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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
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.

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