC) at AMBS and The University of Manchester’s Innovation Factory.

Tony Walker, Deputy Director at MEC, said: "Working closely with colleagues in the Innovation Factory we have supported many teams to develop their entrepreneurial skills through the Lean Launch Programme and many have now launched successful spinouts and start-ups.

“Turtle AI is a great example of how we can help fast-track great research ideas to create impact for the economy and society. Our joint aim is to increase our share of places in future programmes to create even more outcomes from our world class research base."


Erol-Valeriu Chioasca, Innovation Factory Senior Project Manager for Computer Science, Mathematics and Humanities, added: “Everything that we do at the Innovation Factory has the overall goal of identifying and commercialising research and innovations coming out of The University of Manchester. Programmes such as the Lean Launch Programme work hand-in-hand with our activities and provide more opportunities for the university’s academics and students to take their ideas and research to the next level, just as it has for Turtle.AI.”