Towards a "European Lighthouse for AI”

"From Ambition to Action" - on September 14 and 15, 2021, members of the European and international community were invited to participate in a high-level conference on Artificial Intelligence. In the panel discussion "On enabling Conditions for AI in Europe" on 15.09.21, DFKI CEO Prof. Antonio Krüger outlined a concept for a "European Lighthouse for AI".

f.l.: Ieva Martinkenaite, Head of Analytics and AI, VP Telenor Research (Moderator); Jan Jona Javoršek, Head of Networking Infrastructure Centre, Jožef Stefan Institute; Antonio Krüger, Professor of Computer Science and CEO of the German Research Center for AI; Jo De Boeck, Executive Vice President & CSO, IMEC; Yvo Volman, Acting Director for Data, European Commission; Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, Member of the European Parliament

Blogpost by Antonio Krüger for the European AI Alliance

Europe as a continent is a hub for cutting edge AI. Today this is definitely true for the scientific edge. The European AI networks and research communities are essential to develop the trustworthy and neuro-symbolic AI that we need to mitigate climate change, to develop personalized medicine, create a circular economy and to achieve AI sovereignty for the EU.

But a hub usually implies a place. A place to go. The place to be, to discuss, to invent. We therefore must join the minds and the talents in a real hub, a European Lighthouse for AI. Not only as a symbol for European excellence and ambition across all of AI but also as a central landmark location for the European AI community to meet and exchange, plan and coordinate, as well as work and evaluate, targeted as a center for all of Europe (and beyond) with a clear human-centered focus!

Just as in CERN, the scientific activities will not replace the work done in all the other excellent AI research centers and organizations across Europe but will be driven by them and will open up completely new opportunities to jointly tackle some of the most important and largest problems in AI. As a core element of the center overall and a starting point, the European Lighthouse for AI will focus on Trusted-AI and all its related fields, enabling AI systems that for the first time can be trusted and formally certified by providing solid guarantees about their behavior. 

This „CERN for AI“ should have world-class compute facilities for AI and related computing and storage requirements, well connected to the European science grid at large, as well as major nearby HPC centers. It will provide functional spaces for the European AI community from academia to industry to come together for everything from single-day events to month-long collaborative working sessions, including spaces for large conferences, meetings, experiments, offices, accommodation, food, sports, and leisure. It will drive a strong testing and demonstration program and include suitable large-scale test labs and facilities for allowing hands-on practical testing, evaluation, and demonstration of AI systems. These testing facilities are the necessary complement to the scientific program but at the same time allow for demonstrating the latest achievements in European AI to the general public and the world at large as well as to industry and investors.

As the integration of different fields of AI becomes essential, the center offers the platform to bring these fields together and enable new research and applications. The bold scientific program will be extended over time to include many other areas of AI, such as robotics, visual computing, language technologies and will attract the world’s top talents to want to come and participate in joint activities. The European Lighthouse for AI will create an environment of scientific excellence, to foster innovation spirit that merges the chances of AI driven core technology with societal needs based on European values. 

To be honest, we are moving in this direction and are hopeful to report on some promising first steps in the near future.

(Published on European AI Alliance Blog)


The High-Level Conference on AI: From Ambition to Actionfollows up on the Proposal for a Regulation laying down harmonised rules on AI and the updated Coordinated Plan on AI, published by the European Commission on April 2021 as well as the previous editions of the European AI Alliance Assembly. The joint efforts of the Slovenian Presidency of the European Council and the European Commission in organising this event mark another important milestone aiming to bring policymaking efforts “From Ambition to Action" and turn Europe into a global hub of Excellence and Trust in AI.

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Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz