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Dr Neil Lawrence

This is an old page dating from around 2007. My current webpage is here.


From 1st January 2007 I have moved to the University of Manchester.

Locally I've moved my home page to here home page. You will now be forwarded there.

My Sheffield Home Page

Machine Learning Research Group at Sheffield

Research Opportunities

If you are interested in undertaking a PhD or MPhil you should apply to the Department of Computer Science.

Machine Learning Workshop

In September 2004 I co-organised the Sheffield Machine Learning Workshop.

Bioinformatics Workshop

In July 2003 I co-organised with Nick Monk a workshop: "Unravelling Nature's Networks: From Microarray and Proteomic Analysis to Systems Biology".

Projects as Principal Investigator

EPSRC Grant number GR/R84801/01 `Learning Classifiers from Sloppily Labelled Data'.

SIMPL: Simple Implementation of a Mathematical Programming Language. This was a Microsoft Rotor RFP sponsored project which was run by 4th year and MSc students doing the Darwin project.

Research Interests

Gaussian Process Latent Variable Models

The Variational Importance Sampler

Currently my interests include microarray data, sparse Gaussian processes and combining variational methods with sampling.

Before coming to Sheffield I worked at Microsoft where, amongst other things, I looked at intelligent synchronisation of mobile devices:

Optimising Synchronisation Times for Mobile Devices Neil D. Lawrence, Anthony I. T. Rowstron, Christopher M. Bishop and Michael J. Taylor. Presented at NIPS 2001.[PDF]

Another project I worked on at Microsoft involved some ideas for utilizing `sloppily labeled' data in learning. Bernhard Schölkopf and I produced a conference paper on this work:

Estimating a kernel Fisher discriminant in the presence of label noise. Neil D. Lawrence and Bernhard Schölkopf. Presented at ICML 2001. [PDF]

My PhD research was in the field of probabilistic graphical models. My thesis was centred on the use of variational methods in graphical models. Here are some publications in this area:

Node relevance determination. Neil D. Lawrence. Presented at WIRN 2001.[PDF]

Variational learning for multi-layer networks of linear threshold units. Neil D. Lawrence. Presented at The Eighth International Workshop on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, Key West, Florida, January, 2001.

As well as the following research report:

Variational Bayesian Independent Component Analysis. Neil D. Lawrence and Christopher M. Bishop. Research Report 2000.

My thesis, entitled Variational Inference in Probabilistic Models, was submitted in January 2000, the corrected final version is available in pdf, and gzipped postscript. The pdf version is broken in that one of the diagrams fails to appear. A more exhaustive list of publications and tech reports can be found here.

Brief Biography

I studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southampton, graduating in July, 1994. I followed this by working for Schlumberger Wireline and Testing in the southern North Sea and in Liverpool bay until February 1996. If you want to know what a wireline logging engineer does, have a look at this, from a spoof Schlumberger magazine called AH-64. My interest in non-linear models was developed at BPS Nico Ltd, where I worked as a Research Engineer until my entry into Aston University's Neural Computing Research Group in October 1996. In January 1998 I moved from Aston to Cambridge where I worked in the Computer Vision and Computational Neuroscience Group until January 2000 when I submitted my PhD thesis. Up until July 2001 I was a member of the Machine Learning and Perception Group at Microsoft Research.

I am currently a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at Sheffield University where I work in the Machine Learning Group.

On a personal level, I am a dual US/UK national, and have a brother and sister-in-law living in New Jersey. They have two daughters, Chloe and Sophie. I also enjoy spending time in Naples as my wife is a Neapolitan. We were married in Italy on May 27th 2000, Frederick joined us on January 7th 2003.


Family's Site


This page was last updated at 17:07:26 on 13 September 2004 by Neil Lawrence (

[ Up ] [ Marta's Research ] [ Nicola and John's Wedding ] [ Fred Lawrence ] [ Ralf and Jeanette Visit ] [ Neil's Research ] [ Warwick Castle Photos ] [ Bakewell with Antonio and Beatrice ] [ Glenlea Photos ] [ English Blessing Photos ] [ Search Site ]

Page last modified on Mon Oct 27 12:40:19 GMT 2008.