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Germany aims to be a global leader in artificial intelligence

Competence Center Machine Learning Launched at TU Dort­mund University

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Flying drones with blue lights in a hall. In the background, you can see a man and a woman talking to each other. © Oliver Schaper​/​TU Dort­mund
The innovations were presented in the hall of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics.

With the “Competence Center Machine Learning Rhine-Ruhr” (ML2R), a network of research institutions in North Rhine-Westphalia has been selected as one of four hubs in Germany for cutting-edge research and transfer in the area of Artificial Intelligence. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research awarded the contract already in autumn 2018; on January 23rd the Competence Center celebrated its launch in a kick-off event on the LogistikCampus of TU Dort­mund University. Internationally renowned scientists gave insights into the current state of research and future issues; companies in the region impressively demonstrated how they are already successfully using the new technologies.

“It is a special distinction for our scientists and for the entire region that we have brought the competence center to the locations Dort­mund, Bonn and Sankt Augustin,” said Professor Ursula Gather, Rector of TU Dort­mund University, in her welcome address. Together, TU Dort­mund University, the University of Bonn and the Fraunhofer Institutes for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS in Sankt Augustin and for Material Flow and Logistics IML in Dort­mund will conduct cutting-edge research. The speakers of the Center are Professor Katharina Morik of TU Dort­mund University and Professor Stefan Wrobel of the University of Bonn and the Fraunhofer IAIS.

One focus of the center is human-oriented machine learning. “We want to design machine learning processes so that the decisions made with artificial intelligence become understandable, traceable and validatable for human beings,” said Professor Katharina Morik. The scientists want to develop a kind of “wash tag” for algorithms: Simple symbols and “traffic light” status indicators should show which quality, energy and memory consumption algorithms have. After all, different criteria apply to different applications, according to Morik. Autonomous driving, for example, requires the highest quality class.

Another focus of the competence center is machine learning under resource constraints, which enables calculations even on small devices such as smartphones or directly in sensors. In addition, a third focus will combine machine learning with complex knowledge: Knowledge from different sources will be integrated into learning systems in order to ensure reliable results even with small or insecure data sets.

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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 Campus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dort­mund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Campus Nord). 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 Campus Nord to Campus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Campus Nord 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 20 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".

Dort­mund Airport offers flights to several destinations in Central Europe. There are regular connections to Katowice, Kraków, London and Munich. For the approximately 20km-trip from Dort­mund Airport to TU Dort­mund University, you can use a shuttle bus to the railway Station "Bahnhof Holzwickede", from which trains depart to Dort­mund main station (please visit Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr for more information). Normally, the fastest way is to catch a taxi at Dort­mund Airport.

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund University. There are two stations on Campus Nord. 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 Campus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Campus Nord and offers a direct connection to Campus Süd every five minutes.