Liverpool partners in new Centre for Topological Data Analysis

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Researchers from the University of Liverpool are a partner in a new research Centre that aims to make the UK a leader in topological data analysis.

Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the `Centre for Topological Data Analysis' aims to drive the development and application of topological data analysis to solve real world problems such as designing better 3-dimensional plugs for sweat glands in antiperspirants.

Topology is a branch of mathematics that studies geometric shapes and their properties that are preserved under continuous deformations. Topological data analysis quantifies persistent structures in unorganised data. It is a new field of data science that has been very successful in discovering hidden patterns in many large and complex data sets.

The new `Centre for Topological Data Analysis' will develop new mathematical systems and algorithms as well as build on existing data science techniques in order to obtain and interpret the shape and structure of datasets.

It will draw on expertise from the University’s Department of Computer Science and Materials Innovation Factory, the University of Oxford’s Mathematical Institute and Statistics Department and the University of Swansea’s Mathematics and Physics Departments.

Liverpool will provide know-how in new computational methods for faster data processing, alongside materials science expertise provided through the Materials Innovation Factory and real-life problems and data in formulation science will be provided by Unilever.

Dr Vitaliy Kurlin, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Data Scientist with the Materials Innovation Factory, said: “Modern science and technology generates data at an unprecedented rate. This data is often complex, high dimensional, and may include temporal and or spatial information so extracting value form it presents a major challenge.

“Therefore understanding the "shape" of the data can be important but this can be difficult to extract and quantify using standard machine learning or statistical techniques, so this project aims to develop new techniques to address some of these issues.

“The Centre for Topological Data Analysis will build on the current knowledge and expertise in the field, as well as drawing on recent advancements in computational topology and I look forward to hearing from interested parties who wish to get involved in the Centre.

Professor Katie Atkinson, Head of the Department of Computer Science, added: "This is an exciting new research centre to be a partner in, cementing Liverpool’s position in the important field of data science that is becoming of relevance for many subjects.

“The centre aims to set-up a UK-wide national community, focused on both upstream research and downstream translation into the users of TDA methods and technologies - academic disciplines, public institutes, and commercial players.”

The Centre for Topological Data Analysis is one of five projects funded through the EPSRC’s `New approaches to data science’ programme.

The University of Liverpool also leads on another of the projects funded through this programme.

There are a number of PhD opportunities and a research post and related to this project, please contact Dr Kurlin if you have any enquiries regarding these.

To find out more about the University's digital research theme, click here.