AI: Elias puts UniTrento on the European map of innovation
The University of Trento is the coordinator of a European research network of excellence in artificial intelligence and sustainable development
A research network of excellence that brings together some of the most important research institutes in Europe, coordinated by the University of Trento. The project has been dubbed Elias - European Lighthouse of AI for Sustainability, has been funded by the European Union and is focused on artificial intelligence research as a driver for sustainable innovation and economic development. Artificial intelligence, AI, has been in the news a lot recently and countless research groups around the world are working to develop and implement the most advanced technologies in the most diverse sectors. But the key to being truly competitive in this field is to aim for broader and more ambitious goals. Especially if your goal is to establish Europe as a leader in AI research. This goal can only be achieved by working in a network, which is precisely what the Elias project is doing, a rare example of collaboration in Europe.
Elias in fact will try to build a critical mass in machine learning and become a point of reference thanks to its 34 partner organizations and other affiliated members. With this network of collaboration, the European Union aims to become a leader in the field of machine learning. In the next four years, researchers will work hard to develop new computational systems and mathematical models to provide original and feasible answers to pressing current issues. For Elias, the challenge is therefore to bring together the academic and business worlds at the European level.
The tools to achieve this are research, international mobility for doctoral students and support to young talents who, at the end of their studies, will be able to launch innovative start-ups. The areas of research are different, but intertwined. Artificial intelligence, for example, can help identify the best materials to build green buildings or low impact industrial components. Or to monitor the migration of people coming to Europe and study the motivations that drive them to leave. But also to develop cyber-attack prevention systems and climate change analysis models.
The University of Trento will coordinate the activities of the partners – universities, research centres and private companies – that have joined forces to contribute to today's challenges: environmental sustainability, equitable economic development and people's well-being. Niculae Sebe, professor at the Department of Information Engineering Computer Science (DISI) and contact person for the project, explains what is meant by sustainability: "We want technological innovations in the field of machine learning to improve the quality of life of people, society and the entire planet. Our job will be to create algorithms that find solutions to achieve this sustainability".
The Ellis Network
Elias is part of the Ellis network, the European laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems of which UniTrento is part. It has obtained funding for over 13 million euro. At the local level, Fondazione Bruno Kessler, leader of communication and dissemination activities, also participates in the network, which includes leading international companies such as IBM, a giant in the IT industry, Bosch, a worldwide manufacturer of industrial components for the automotive sector, and Bitdefender, a global provider of computer security products and services and antivirus software. Looking ahead, Elias will help train future generations of IT experts thanks to mobility programmes, internships, PhD programmes, summer schools, and challenges that will lead to the creation of start-ups. It also includes a 500,000 euro allocation to provide scholarships, and will generate further opportunities for new companies through cascading calls.
"Our University will play a central role in the European map of artificial intelligence," emphasises Sebe. "Elias aims to drive sustainable innovation, promote social cohesion and develop reliable artificial intelligence. We are committed to ensuring that technologies are available to businesses and citizens and have a positive impact on society".