The European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS) welcomes four new units to its growing network: Barcelona (Spain), Graz (Austria), Potsdam (Germany) and Trento (Italy). In alignment with the ELLIS vision, the new units will promote excellence in machine learning research, represent the ELLIS network in their respective regions, foster strong links with industry, and train the next generation of outstanding AI talent. In total, ELLIS now counts 39 units in 14 countries, all striving towards the same objective: securing Europe’s sovereignty in the field of modern AI research.
ELLIS Units bring together the best AI researchers at different locations in Europe and Israel, and fulfill a set of strict criteria to ensure excellence and a maximum level of competitiveness at international level. With the recent additions, ELLIS is now represented in four new regions in Europe:
ELLIS Unit Barcelona
The ELLIS Unit Barcelona brings together researchers from nine academic entities: the five major universities of Barcelona (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Universitat de Barcelona (UB), Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)), as well as the four public research centers in the region focused on AI (Computer Vision Center (CVC), Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial (CSIC-UPC), Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC-CNS), Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (IIIA-CSIC)). It was created under the auspices and with the financial support of the Catalan government. The focus of the unit lies on advancing fundamental research in machine learning and related fields (vision, robotics, natural language processing), and on fostering interdisciplinary research in AI, in particular in the interactions of AI systems with humans and societies - a theme with important repercussions in life sciences and humanities.
"After presenting his famous three laws of robotics, Isaac Asimov had to add law 0: 'A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm'. Now we are at a similar turning point in AI and machine learning,... and not in Science Fiction but in the real world! The ELLIS network is a privileged ecosystem to develop machine learning in an ethics-driven beneficial way for humanity, and the new ELLIS Unit Barcelona is eager to join forces and contribute to this aim", says Carme Torras, Co-Director of the ELLIS Unit Barcelona and Research Professor at the Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial CSIC-UPC.
ELLIS Unit Graz
The ELLIS Unit Graz is located at the Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) and tightly coupled to the Graz Center for Machine Learning (GraML) of TU Graz. Its activities are concentrated on foundational machine learning research with strong links to other scientific disciplines and industry. The unit’s current research fields include Computer Vision, Non-smooth and Convex Optimization, Analysis of Learning Processes in the Brain through Theory and Large-scale Models, Bio-inspired and Energy-efficient Machine Learning, Domain Specialized Machine Learning and Trust, Resource-efficient Probabilistic Models for Intelligent Systems, Probabilistic Machine Learning and Tractable Inference, as well as Recommender Systems and Behavioral Analytics.
“We are excited to integrate our research into the work of the ELLIS community, and to benefit from exchanges on many levels. We would like to contribute know-how from computer vision, insight into the organization of learning in neural networks of the brain, bio-inspired methods for the design of more energy-efficient hardware for AI, as well as experience in industrial applications of data-science and ML”, says Wolfgang Maass, Director of the ELLIS Unit Graz and Professor for Computer Science at TU Graz.
ELLIS Unit Potsdam
The ELLIS Unit Potsdam (ELLIS Sustainable Life Potsdam) includes the Hasso Plattner lnstitute (HPl), the University of Potsdam (UP) and the Center for Al in Public Health Research (ZKl-PH) at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). It aims to advance the development and application of Al algorithms in the areas of sustainability and health. Moving away from fossil fuels to renewables, minimizing energy consumption, personalized medicine, and algorithm-driven analysis of viruses to prevent and mitigate endemics and pandemics are some of today’s key challenges. The unit’s research agenda covers activities in the fields of AI and Energy, AI for Medicine, Genomics and Infectious Diseases, as well as Efficient and Scalable Methods for AI Algorithms.
“The ELLIS Unit in Potsdam will contribute to developing scalable, causal and explainable AI methods to bridge the scientific areas of medicine, chemistry, physics and computer science tackling emerging challenges in both public health and energy management”, says Ralf Herbrich, Co-Director of the ELLIS Unit Potsdam and Professor for Artificial Intelligence and Sustainability at the Hasso-Plattner Institute and University of Potsdam.
ELLIS Unit Trento
The ELLIS Unit Trento connects two research organizations with a longstanding collaboration: the University of Trento and the Fondazione Bruno Kessler. The unit’s activities are highly multidisciplinary and comprise both foundational and application-oriented topics. The range of research fields includes: Learning from Visual Data, Bringing Human Diversity in AI, AI for Remote Sensing and Data Fusion, AI for Smart and Secure Cities, AI for Earth, Planets and Climate, Natural Language Processing for Online Safety, as well as Explainable, Trustworthy, and Cooperative AI.
“The ELLIS Unit in Trento is meant to consolidate the already very strong connections between the two main players, University of Trento and Fondazione Bruno Kessler, but also to bring together the entire research ecosystem in the Trentino region comprising start-ups, industry, and public administration. It will also be a focal point for the researchers active in North-East Italy”, says Nicu Sebe, Co-Director of the ELLIS Unit Trento and Professor at the Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science, University of Trento.
New working environments for outstanding researchers
With its 39 units, ELLIS is creating a network of research sites distributed across Europe and Israel. Each unit has an annual budget of at least 1.5 million EUR. The long-term goal is to establish a set of world-class ELLIS institutes, each acting as the core of a local AI ecosystem. All ELLIS sites aim at creating new working environments for outstanding researchers, enabling them to combine cutting-edge research paired with the creation of start-ups and industrial impact.
“We are truly excited to add four new units to the ELLIS network. The new units, located in four different countries, cover a wide range of research areas in data-driven AI, including topics of great societal relevance such as health and medicine, smart cities and sustainability”, says ELLIS Vice President Nuria Oliver.
Find more information about ELLIS units here.
Information for media: ellis.eu/formedia
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