Automatic Computer Scientist

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. The Automatic Computer Scientist (AutoCS) is an EPSRC-funded fellowship (EP/V040340/1) that aims to accelerate algorithm discovery by building an AutoCS. 

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.