Monday, September 15, 2008

Informatics@Edinburgh in the News

We are used to developers renaming sites in the hope of squeezing the last ounce of cool – that is, lucre – from them. However, architect Bennetts Associates was slightly surprised when a similar request came from a group of staid Edinburgh university mathematics professors. Apparently the staff at the £41m Informatics Forum wanted to ensure that their swanky new headquarters in the city centre had an appropriate address. It seems its Potter Row tag simply would not do. What the profs were after was 10 Crichton Street.
One and zero – binary code – geddit?
Several exchanges with the Post Office later and it was smiles all round. For once it seems an architect has managed to get the numbers to add up.

So, the Forum is Number Two Crichton Street. Appleton Tower (11 Crichton Street) is Number Three.

We're now working on Number One - inSpace, our workshop, gallery and public engagement space for Informatics and Creativity, being fitted out for opening next year, on the corner with Potterrow.

Guardian critics pick this autumn's unmissable shows

Informatics Forum, University of Edinburgh*
Autumn at the University of Edinburgh will see the opening of this wonderful research centre designed for a faculty that brings together biology, neurology, linguistics and art. It looks like a see-through Rubik's Cube.

Don't miss it on Open Doors day 27th September


The structure is [...] one of the first buildings in Scotland to get a BREEAM Excellent rating right through the construction process, and architect Bennetts Associates has made it look pretty spectacular inside to boot.

What is BREEAM?
BREEAM is the world's most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings.

Informatics@Edinburgh - number one in research, excellent in teaching - now also environmentally excellent!


designed [...] to pioneer a style of academic architecture that promotes the cross-fertilisation of ideas Scotland's role as world leader in informatics is reinforced
Scotsman The Crichton Street centre is designed to encourage interaction and collaboration between researchers and intended to promote world-class research.
Edinburgh University's School of Informatics is already the top computing science school in the UK and one of the leading four of its kind in the world.
It will bring together researchers too often isolated in separate worlds, and this should foster new innovations and science. It is appropriate that Edinburgh, home of David Hume, the father of the Enlightenment, should be leading the way.

Hume famously said, "The spirit of the age affects all the arts". In the age of information, informatics affects the arts, the sciences, and the humanities.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

First Minister opens flagship centre for informatics

Opening of the Forum - Video

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond will open a world-leading centre for informatics research - encompassing computer science, artificial intelligence and cognitive science - at the University of Edinburgh on Wednesday, 3 September.

The £42 million Informatics Forum is dedicated to research from the University's School of Informatics. It brings together some 500 scientists whose interests span virtual reality, robotics, artificial learning, intelligent systems, computational linguistics and bioinformatics.

Built over six floors around a central glass atrium, the 12,000m2 Forum has an open design to encourage interaction and collaboration between researchers. This is intended to promote world-class research and reflect the school's reputation for commercialisation.

Mr Salmond will undertake a tour during which he will be shown examples of key research including a robotic hand prosthesis - being developed in collaboration with local company Touch Bionics - and a miniature humanoid robot. The First Minister will also see notable aspects of the building, such as its floating staircases and outdoor terraces. He is to formally open the Forum by switching on a digital donor board, on which the names of fundraising donors are illuminated in binary code.

The Forum was designed by Bennetts Associates Architects and built by Balfour Beatty, with financial support from Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Government, the Wolfson Foundation, alumni and others.

Mr Salmond will also see sculptures from by Eduardo Paolozzi which are on display in the Forum. The works form part of a bequest which also includes a set of Paolozzi's Turing prints and 100 plaster maquettes.

Representatives of some 30 commercialisation projects associated with the school will be present at the event.

Informatics is the study of how natural and artificial systems store, process and communicate information. The University of Edinburgh's School of Informatics is rated as the top computing science school in the UK and among the top four in the world, with outstanding teaching and research facilities.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: "Scotland has firmly established its place as a world leader in informatics and the development of this impressive new facility reinforces our commitment to research in this area.

"This £42 million project will act as a hub for the academic, commercial and civil development of a range of informatics disciplines ranging from e-science and medicine to business and humanities.

"The Scottish Government is committed to promoting excellence and innovation - building on research and scientific excellence in Scotland's universities to promote sustainable economic growth. I am delighted to officially open this new centre of excellence, it will advance Scotland and the University of Edinburgh's position as a world leader in the new science of informatics and it will also have enormous benefits to both industry and commerce."

Professor Michael Fourman, Head of the School of Informatics, said: "We are delighted to formally open the Informatics Forum. Bringing together our first-rate researchers into this collaborative environment will enable new research, building on the successes of the School to date."

Linda McPherson, Operations Director at Scottish Enterprise said, "Excellence in research is vital for Scotland to compete globally, and the Informatics Forum offers a truly world class facility for this to happen. I am delighted to see the formal opening of the forum and the significant impact it will make to the future of Scotland's economy."

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