Day 3 of The Hessian AICon was all about „Startups and Impact“. 

The final day of the three-day conference started with opening remarks from TU Darmstadt President Prof. Tanja Brühl and Ayse Asar, State Secretary of the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and the Arts. The speakers warmly welcomed the participants and gave an overview of the success story of hessian.AI – The Hessian Center for Artificial Intelligence, highlighting the establishment of a strong infrastructure through the launch of the AI supercomputer fortytwo, hosted by the Green IT Cube on the GSI/FAIR campus of the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung, as well as building a unique AI ecosystem in Hesse, and attracting internationally renowned AI researchers to hessian.AI.

As the state of Hesse, we are tremendously proud of what hessian.AI has accomplished in such a short amount of time. Already today, hessian.AI proves to be a success story, shaping the AI ecosystem in Hesse.

Ayse Asar, State Secretary of the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and the Arts

Looking at the future, the State Secretary also stressed the importance of acting responsibly when dealing with AI, especially in light of the current debates about the active and personal usage of AI among the general public ever since the hype around ChatGPT. “In this context, AI is a gateway to a world full of opportunities and innovations. And to create those opportunities and innovations, it takes the brightest minds to collaborate in research and teaching. And that’s exactly what we find at hessisan.AI,” said Asar.

“What’s the current state of AI? What kind of opportunities does AI offer and what major challenges are we going to face in the future?” These questions were discussed in the panel discussion “The dAI after tomorrow – (no) future without AI?” with leading AI experts. Tech journalist, speaker, and podcast host Svea Eckert hosted the session. hessian.AI co-directors Kristian Kersting and Mira Mezini, Anna Jahn, Director, Public Policy and Learning of the AI4Humanity team at Mila (Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute), incoming TU professor Marcus Rohrbach, incoming TU professor Anna Rohrbach, the Chair of AI Methodology at RWTH Aachen University Holger Hoos, and Matthias Biel from Software AG, discussed how science, politics, and the economy can identify, explore, and ultimately manage the risks and weaknesses of this rapidly developing technology in the future.

One thing became very clear over the course of the panel discussion: artificial intelligence is already shaping, changing, and impacting everyday life at every level, and it will continue to do so. And therefore, we need to create appropriate frameworks and policies for this future technology to be able to ensure that artificial intelligence is handled responsibly in research, economy, and society at large.

Artificial intelligence is like a rough diamond.
It’s up to us to cut and polish it.

Prof. Mira Mezini, Co-Director hessian.AI

Another highlight of the day was the pitch session of the startups currently participating in the AI Startup Rising Ignition program: Green Convenience, TecLex, reLi Energy, DeepLS, and Veli. The AI Startup Rising incubator supports five young startups each with financial funding of 10,000 euros as well as a 6-module coaching program, in which the participating startups receive know-how and support to optimize and professionalize their AI technology stack, but also in terms of quality management, sales, venture capital, marketing, as well as IP and legal. 

Nils Gähler illustrated the challenges startups face when realizing AI product ideas, using the example of Wingcopter, a company founded in 2017 to develop AI-assisted drones for humanitarian causes.

Twelve startups took advantage of the open mic session to briefly present themselves and their AI innovations, including Wianco OTT Robotics with its process automation tool Emma, the startup Phont, which develops emotional fonts for subtitles, the digital emergency ambulance MySympto, and the sustainability startup Reegy.

With 47 exhibitors, the fair offered numerous opportunities for knowledge-sharing, networking, and inspiration. Visitors were able to meet innovative AI startups from across Hesse, as well as representatives of leading technology companies and sponsors such as Continental AG and the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung. In addition, they had the unique chance to get a glimpse of what the future of AI has in store for us through research-driven exhibits and demos, such as the “moral” robot “Alfie” from the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Lab at TU Darmstadt or the assistance robot “Temi” from the “Future Aging” project of Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences and PureSec.

About The Hessian AICon by hessian.AI

The Hessian AICon by hessian.AI, held from July 4th to 6th, provided an extensive insight into the realm of Artificial Intelligence and the AI ecosystem of Hesse and beyond.

Over the course of three exciting days, every facet of Artificial Intelligence was illuminated, discussed, and demonstrated. The AICon showcased the latest developments and trends in this dynamic field. After the Welcome Ceremony on July 4th, on July 5th, the spotlight was on “Research & Technology,” featuring captivating talks and invaluable networking opportunities. This was the chance to meet distinguished researchers and experts from both academia and industry, expanding your professional network. July 6th was all about “Startups & Impact,” offering numerous networking possibilities with startups from the AI ecosystem and industrial partners. Explore the Hessian AI ecosystem at the exhibition and experience AI up close through impressive demonstrations.

The first public day of the Hessian AICon on July 5th was dedicated to “Research & Technology.” Renowned speakers and leading AI experts presented current findings and discussed developments in the field of AI fundamental research to an audience of over 400 interested participants.

They were welcomed by a video message from Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Federal Minister of Education and Research, who, like Prof. Mira Mezini and Prof. Kristian Kersting the evening before, emphasized that AI must serve humanity. She also highlighted the excellence of Germany’s research landscape, particularly in the field of AI in Darmstadt:

AI research in Germany is well-positioned, and Darmstadt is part of it. […] hessian.AI, the Center for Artificial Intelligence, is now a fresh part of the network of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). TU Darmstadt has also succeeded in the competition to establish an AI service center as one of four locations. […] hessian.AI is driving cutting-edge research forward.

AICon Day 2 Bettina Stark-Watzinger
© hessian.AI, photo by Jan Riedel

The presentations were opened with a keynote by Prof. Wolfgang Wahlster, Chief Executive Advisor of DFKI, who was honored with the second hessian.AI Fellowship the previous evening. He took the audience on a journey through the world of advanced language models. What started as “Superparrots” has now evolved into human-like dialogue understanding – with all the associated opportunities, risks, and challenges.

With speakers such as Mirella Lapata (University of Edinburgh), Tim Baldwin (Mohamed bin Zayed University of AI), Emtyiaz Khan (RIKEN Center Japan), as well as Humboldt Professors Angela Yu, Marcus Rohrbach, and Georgia Chalvatzaki (all TU Darmstadt), the program covered nearly the entire spectrum of current AI research, including NLP, facial recognition, robotics, and multimodal artificial intelligence.

The conference day concluded with Martin Jaggi from EPFL delivering a talk on collaborative and decentralized learning, and Holger Hoos, Humboldt Professor at RWTH Aachen, discussing the future of AI in Europe.

About The Hessian AICon by hessian.AI

The Hessian AICon by hessian.AI, held from July 4th to 6th, provided an extensive insight into the realm of Artificial Intelligence and the AI ecosystem of Hesse and beyond.

Over the course of three exciting days, every facet of Artificial Intelligence was illuminated, discussed, and demonstrated. The AICon showcased the latest developments and trends in this dynamic field. After the Welcome Ceremony on July 4th, on July 5th, the spotlight was on “Research & Technology,” featuring captivating talks and invaluable networking opportunities. This was the chance to meet distinguished researchers and experts from both academia and industry, expanding your professional network. July 6th was all about “Startups & Impact,” offering numerous networking possibilities with startups from the AI ecosystem and industrial partners.

The Hessian AICon, the largest AI conference in Hesse, was inaugurated with a grand Welcome Dinner on the evening of July 4th.

Two prominent Hessian ministers, Prof. Dr. Kristina Sinemus, Hessian Minister for Digital Strategy and Development, and Angela Dorn, Minister for Science and Art, sent video messages to greet the guests of the Welcome Dinner and officially kick off the AICon.

Today we have come together to kick off the three-day hessian.AI event ‘AICon 2023’. It is a key milestone in the world of Artificial Intelligence. As our center for Artificial Intelligence, hessian.AI’s mission is simple: to make AI widely available and comprehensible for research, industry, and society as a whole, while thoughtfully addressing the possibilities and challenges that it harbors. hessian.AI is an excellent example of forward-looking research, dedicated to realizing the full potential of AI.

Prof. Dr. Kristina Sinemus, Hessian Minister for Digital Strategy and Development
© hessian.AI | photo by Jan Riedel

Thirteen universities have collectively developed the concept of hessian.AI and submitted it to the state government for funding: The center combines the strong basic research of the leading Technische Universität Darmstadt with the subject-specific research of other universities as well as the practical research of the universities of applied sciences […]. Since its founding in the fall of 2020, an independent evaluation committee has attested that hessian.AI can serve as a beacon far beyond the state’s borders. You can see this radiance at this conference and in the resonance it generates. Even now, hessian.AI is a success story that has a lasting impact on the AI ecosystem in Hessen.

Angela Dorn, Minister for Science and Art

Prof. Mira Mezini and Prof. Kristian Kersting, Co-Directors of hessian.AI, also extended their warm welcome to the guests. Mezini’s and Kersting’s dinner speech encompassed the entire trajectory of AI research, from the beginnings at the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence in 1956 to current efforts to regulate AI – such as the “Pause AI” petition. The two enthusiastic AI researchers concluded that Europe must pool its strengths in the field of AI for the benefit of humanity, in other words, “AI for Good.”

© hessian.AI | photo by Jan Riedel

Nothing could have been more fitting after this call than the presentation of the second hessian.AI Fellowship to Prof. Wolfgang Wahlster. He has shaped AI research from its infancy and has significantly advanced the public perception of AI, not only during his time as founding director and CEO of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). Towards the end of this ceremony, Wahlster was visibly delighted to announce an honor of his own: Prof. Kristian Kersting will become an elected member of the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz, as proposed by Wahlster.

This wonderful surprise beautifully rounded off the evening. After the conclusion of the stage program, the guests had ample time for networking, professional exchanges, and conviviality, setting the stage for two upcoming conference days filled with anticipation.

About The Hessian AICon by hessian.AI

The Hessian AICon by hessian.AI, held from July 4th to 6th, provided an extensive insight into the realm of Artificial Intelligence and the AI ecosystem of Hesse and beyond.

Over the course of three exciting days, every facet of Artificial Intelligence was illuminated, discussed, and demonstrated. The AICon showcased the latest developments and trends in this dynamic field. After the Welcome Ceremony on July 4th, on July 5th, the spotlight was on “Research & Technology,” featuring captivating talks and invaluable networking opportunities. This was the chance to meet distinguished researchers and experts from both academia and industry, expanding your professional network. July 6th was all about “Startups & Impact,” offering numerous networking possibilities with startups from the AI ecosystem and industrial partners.

State program provides nearly two million euros for research

Wiesbaden. Prof. Dr. Mira Mezini has been awarded a top LOEWE professorship at Darmstadt Technical University (TU). The LOEWE research funding program of the state of Hesse is providing around 1.9 million euros over a period of five years to endow her professorship. This was decided by the LOEWE Administrative Commission on the recommendation of the LOEWE Program Advisory Board.

International expert for software technology

“Prof. Dr. Mezini is an excellent and also internationally highly visible expert in software engineering, who already in 2012 was the first German computer scientist to acquire a prestigious ERC Advanced Grant from the European Research Council. She is also dedicated to the socially highly relevant topics of data protection, data security and artificial intelligence,” explains Science Minister Angela Dorn. “Especially in disciplines such as computer science, the competition for the best minds has intensified significantly. The LOEWE top professorships help to bring internationally sought-after researchers to Hessen or to keep them here. With the LOEWE funds for material or personnel resources, we create conditions that can keep up not only with international universities, but also with commercial enterprises.”

“I warmly congratulate Mira Mezini on being awarded a LOEWE Top Professorship,” said Prof. Dr. Tanja Brühl, President of TU Darmstadt. “Mira Mezini shapes the outstanding competence of TU Darmstadt in the field of artificial intelligence and cybersecurity with her excellent research and in the exchange with our partners in science, industry and society. As co-director of the Hessian Center for Artificial Intelligence hessian.AI, she not only shapes AI made in Darmstadt, but also the Hessian AI ecosystem with great passion and radiance. As a member of the ATHENE Board, she is also shaping cybersecurity far beyond Hesse. We are therefore extremely pleased that a highly esteemed colleague will remain at TU Darmstadt thanks to support from the state of Hesse.”

Prof. Dr. Mira Mezini received her PhD from the University of Siegen and was Visiting Assistant Professor at Northeastern University in Boston (USA) before being appointed to the TU Darmstadt in 2000. There she is head of the software engineering department in the computer science division. Mira Mezini is Co-Director of hessian.AI. She plays important roles in a number of collaborative projects, such as those of the German Research Foundation and the Hessian funding program LOEWE, and holds leading positions, for example, as a member of the Board of the National Research Center for Applied Cybersecurity ATHENE. She conducts research in programming languages and software engineering and was among the pioneers of machine learning techniques for automatic completion of programs. Prof. Dr. Mezini’s focus under the LOEWE Top Professorship will be research on programming foundations for the development of reliable and trustworthy decentralized interactive-learning software systems.

LOEWE Top Professorships allow excellent, internationally recognized researchers to receive between 1.5 and 3 million euros for five years to endow their professorship.

LOEWE Start Professorships are aimed at excellent scientists at an early stage of their career, who are awarded up to two million euros for a period of six years.

Invitation to the opening of »Final View« on Thursday, June 22, from 7 pm

During her residency from May 10 to June 27, Hedayati collaborated with hessian.AI to develop a techno-artistic machine learning strategy to evaluate a database of her own biological signals and breathing patterns and make them experiential as a dynamic sound piece. Iranian-Canadian artist Mona Hedayati’s interdisciplinary research practice draws on computer art, posthumanism, sound design, and affect studies, the study of emotional responses to real events and structures. Her research moves within the field of Science & Technology Studies (STS), which is used to redefine the relationship between science, technology, and society.

© Mona Hedayati

»Breathless« | Artist-in-Science-Residence

In her current work “Breathless” Hedayati focuses on the affective mediation of complex experiences such as that of her exile. For this, she constructs sonic-performative spaces in which the traces for a deeper understanding of such experiences are laid via a sensory experience. A database of her own biological signals and breathing patterns, triggered by her engagement with audiovisual material of personally relevant traumatic events of socio-political oppression, serves as a foundation. The goal of her residency is to develop new experimental working methods that productively bring together art and AI.

In collaboration with hessian.AI, Mona Hedayati aims to develop a machine learning strategy to capture her durational database as an agile encyclopedic entity capable of dynamically representing itself. Their core question is whether and how a common language can be developed that multidirectionally mediates between problem-oriented discourses in the social sciences and humanities, contemporary art, and the rhetoric of pragmatism, scientific objectivity, and innovative progress. hessian.AI, the Hessian Center for Artificial Intelligence founded in 2020, is a unique cross-university and cross-academic network of 13 Hessian universities. Hessian.AI researches novel AI systems that have mature human-like thinking and communication capabilities and that can be classified as belonging to the so-called Third Wave of AI.

Opening on Thursday, June 22, starting from 7 pm
Atelierhaus LEW1, Ludwig-Engel-Weg 1, Darmstadt

The exhibition at LEW1 will be open from June 23 to 25, 11 am to 7 pm each day.

“In keeping with my hyphenated identity, my work engages with hybrid West-East perspectives: on the one hand, I […] think about the embeddedness of technology in our social realities [which] I frame by considering humans and machines as active recognizers and emergent ecologies […] constantly renewing themselves through shifting agencies and leaky borders. On the other hand, as a migrant from the Middle East, I understand my work as a socio-political intervention that utilizes the coupling of humans and machines to compose dynamic atmospheric interactions. I am honored to have been selected as the Artist-in-Science Residence fellow working with the Hessian Center for Artificial Intelligence to raise awareness of persistent sociopolitical injustices.”

Mona Hedayati

“hessian.AI explores the third wave of AI: machines that can recognize even when they know nothing at the current moment and cannot draw conclusions. This makes lifelong learning – analogous to us humans – all the more important in order to deal with new situations. Added to this is the recognition and handling of human emotions by AI to improve interaction between humans and machines. Mona Hedayati addresses both aspects in her project in a unique artistic way.”

Dr. Wolfgang Stille,
CTO hessian.AI

The new AI supercomputer of the Hessian Center for Artificial Intelligence (hessian.AI) is named fortytwo. This was announced today by hessian.AI, a center funded by three Hessian ministries with the goal of promoting excellent cutting-edge research in the AI field and making it more widespread. This includes central investments in AI compute infrastructures as well as services for users based on them.

fortytwo was designed and installed by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) based on the Apollo 6500 system. The AI supercomputer is specifically designed to answer research questions and their applications in the context of the third wave of AI. The new computing cluster is specifically designed for machine learning and training large AI models. The 14.5 million project was significantly enabled by three Hessian ministries (the Hessian Ministry of Science and the Arts, the Hessian Ministry of Digital Strategy and Development, the Hessian Ministry of Economics, Energy, Transport and Housing) and the German Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Education (BMBF) through the AI Service Centers funding line. 

In fortytwo‘s engine room, a total of 632 NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core GPUs, each with 80GB of memory, as well as four IPU units from Graphcore are performing their duties. These are distributed across 80 compute nodes, which are interconnected via an NVIDIA Quantum Infiniband high-performance network. To provide the system with data quickly, 1.2 petabytes of central flash storage (IBM Spectrum Scale) is available over the same high-performance network. The system’s measured peak performance is around 8 PFlops. This places the system among the top 100 supercomputers in the world.

In much the same way that the number 42 serves as the answer to “the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything” in Douglas Adam’s classic “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” the new supercomputer fortytwo will help researchers and users at the AI Center find new insights and answers to complex questions in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

fortytwo is hosted by the Green IT Cube on the GSI/FAIR campus in the north of Darmstadt. This is one of the most powerful scientific computing centers in the world. At the same time, it sets standards when it comes to saving energy: Thanks to its special design and efficient cooling system, it is particularly energy- and cost-efficient: the energy required for cooling amounts to less than seven percent of the electrical power used for computing. The TU Darmstadt and the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research have maintained a successful cooperation in the field of joint use of infrastructures for research for many years.

The decoding of the human mind is comparable to the exploration of the Big Bang and the human genome. AI systems such as ChatGPT could make this dream a reality, as they are based on extensive text training and can handle multiple tasks. hessian.AI, as the nucleus of an AI ecosystem, promotes such breakthrough opportunities in science, business and society. The AI supercomputer fortytwo is the cornerstone of powerful AI applications, providing computing power to enterprises and research institutions. Together, thanks to fortytwo, we can shape a European ‘Artificial Reason’ that reflects the European values of freedom and democracy. Thanks to all stakeholders for the trust. fortytwo could be the cornerstone for a groundbreaking ‘CERN for AI’ initiative.

Kristian Kersting, Co-Director hessian.AI

Fortytwo is a building block of the strong hessian.AI ecosystem. With fortytwo, we establish a unique infrastructure for scientists and users alike. This creates excellent conditions for transferring the excellent AI research at TU Darmstadt and all universities involved in hessian.AI into practical applications. With the help of robust, secure and efficient AI systems, we can develop solutions for global challenges and major issues for the future – in exchange with our partners in business and society. I am pleased that we can continue to realize this goal in hessian.AI thanks to the great support of the Hessian State Government and the Federal Government

Tanja Brühl, President of TU Darmstadt

The new wave of AI has the potential to enable breakthroughs in research areas such as climate prediction, disease diagnosis, and drug development. This requires exceptional supercomputing power to effectively train large AI models that lead to faster insights and solve problems. We look forward to advancing this mission for hessian.AI with fortytwo, which consists of HPE supercomputers and the HPE Machine Learning Development Environment. The solution simplifies and accelerates the development and deployment of AI environments that enable developers and data scientists to train models and collaborate on AI projects.

Evan Sparks, Chief Product Officer, Artificial Intelligence, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

The NVIDIA Accelerated Computing Platform is at the heart of the new fortytwo supercomputer. The compute nodes, which are particularly tightly connected via NVIDIA NVLink and InfiniBand, enable the highly scaled and high-performance computation of the most demanding neural networks such as Large Language Models (LLM). This allows even the largest models with several hundred billion parameters to be efficiently distributed across the AI cluster, which can thus make an important contribution to Europe’s AI sovereignty. We are excited about the positive impulse on AI research and will closely support hessian.AI through the upcoming collaboration.

Carlo Ruiz, Head of EMEA AI Data Center Solutions, NVIDIA

Dominik L. Michels, Professor of Intelligent Algorithms in Modeling and Simulation at Darmstadt University of Technology, and member of hessian.AI, was recently elected to the Mathematical and Natural Sciences Class of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

The academy is the oldest continuously existing institution among the eight scientific academies in Germany, that are united under the umbrella of the Union of German Academies of Sciences and Humanities. It was founded in 1751 as the Royal Society of Sciences by King George II of Great Britain, who was also Elector of the Holy Roman Empire as well as Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, which included the university city of Göttingen.

The academy functions as a community of scholars whose members are divided into two classes with equal rights: The Mathematical and Natural Sciences Class and the Humanities and Social Sciences Class. Each class comprises a maximum of forty native members from the Northern German region and a maximum of one hundred corresponding members from Germany and abroad.

Among the alumni of the academy are Albert Einstein, Carl Friedrich Gauss, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Otto Hahn, Werner Heisenberg, the brothers Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt, Felix Klein, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg and the polymath Albrecht von Haller who also served as the first president of the academy.

In the field of computer science, Turing Award laureate Stephen A. Cook and mp3 pioneer Georg Musmann currently belong to the academy. The mathematician and Fields medalist Gerd Faltings is also a corresponding member of the academy. Furthermore, the Göttingen Academy can boast a total of 74 winners of the Nobel Prize.

Preparations are in full swing. Less than two months to go to the public opening of the Hessian AICon, our three-day conference on AI!

Check out the speakers, learn about the topics and spread the word to your networks!

If you haven’t secured your ticket yet, do so now 👉 The Hessian AICon.

Computer scientist Christin Seifert becomes hessian.AI professor in Marburg

Prof. Dr. Christin Seifert has been appointed to a newly established professorship for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Philipps University Marburg, effective April 1, 2023. It is also one of the first professorships at the Hessian Center for Artificial Intelligence, hessian.AI. The professorship combines research at the hessian.AI center with research and teaching at the University of Marburg and advances AI research in Hesse in this network.

With the appointment of the hessian.AI professorship, Marburg takes an important step forward in research on AI as well as in the at least equally important task of translating the topic into social and economic practice

Thomas Nauss, President of Philipps University and founding member of hessian.AI

Seifert’s research focus is on “intelligent decision support systems,” particularly in medicine. How can we succeed in increasing trust in learning machines, especially in sensitive fields of application? This question drives Christin Seifert’s research. After all, learning machines are finding their way into more and more areas of life and are involved in important decisions, for example in medicine. Seifert is therefore researching, among other things, how to make the algorithms underlying artificial intelligence explainable.

We cannot and should not stop developments in artificial intelligence. However, we should find a balance between blind euphoria and irrational fear when dealing with AI.

Christin Seifert, hessian.AI member

While Seifert is a member of the hessian.AI center and performs her research services within hessian.AI in Darmstadt, she strengthens research and teaching at the Lahnberge campus in Marburg. Her interdisciplinary approach is intended to expand existing collaborations between the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and other departments, especially the Department of Medicine, and to result in joint research projects.

The Dean of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and also member of hessian.AI, Bernd Freisleben, emphasizes, “Seifert is addressing the medical issues of her current research with very innovative approaches from computer science. This is evidenced by numerous awards she has received for her research. She is well networked internationally and also works in an interdisciplinary manner with researchers from other disciplines. Many departments at Philipps University could benefit from her broad thematic connectivity.”

With Christin Seifert, we are filling one of the first hessian.AI professorships at Philipps-Universität Marburg. Her renowned and internationally recognized expertise and research in the area of Deep Decision Support Systems provides an interdisciplinary contribution to AI research in Hesse and beyond and will further strengthen and advance the center and its broad-based research expertise. We look forward to this addition to our ranks and the upcoming collaboration.

Mira Mezini and Kristian Kersting, Co-Directors hessian.AI

About the person

Christin Seifert received her PhD from TU Graz, Austria, in 2012 after studying computer science at TU Chemnitz. After working as a PostDoc at the University of Passau, a substitute professorship at the TU Dresden and a position as Associate Professor at the University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands, she has held a W3 professorship for Medical Data Science in Oncology at the University of Duisburg-Essen since 2019.

Department receives two new LOEWE professorships

2023/02/21 by HMWK/Michaela Hütig

The Technical University of Darmstadt and hessian.AI continue to expand its leading international position in artificial intelligence (AI) research: hessian.AI and TU Darmstadt receive two new LOEWE professorships for multimodal learning. One LOEWE Top Professorship is awarded to Dr Marcus Rohrbach, who is at the same time taking up his Humboldt Professorship at TU Darmstadt, and one LOEWE Start Professorship to Dr Anna Rohrbach. Both LOEWE professorships are funded with funds from the LOEWE research programme of the State of Hesse totalling five million euros.

The new LOEWE professorships will be established at hessian.AI and expand its AI research expertise. The appointment of the AI researchers effective 1 September is a great success for the TU Darmstadt and hessian.AI. With their professorships in “Multimodal Grounded Learning” and “Multimodal Reliable Artificial Intelligence”, Marcus and Anna Rohrbach are strengthening a research field in which the Hessian Center at TU already plays a leading international role.

The two researchers will pioneer the research goal of developing intelligent systems in harmony with the European value system at the hessian.AI and the Department of Computer Science – both at university level and across the country and Europe.

© private

Research at the interface of image recognition and language

Marcus Rohrbach is moving from AI research at Facebook parent company Meta in California to Darmstadt and will be conducting basic research in the field of multimodal learning at the interface of image recognition and language as part of his LOEWE Excellence Professorship. He will advance AI models that learn from uni- and multi-modal data and have a wide range of functions. The aim is to develop a dependably acting and thus trustworthy AI that can communicate with humans and support them in all tasks and scenarios. Marcus Rohrbach had already been awarded a Humboldt Professorship at TU Darmstadt by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for his research in November last year. He now accepted this appointment.

TU President Professor Tanja Brühl remarked that with Marcus Rohrbach, the TU Darmstadt would welcome a pioneering colleague to a Multimodal Reliable Artificial Intelligence professorship. “As an internationally recognized top researcher, he has a remarkable profile at the interfaces of various sub-fields of AI”, she emphasized. “He will be an outstanding addition to the AI expertise at TU Darmstadt and in hessian.AI and will significantly promote cooperation in a wide range of networks. After being awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, Marcus Rohrbach now receives a LOEWE Excellence Professorship – an outstanding success!”

Develop AI models with human-like abilities

Anna Rohrbach moves from the University of California (UC) Berkeley to Darmstadt and will provide innovative contributions at the interface of image recognition (computer vision) and natural language processing (NLP) as part of her LOEWE Start Professorship. She will develop and research AI models that are supposed to possess abilities similar to those of humans. This multimodal AI should be able to communicate with humans, be anchored in reality and learn from language.

TU President Brühl explained: “With Anna Rohrbach, we are gaining an internationally visible and up-and-coming researcher for a professorship in Multimodal Grounded Learning at TU Darmstadt and in hessian.AI. With her innovative contributions at the interface of image recognition and Natural Language Processing, Anna Rohrbach’s work perfectly complements our Information and Intelligence research field in the area of Third Wave AI research. I am very much looking forward to working with an inspiring colleague!”

“Two outstanding researchers for the department”

Marcus Rohrbach’s LOEWE Top Professorship runs for five years and is endowed with a total of around 4.5 million euros. The share of LOEWE funding is three million euros, with the TU Darmstadt bearing the remaining part. Anna Rohrbach’s professorship is worth a total of around 4.1 million euros for the six-year period. LOEWE funding comprises two million euros, with the TU Darmstadt contributing the remaining share.

The Dean of the Department of Computer Science at TU Darmstadt, Felix Wolf, said: “We are delighted to attract two outstanding researchers to the department in Anna and Marcus Rohrbach. Close collaboration on existing and new projects gives our strong AI research focus further tailwind to realise our vision of reliable AI. Our students will also benefit from more hands-on AI courses.”

Marcus Rohrbach

After completing his doctorate at the Max Planck Institute for Computer Science in Saarbrücken, Marcus Rohrbach first conducted research at UC Berkeley and from 2017 at Facebook AI Research (FAIR). His research results are published in several AI fields at major conferences and by the most important journals for computer vision, computational linguistics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. He also won various scientific competitions.

Anna Rohrbach

Anna Rohrbach received her PhD from Saarland University in 2017 and then moved to UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision and natural language processing multimodal learning. She won various scientific prizes and awards and published her research results in renowned journals and at major conferences.

More information about LOEWE

More information about TU Darmstadt