In 2019, Dr Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh, Associate Professor (Reader) within the Department of Computer Science at UCL, was awarded an Industrial Fellowship. These Royal Academy of Engineering fellowships strengthen links between universities and industry as well as encouraging new collaborative partnerships.
Dr Sadrzadeh, has twice been awarded the Academy’s Industrial Fellowship. With the first in 2017, she worked with the BBC’s R&D department in researching vectors and tensors for textual understanding of subtitles and news.
With the second award, starting in 2019, Dr Sadrzadeh looked at how to analyse and categorise the BBC’s programmes using multiple modalities and advanced computational methods. The aim of this fellowship was to develop a unified mathematical model to represent this data, compute degrees of similarity and correlate these with users' behaviours and preferences.
Research has shown that an adult person will spend about one and a half years of their life choosing what to watch on social media and broadcast platforms. Dr Sadrzadeh’s research not only helps improve the quality of the recommendations made to them, it also improves the accuracy and diversity of these recommendations. It does this by considering the subject matter of programmes expressed by accompanying textual files, such as subtitles, and combining this with their audio and video files, as well as the genre of the programme itself.
The fellowships have enabled Dr Sadrzadeh to give her students real life examples of Natural Language Programming and establish connections including internships with the BBC. She is also working on the possibility of developing and testing similarity-based recommender systems. If commercialised, these would prove useful for broadcasters such as Netflix, Apple TV and Amazon.
About Industrial Fellowships
The Royal Academy of Engineering Industrial Fellowships scheme enables mid-career academics and industrialists to undertake a collaborative research project in either an industrial or academic environment, where one party would host the other.