Wolfgang Wahlster is a Professor of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a pioneer of AI in Germany and Europe. As a founding director of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and in his role as its long-time CEO and scientific director, he has developed DFKI into one of the world’s largest research institutions in this field with more than 1000 employees by 2019 and more than 100 successful spin-off companies. He has served as an elected President of three international AI organizations: IJCAII, EurAI, and ACL. He is an elected Fellow of AAAI, EurAI, and GI.
As a professor at the world-renowned Informatics Campus at Saarland University, he laid some of the foundations for natural language dialog systems, user modelling, and speech-to-speech translation. His current research areas are multimodal dialog systems for human-centered AI and cyber-physical production systems for the fourth industrial revolution (Industrie 4.0), a concept that he coined in 2010. He currently heads the steering group for a national AI standardization roadmap of the German government and serves the DFKI management board as Chief Executive Advisor (CEA). He is the President of the AI GRID and a member of the steering board of Germany’s platform for AI. Wahlster is a member of the Nobel Prize Academy in Stockholm, the German National Academy Leopoldina and three other prestigious academies. For his research, he has been awarded the German Future Prize, the First Class Cross of Merit and the Grand Cross of Merit by the Federal President of Germany. Other awards include four honorary doctorates from universities in Darmstadt, Linkoeping, Maastricht and Prague as well as an Honorary Citizenship of his hometown, Saarbruecken. For his substantial contributions to various fields of AI, Wolfgang Wahlster received the IJCAI Donald E. Walker Award in 2013 and the ICMI Sustained Accomplishment Award of the ACM in 2016. As a member of numerous advisory bodies of the German Chancellor and the Federal Government such as the Partners for Innovation, the Research Union and the Data Ethics Commission, he has co-founded innovation platforms such as Industrie 4.0 and Learning Systems. He holds a seat on ten industrial supervisory boards and technical advisory boards of large companies, medium-sized enterprises and start-ups.
With the fellowship program of hessian.AI, the Hessian Center for Artificial Intelligence, honors outstanding scientists who conduct internationally visible research in central areas of artificial intelligence and provide important impulses to the scientific community. The hessian.AI Fellowship honors research personalities with international appeal in order to initiate and promote the intensification of mutual networking and scientific exchange.