Published: 12 February 2019

An evening to remember

Put together broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili, the GSA singers and 350 alumni and it’s a recipe for a great night out!

We were delighted to welcome graduates from the 1950s to the present day to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at our largest London event, An Evening to Remember and Reconnect.

It was a wonderful opportunity for alumni to meet up with old friends and discover how Surrey has evolved since they left. We were also treated to a fascinating talk by Professor Al-Khalili, himself a Surrey graduate, who gave the keynote speech on the challenges and opportunities presented by artificial intelligence (AI).

“Artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and automated systems have the potential to change our world faster and more fundamentally than any previous technological revolution,” he said. “AI has moved out of the realms of science fiction and into our everyday lives, working unnoticed, very often behind the scenes.”

Research in AI is one of Surrey’s strengths and we have some exciting and pioneering projects. At our Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing, we are working on developing a range of AI technologies that are going to transform our world. Examples include machine-earning algorithms that look for patterns in data for applications such as facial recognition in biometrics and security, medical imaging for cancer detection, and robotics and autonomous vehicles.

Jim was followed by a foot-tapping performance by the Guildford School of Acting Singers who wowed the audience with a medley of show tunes, ending with a rousing rendition of Climb Every Mountain.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Max Lu earlier highlighted the outstanding contributions our alumni have made to society, including Dame Linda Dobbs, Britain’s first black High Court judge; Sir Alec Issigonis, designer of the Mini; and Matthew Skelding who recently won an Emmy for Outstanding Sound Editing for TV series Black Mirror.

Professor Lu said: “At Surrey we are very proud of the great endeavours and achievements of our alumni who are changing lives across the world. Surrey will always be part of your story.”

Take a look at our Flickr for photographs from the evening.

We hope to see many more of our alumni at events both in the UK and overseas – see our full list of forthcoming receptions and networking opportunities.

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