UCL Department of Chemical Engineering


Centenary seminar: Process Systems Engineering in the ChatGPT Era: Where do we go from here?

22 November 2023, 3:00 pm–5:00 pm

Prof Venkat Venkatasubramanian

Join our upcoming Centenary Seminar on Process Systems Engineering in the ChatGPT Era: Where do we go from here?

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

All | UCL staff | UCL students | UCL alumni






Melania Torok, Executive Assistant – UCL Chemical Engineering


G06 Sir Ambrose Fleming Lecture Theatre
Roberts Building
University College London, Torrington Place
United Kingdom


The startling success of ChatGPT and transformer-based generative neural networks in applications such as natural language processing and image synthesis has many researchers excited about the potential opportunities in process systems engineering (PSE). However, there is an essential difference between such applications and PSE. PSE is governed by fundamental laws of physics and chemistry (and biology), constitutive relations, and highly technical knowledge about materials, processes, and systems. While purely data-driven machine learning has its immediate uses, the long-term success of AI in scientific and engineering domains, I believe, would depend on leveraging first principles and technical knowledge effectively. ChatGPT’s “hallucinations” are perhaps interesting and amusing in certain applications, but they are potentially dangerous in highly technical domains such as PSE. In this talk, I will discuss these challenges and opportunities going forward.


To register, email Melania Torok, Executive Assistant at chemeng.ea@ucl.ac.uk

About the Speaker

Prof Venkat Venkatasubramanian

SAMUEL RUBEN-PETER G. VIELE PROFESSOR OF ENGINEERING at Columbia University, Department of Chemical Engineering

Professor Venkat Venkatasubramanian is Samuel Ruben- Peter G. Viele Professor of Engineering in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Professor of Computer Science (Affiliate), and Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (Affiliate) at Columbia University. He earned his Ph. D. in Chemical Engineering at Cornell, M.S. in Physics at Vanderbilt, and B. Tech. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Madras, India. He taught at Purdue University for many years before returning to Columbia in 2011.

Venkat is a complex-dynamical-systems theorist interested in developing mathematical models of their structure, function, and behavior from fundamental conceptual principles. He considers himself an artist in science whose natural tendency is to conduct curiosity-driven research in a style that might be considered impressionistic, emphasizing conceptual issues over mere techniques. He strives to create a simplified but essentially correct model of the reality that he studies. Venkat's research interests are diverse, ranging from AI to systems engineering to theoretical physics to economics, but they are centered around the theme of understanding complexity and emergent behavior in different domains.

Venkat received the Norris Shreve Award for Outstanding Teaching in Chemical Engineering three times at Purdue University. He won the Computing in Chemical Engineering Award from AIChE and is a Fellow of AIChE. In 2011, the College of Engineering at Purdue University recognized his contributions with the Research Excellence Award. He is a past president of the CACHE Corporation. From 2009-19, he served as Editor for Computers and Chemical Engineering. His book, How Much Inequality is Fair? Mathematical Principles of a Moral, Optimal, and Stable Capitalist Society, was published in 2017. Three of his papers are among the ten most-cited papers in the 46-year history of Computers & Chemical Engineering. Venkat's other interests include comparative theology, classical music, and cricket.

More about Prof Venkat Venkatasubramanian