Science and Technology

Técnico is part of the European research centres in Artificial Intelligence

The Lisbon Unit for Learning and Intelligent Systems (LUMLIS) will be part of the European Network of Artificial Intelligence Excellence Centres.

Instituto Superior Técnico was chosen to host one of the 30 research centres of the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS). The Lisbon Unit for Learning and Intelligent Systems(LUMLIS) will be aligned with the ELLIS mission, focused on basic and applied research, playing an important role in guaranteeing Europe’s sovereignty and leadership in the field of modern Artificial Intelligence (AI) research.

The ELLIS network brings together 14 European countries and includes several world-class institutions, such as the University of Cambridge, the Italian Institute of Technology and ETH Zürich. The opening of the new 30 centres took place this Tuesday morning, September 15, through a virtual ceremony. ELLIS units were selected by a committee of renowned scientists from different countries based on the scientific excellence of the institutions involved.

“Today, we celebrate the momentum that the ELLIS initiative has gained since it was founded just two years ago,” said Bernhard Schölkopf, co-founder of ELLIS and director of the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Tübingen, during the session. “The units will allow Europe to compete with the global AI hotspots, particularly the USA and China. Together, the units are creating new opportunities for collaboration with scientists from across Europe, and a strong base for the development of AI that is in line with the values of open European societies”, he stressed.

According to professor Mário Figueiredo, coordinator of LUMLIS, “the ultimate goal of LUMLIS is to bring together the work of Técnico professors, researchers and students, which is now scattered among several institutes”. “LUMLIS intends to be visible and have a consistent and coherent activity and image, and to stimulate collaboration between the Técnico community working in AI and ML [Machine Learning] and related areas, thus contributing to the international visibility of Técnico in these areas ”, adds the Técnico professor.

The LUMLIS team is composed of world-class AI and ML researchers. Besides professor Mário Figueiredo, LUMLIS’ s executive committee is composed of professors: Arlindo Oliveira (Técnico / INESC-ID), André Martins (Técnico / IT), Manuel Lopes (INESC-ID / Técnico), Rodrigo Rodrigues, José Santos-Victor ( Técnico and ISR-Lisboa) and Ana Paiva (Técnico and INESC-ID).

The LUMLIS coordinator has no doubts that advanced training, namely PhDs are “absolutely essential for academic research – in AI, as in all areas of science and technology”. “LUMLIS will also focus on training”, so young talents in the field of AI and ML, namely Técnico students, will automatically benefit from these opportunities. “ELLIS will provide new opportunities for student exchanges and co-supervisions, and other collaborations with Europe’s top groups”.

The link to the business world is another goal of LUMLIS team. “We believe that this involves excellence in basic research, regardless of the industry interests”, stresses professor Mário Figueiredo. “In Portugal, there are a group of companies with a very high technological level – some world leaders in their areas-, many of which actively collaborate with universities, in joint research projects and in advanced training”, he adds. “LUMLIS intends to increase and stimulate this type of synergistic collaborations, from which there are much to be gained”.

ELLIS is a pan-European effort initiated in 2018 to foster European research excellence in machine learning and related fields. It aims to offer European researchers outstanding opportunities to carry out their research in Europe, and to nurture the next generation of European young researchers in this field of strategic importance. Its goal is to enable Europe to be competitive in modern AI and benefit from positive economic and societal impact. ELLIS already has the support of renowned European companies such as Audi, AVL, Bayer, Bosch, Deep-Mind, Greiner, Porsche and Siemens, as well as US companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, NVIDIA and Qualcomm.