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On 29 September, the Lamarr Institute for Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence was officially inaugurated in the presence of Hendrik Wüst, Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), and Ina Brandes, NRW’s Minister of Science and Culture, as well as leading stakeholders from business and science. The top research institute is shaping a new generation of artificial intelligence (AI) that is efficient, sustainable, trustworthy and secure, and will contribute to solving key challenges in business and society. TU Dortmund University, the University of Bonn, the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems (IAIS) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML) are collaborating within the institute. The Lamarr Institute is one of five university AI competence centers nationwide that have been awarded long-term funding since the summer as part of the “Artificial Intelligence Strategy of the German Federal Government”.
Minister President Hendrik Wüst said at the opening ceremony: “The aim is for North Rhine-Westphalia to become an AI research hotspot. With the Lamarr Institute, we’re a big step closer to this goal – here, researchers are working to answer questions about the mobility of tomorrow, innovative production processes and smart energy supply.” He continued: “No generation before us could draw on as much knowledge and know-how as we can today. And that’s why we stand a good chance of finding excellent solutions to the questions of our times. Above all artificial intelligence is creating new opportunities here.” From their facilities in Dortmund, Bonn and Sankt Augustin, internationally recognized scientists from North Rhine-Westphalia are conducting cutting-edge AI research for Germany, Europe and the world. Together, the Federal Government and the State of North Rhine-Westphalia are providing around €126m for this purpose, initially until 2028.
The scientists presented their mission and practical results from their research work to the public on the occasion of the Lamarr Institute’s inauguration at Birlinghoven Castle in Sankt Augustin at the end of September. Judith Pirscher, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, said: “I’m very pleased that we can today celebrate a real milestone for AI research in Germany. The current situation has shown what dependencies on others can lead to and technological sovereignty in AI is therefore our goal. And for that we first and foremost need experts like you.”
Resource-friendly, trustworthy, efficient
The researchers at the Lamarr Institute aim to set new standards in the value-based research and development of extremely efficient and at the same time trustworthy and resource-friendly AI. “A particular focus that distinguishes the Lamarr Institute is resource-aware learning. We’re working to adapt learned models for energy-saving computer architectures and to develop methods whose models require very little energy. This necessitates, on the one hand, a deeper exploration 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 join us,” explained Professor Katharina Morik from TU Dortmund University, one of the Lamarr Institute’s four co-directors.
The Lamarr Institute is borne 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).
“Computer science research at TU Dortmund University has always kept its finger on the pulse of current developments, and with the Lamarr Institute we’re making further advances. Algorithms are being developed here to solve complex problems. How successful these are can be seen in their applications, whether in mobility or work processes, weather forecasts or medical image analysis, many questions can only be answered by means of artificial intelligence and machine learning. But not just anyhow – at the Lamarr Institute, researchers are developing solutions that are resource-friendly, reliable and trustworthy,” said Professor Manfred Bayer, President of TU Dortmund University.
The long-term funding will make it possible to fill up to eleven new AI professorships at the two partner universities and benefit 32 professors already employed there, who will be integrated into the new Lamarr Institute with their research as principal investigators. As early as 2023, the research work of the over 40 AI professorships will be supported by more than 100 research assistants, who will earn their degrees and acquire specialist expertise within the Lamarr Institute.
Scientific excellence, a sound education and trustworthy AI applications
The training of the next generation of AI experts plays a central role at the Lamarr Institute – from the teaching of initial AI skills in schools to scientific training at the two partner universities and the continuing education of business professionals by the participating Fraunhofer institutes. Named after the Austrian-American inventor Hedy Lamarr, known for her pioneering work on the precursors of Bluetooth and WLAN, practical application also plays a key role for the new institute: “In addition to research and the sound training of young scientists, the institute will foreground transfer to industry in the form of knowledge, expertise and ethically responsible applications. Our machine learning methods are today already used in over 50 hospitals for diagnosis coding, they help high-speed robots in logistics and are part of a globally leading AI analysis software,” said co-director Professor Stefan Wrobel.
Ina Brandes, NRW’s Minister of Science and Culture, said: “Sustainability and ethics in AI are core topics at the new institute. These are essential in order for people to be able to trust AI in their everyday lives. We’re experiencing rapid developments 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 has evolved out of the former Competence Center Machine Learning Rhine-Ruhr (ML2R). Its directors are Professor Katharina Morik, Professor Stefan Wrobel, Professor Christian Bauckhage and Professor Michael ten Hompel.
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Location & approach
The campus of TU Dortmund University is located close to interstate junction Dortmund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dortmund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is “Dortmund-Eichlinghofen” (closer to South Campus), and from B 1 / A 40 “Dortmund-Dorstfeld” (closer to North Campus). Signs for the university are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dortmund.
To get from North Campus to South Campus by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at North Campus and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.
TU Dortmund University has its own train station (“Dortmund Universität”). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dortmund main station (“Dortmund Hauptbahnhof”) and Düsseldorf main station via the “Düsseldorf Airport Train Station” (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 15 or 30 minutes). The university is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.
You can also take the bus or subway train from Dortmund city to the university: From Dortmund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station “Stadtgarten”, usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At “Stadtgarten” you switch trains and get on line U42 towards “Hombruch”. Look out for the Station “An der Palmweide”. From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dortmund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dortmund main station to the stop “Dortmund Kampstraße”. From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop “Dortmund Wittener Straße”. Switch to bus line 447 and get off at “Dortmund Universität S”.
The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dortmund Airport (DTM) to Dortmund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dortmund Central Station, you can continue to the university campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of international flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the university station.
The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dortmund University. There are two stations on North Campus. One (“Dortmund Universität S”) is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the university directly with the city of Dortmund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the “Technologiepark” and (via South Campus) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at North Campus and offers a direct connection to South Campus every five minutes.
The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent “Technologiepark”.