Grand Opening of the Lamarr Institute for Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
In the presence of NRW Minister President Hendrik Wüst MdL and NRW Minister of Science Ina Brandes as well as leading actors from business and science, the Lamarr Institute for Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence was officially opened on September 29, 2022. The leading research institute shapes a new generation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that is high-performing, sustainable, trustworthy and secure in helping to solve key challenges in industry and society. The Lamarr Institute is one of five university-based AI centers of excellence nationwide that have been receiving permanent funding as of this summer as part of the German government’s AI strategy.
Minister President Hendrik Wüst MdL, “North Rhine-Westphalia is to become a hotspot for AI research. With the Lamarr Institute we take a big step closer toward this goal – here, work is being done to answer questions about tomorrow’s mobility, innovative production processes or smart energy supply.” The Minister President continued, “No generation before us was able to draw on as much knowledge and know-how as we have today. And that’s why we have every chance of finding good solutions to the questions of our time. Artificial Intelligence in particular creates new opportunities in this regard.” From North Rhine-Westphalia – with locations in Dortmund, Bonn and Sankt Augustin – internationally recognized scientists are conducting cutting-edge AI research for Germany, Europe and the world. For this purpose, the federal government and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia are jointly providing around 126 million euros, initially until 2028.
At the opening of the Lamarr Institute in late September at Schloss Birlinghoven in Sankt Augustin, the researchers presented their mission and practical research results to the public. Judith Pirscher, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF, emphasized: “I am very pleased that we can celebrate a true milestone for AI research in Germany today. The current situation has shown what dependencies on others can lead to, our goal hence is technological sovereignty in AI. And for that, above all, we need experts like you.”
Securing Technological Sovereignty – Resource-efficient, Trustworthy, High-performing
The goal of the Lamarr Institute’s researchers is to set new standards for the value-based research and development of AI that is both extremely high-performing and trustworthy, as well as resource-saving. “One focus that sets the Lamarr Institute apart is resource-aware learning. We are working on adapting learned models for energy-efficient computer architectures and developing methods whose models require extremely little energy. This requires, on the one hand, the deepening of the subfields of Machine Learning and, on the other hand, interdisciplinary collaboration. That’s why we already have numerous internationally renowned colleagues on board and more will come,” explained Prof. Dr. Katharina Morik, one of the four co-directors of the Lamarr Institute.
The Lamarr Institute is constituted by pioneering institutions in the field of Artificial Intelligence: TU Dortmund University, the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS, the University of Bonn and the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML. The permanent funding will allow for eleven new AI professorships to be filled at the two partner universities and will benefit 32 existing professorships, known as “Principal Investigators”, whose research will be integrated into the new Lamarr Institute. The research of the more than 40 AI professorships will be supported by more than 100 research assistants already in 2023, who will acquire academic degrees and professional knowledge within the Lamarr Institute.
Scientific Excellence, Profound Education and Trustworthy AI Applications for Companies
Educating the next generation of AI experts plays a key role in the Lamarr Institute – from teaching initial AI skills in schools to scientific training at the two partner universities and further training of specialists in companies by the participating Fraunhofer Institutes. Named after the Austrian-American inventor Hedy Lamarr, who is known for her pioneering work on the precursors of Bluetooth and WLAN, practical application also plays a central role for the new institute: “In addition to research and the thorough training of young scientists, the focus will be on transfer to industry in the form of knowledge, expertise and ethically responsible applications. Our Machine Learning methods are already being used in more than 50 hospitals for diagnosis coding, they help high-speed robots in logistics or are part of a world-leading AI analysis software,” said co-director Prof. Dr. Stefan Wrobel.
NRW Science Minister Ina Brandes emphasized: “Sustainability and ethics in AI are central topics of the new institute. They are crucial so that people can trust AI in everyday life. We are experiencing a rapid development in all areas of life through the use of AI. In this context, we want to ensure that not only certain business models benefit from AI, but also that high ethical standards and sustainability requirements are met.”
The Lamarr Institute emerges from the former Competence Center Machine Learning Rhine-Ruhr (ML2R) and is headed by Prof. Dr. Katharina Morik (TU Dortmund), Prof. Dr. Stefan Wrobel (Fraunhofer IAIS), Prof. Dr. Christian Bauckhage (University of Bonn) and Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Michael ten Hompel (Fraunhofer IML).
Further Statements on the Event
“Computer science research at TU Dortmund University has always had its finger on the pulse, and with the Lamarr Institute we are consistently going further. Here, algorithms are developed to solve complex problems. Their success is seen in their application, whether in mobility or work processes, weather forecasts or medical image analysis, many questions can only be answered through Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Not somehow – resource-saving, reliable and trustworthy solutions are developed at the Lamarr Institute.”
– Prof. Dr. Manfred Bayer, President of TU Dortmund University
“Artificial Intelligence offers unforeseen opportunities for our society. We should actively shape them in line with the basic ethical principles of diversity, inclusion and transparency. Therefore, I am very pleased that the Excellence University of Bonn, together with three strong partners, takes part in the foundation of the Lamarr Institute. With groundbreaking innovations, effective transfer and a high sense of responsibility, the Lamarr Institute will set new standards in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.”
– Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Michael Hoch, Rector of the University of Bonn
“On the part of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, we are proud to be a formative and significant part of the new Lamarr Institute. I am convinced that this form of collaboration is forward-looking. Only through a particularly interlocked collaboration of excellent non-university and university research with a corresponding application focus can we help shape Germany as a location for innovation and research on a par with the world’s top research. Last but not least, such an ecosystem also includes the companies that benefit directly and indirectly from the transfer of research results.”
– Prof. Dr. Raoul Klingner, Research Director of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft