New AI Lab Under Construction at the University

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research approved almost two million euros – Important part of the university’s AI strategy

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research has approved funding of almost two million euros for an AI laboratory as part of its “Artificial Intelligence” funding programme. The application was submitted by the Director of the Institute for Software Engineering and Programming Languages, Prof. Dr. Martin Leucker. Other participant institutes at the university are the Institutes for Technical Informatics, Signal Processing, Information Systems, Medical Electrical Engineering, Neuroscience and Bioinformatics, Medical Informatics, IT Security, and Robotics and Cognitive Systems.

The AI lab includes the construction of a research and training platform with which secure, AI-based systems can be continuously developed. An initial and continuing training programme will be put in place for students at the university and, in particular, for economic partners, to meet the urgent need for AI experts both within and beyond the Lübeck region.

University of Lübeck well equipped when it comes to AI

“The AI lab is an important component of the University of Lübeck’s AI strategy,” said Prof. Dr. Stefan Fischer, the university’s Vice President for Transfer and Digitisation. “We are delighted to be able to offer our scientists an even better environment for their research on and with AI algorithms.”

“This success on the part of Professor Leucker and his colleagues clearly shows how well equipped the University of Lübeck already is when it comes to AI,” said Dirk Schrödter, Head of the State Chancellery in Kiel. “For the state government it is essential that the development of AI-based systems is advanced not only in the field of healthcare, but also in other economically important areas. The research lab is thus an ideal fit for the state’s AI strategy as recently presented by me.”

Friederike C. Kuhn, President of the Lübeck Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK), said: “Acquiring funds for such AI projects is of great significance for our region and for the transfer of knowledge between the economy and science. We are particularly pleased about the planned development of an ‘Executive Master Artificial Intelligence’ training programme, which people can participate in while working, thus creating a direct link to the regional link economy.”

Unique feature of complex robotic solutions

While in recent years numerous AI technologies have proven their practical worth when it comes to implementing complex systems, the practical, efficient creation of AI-based systems is a major challenge. This is partly due to the current complexity of using AI frameworks, and partly due to the lack of AI expertise among today’s developers. The approved project aims to tackle these deficiencies.

A particular feature of the intended solution is the provision of a mobile robotics platform which allows for the results obtained via machine learning to be tested in complex robotic solutions. When it comes to research, development, and training, the AI lab in Lübeck will provide similar infrastructure to what is already in place at the FabLab Lübeck, an open high-tech facility on the campus that is particularly aimed at students and entrepreneurs.

The robotics platform was created as part of the Open Lab for Robotics and Imaging in Industry and Medicine (OLRIM). The lab was installed at the University of Lübeck’s Institutes for Robotics and Cognitive Systems and Medical Engineering in May 2019, with the support of the state of Schleswig-Holstein. It acts as an interface for research and development activities in various fields, often in cooperation with economic partners. At the same time, the laboratory provides a platform for technology transfer and services.

Preparations are under way for the creation of a Centre for Artificial Intelligence Lübeck (ZKIL), in which institutes working on the topic will participate, and which will coordinate joint projects. Alongside the AI lab, the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Medicine (MEVIS), the Pattern Recognition Company GmbH (PRC), and other young AI-related start ups, the plan is for the centre to be based in a “House of AI” in the direct vicinity of the Campus, in Building MFC II.

Prof. Dr. Martin Leucker