With AI booming in recent years, 2019 also marked the appearance of Alan Turing’s portrait, who is deemed as father of modern computer science, on UK’s pound sterling notes.

Recently, supported by the University Global Partnership Network (UGPN), A/Prof Jun Shen, ARC-DP Postdoctoral Fellow Geng Sun, and CSC Scholarship holder PhD student Huaming Chen, had the chance to conduct a mutual visit with Professor Yaochu Jin and his ‘Nature Inspired Computing and Engineering’ (NICE) research group based on the University of Surrey, located in the Alan Turing Building of the Stag Hill campus. The research topic is about ‘Tackling e-Learning and Bioinformatics Applications with Surrogate-Assisted Evolutionary Computation’. Both research groups involved in this research project are in the field of computational intelligence, and Prof. Yaochu Jin is an internationally prestigious professor in this research filed and an editor of the premium international academic journal including IEEE Transaction on Evolutionary Computation.


The University of Surrey is located at Guildford, UK, the living place of Alan Turing during his school holidays. Guildford has a hilly topography and the view from the town is magnificent in everywhere. Also, the people from the town are always very welcome and kind. The Guildford High street is part of the path to get to the University of Surrey, and the townscape view and warm sunrise offer a healthy dose of joy to our stay.

When we hopped on the school bus and arrived at the university, the bronze statue of Alan Turing was always the first to meet every day. The connection between Alan Turing and the place is running in the vein of this university.

During the visit, we have worked within the NICE group on a daily basis. The most important part for this academic visit was the discussions with Prof. Jin on our research topics, which are leveraging nature-inspired machine intelligence techniques in intelligent education and proteomics problem. These discussions further our common interests in applying evolutionary algorithms in educational/proteomics problems. For example, how to assemble expertise and domain knowledge into surrogates that can work together with current data-driven computational approaches can be our major focus in upcoming months.

Earlier in 2019, A/Prof Shen also had a six month of sabbatical leave study at the famous RELATE lab at MIT, where open courseware, now better known as MOOC, was born. Shen’s group is supported by ARC DP on AI in education, while AI applications in bioinformatics, transport and manufacturing are also researched among his one dozen PhD students.