TU/e announces EAISI: new institute for intelligent machines
The University of Technology in Eindhoven will take on fifty additional professors for education and research in the field of AI.
The Eindhoven University of Technology will establish an institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI) with the ambition to become one of the top AI institutes in Europe. The Eindhoven Artificial Intelligence Systems Institute (EAISI, say: ‘easy’) is meant to meet the rapidly increasing demand for courses, engineers and know-how in the field of AI. EAISI builds on the existing AI activities at the TU/e, such as the Data Science Center Eindhoven and the High Tech Systems Center. Additionally, it will take on fifty extra professors for education and research in AI. The new institute will focus on the use of smart algorithms in machines, like robots and autonomous cars, traditionally a strong point of the TU/e. In total, the university will spend some 100 million euros over a five-year period. Additional funds will be attracted from external sources.
Artificial Intelligence already plays an important role at the TU/e. Every day, some 100 scientists in Eindhoven are busy developing new knowledge and smart applications of this promising technology. They create prize-winning soccer robots, human-friendly drones for the healthcare sector, 3D computer vision systems for autonomous cars, methods for medical image analysis based on deep learning, and smart applications of data from health apps.
With EAISI the TU/e intends to take the next step in the development of AI. “In the past, AI was part of the cyber world, with companies like Google, Booking.com, Spotify and other consumer platforms. Now AI is evolving into fields where the TU/e has traditionally been strong, like High Tech Systems and Human Technology Interaction. With EAISI we are making machines intelligent”, says Carlo van de Weijer, director of the new institute.
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What is AI?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) uses large amounts of data to enable machines to make automatic decisions. Examples are satnav systems, cameras with face recognition capabilities and translation software. AI makes use of algorithms, arithmetic models that choose the most suitable solution based on regular patterns in data. AI is quicker than humans and more precise, which makes it an attractive and cheap choice for many applications. Smart algorithms are also able to see things which may elude the human eye. However, automatic decisions also raise moral, social or political challenges, concerning for instance possible bias in the data, the privacy of users and the protection of computers against hackers. Over the past decade the use of AI has become widespread, as computers have become faster and more and more data have become available through browser clicks, internet searches and smartphone location data. In recent years, we have also seen the rapid increase of sensor data from devices like cars and smart machines, paving the way for exciting new applications in which AI meets the world of high-tech industry.
EAISI has the ambition to create intelligent machines that benefit society at large. The new institute will therefore put the moral and ethical aspects of AI at the centre of its work. This implies that the machines we make are unbiased, have an understanding for human wants and needs and are transparant and trustworthy about their goals and values.
Over the next five years, EAISI wants to take on fifty new professors in the field of AI. Van de Weijer is hopeful that he will find sufficient talent to fill the available positions, even in a tight job market. “The Netherlands is not in the bottom league as far as the business climate is concerned, and Eindhoven is a relatively cheap and an attractive place to live. We have no complaints about the number of people who want to work and study here”.
EAISI will work closely with student teams like Fruitpunch and TechUnited and with the business world in the Brainport region. Already there are contacts with ASML, Philips and NXP. More details about the new institute will be announced at the beginning of the new academic year.