The Eindhoven Artificial Intelligence Systems Institute (EAISI, pronounced 'easy') is the new institute of Eindhoven University of Technology in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).
The what, why and how of EAISI in 10 questions and answers.
Why does TU/e establish an institute for AI?
With the establishment of EAISI, the university wants to contribute to the growing importance of AI in society, business and science, and to meet the rapidly increasing demand for education, engineers and expertise in the field of AI. TU/e has been active in the field of Artificial Intelligence for decades, which gives the new institute an excellent starting position to build on.
Using our traditional strengths in systems engineering and our close ties with industry, we aim to leverage the huge potential of AI to real-world applications in industrial engineering systems. The new institute embodies the ambition of TU/e to play a leading role in the further development of this groundbreaking technology.
EAISI will include the existing activities of the following TU/e organizations: Data Science Center Eindhoven, High Tech Systems Center, and the strategic area Smart Mobility.
The combination of these activities in one institute offers advantages in terms of synergy between researchers, fundraising and talent recruitment, cooperation with the business community, and profiling of TU/e as a leading institution in the field of AI.
How does EAISI distinguish itself from other AI institutes?
Unlike other AI institutes, EAISI will focus on the use of data and algorithms in machines, such as robots and autonomous cars, which has always been a strong point of TU/e and the Eindhoven Brainport region. In addition, the new institute will prioritize research into applications of AI in healthcare, the interaction between man and machine, and the moral and ethical aspects of AI.
Specifically, our research will focus on the following topics:
- High-tech systems and robotics
- Guaranteed machine performance;
- Autonomous machine operation and smart human-operator support
- Multi-agent robotics
- Predictive maintenance
- Health applications
- Improved diagnostics
- Personalized and wearable health
- Better understanding of personal health states
- Preventive health management
- Smart mobility
- Vision and sensor capabilities for autonomous driving
- Data analytics for effective transportation systems
What is the university already doing in the field of AI research?
TU/e has been active in the field of AI for years, with innovative research in the fields of intelligent machines, smart mobility and healthcare. With the Data Science Center Eindhoven and High Tech Systems Center, the university also has two leading institutes that are actively involved in research into and applications of AI.
A total of about one hundred TU/e scientists are currently active in this field. They conduct research into areas such as Machine Learning, Human Computer Interaction, Computer Vision, Robotics and Medical Diagnosis. In addition, TU/e has several student teams that apply AI in their work. These include Tech United (football and care robots), BlueJay (support drones), University Racing Eindhoven (autonomous race car), Solar Team Eindhoven (autonomous solar parking of solar car) and Fruitpunch (AI in general).
Will the new institute also provide education in the field of AI?
AI already plays an important role in the education programmes of TU/e but in order to meet the growing demand, we will be offering two dedicated AI master programmes from the start of the academic year 2020/2021: Data Science and AI and AI Engineering Systems. Further details will be announced later this year.
In the longer term, AI will become part of all forms of academic education offered by TU/e. These include new multi-disciplinary subjects, challenge-based learning, MOOCs and special courses for lifelong learning and additional education in collaboration with the business community.
How many people will work for EAISI?
There are already about a hundred AI-scientists working at TU/e. On top of that, the university wants to recruit about 50 new researchers. In total, up to 150 people will be directly or indirectly involved in EAISI. Despite the tight labor market for AI talent, EAISI is confident that it can attract enough researchers. "The Netherlands has an excellent business climate, and Eindhoven is a pleasant and reasonably affordable city to work and live in," says director Carlo van de Weijer.
New vacancies will be announced on the dedicated TU/e jobs page. These positions, like all vacancies for the permanent academic staff of TU/e, are only open to women in the first six months of recruitment. If no suitable candidate has been found after six months, men can also apply.
The institute itself does not hire people, except for the management and a small staff for support. All academic staff who work for EAISI now and in the future will do so under the responsibility of the faculty to which they are appointed.
How is the institute funded and organiZed?
TU/e will invest 100 million euros in EAISI's education and research until 2025. This money comes primarily from our own resources. For example, an important part of the university's available recruitment funds will be used for vacancies within the field of AI. In addition, positions will become available as a result of natural turnover and via the government's sector plans for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. EAISI also wants to attract an extra 30 million euros each year from so-called third tier grants (NWO, EU and other grants) and from industry directly.
The new institute is headed by Carlo van de Weijer. He previously worked as director of the strategic area Smart Mobility at TU/e. Van de Weijer is supported by a small staff (program management, communication, secretariat) and a scientific council. This consists of professors from the four founding faculties (Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science and Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences).
Where will the institute be located?
EAISI will be located on the TU/e campus, first in the Gaslab building, and from 2021 in the Laplace building. A special AI Lab will be set up in that building, where professors, teachers, PhD students, students and student teams from different disciplines can work together on new applications of AI.
Who are the institute's partners?
Building on the traditionally close ties of TU/e with industry, EAISI has partnered with a number of relevant companies and organizations, both at a regional, national and European level. These include among others:
What is artificial intelligence?
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 potential bias in the data, the privacy of users, the protection of computers against hackers and the possible harm from autonomous robots.
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.
Does the new institute also consider the potential risks of AI?
EAISI has the ambition to create intelligent machines that benefit society at large. That is why the new institute pays a lot of attention to the interaction between man and machine, the moral and ethical aspects of AI and the effect of AI on society. This should ensure that our algorithms and robots do not discriminate, have an understanding for the wants and needs of humans and do not harm them, and are transparent and trustworthy about their goals and values. For EAISI, these are important preconditions for the responsible application of AI expertise and technology.