European leaders in Artificial Intelligence meet at UPC in Barcelona to promote the use of this technology in the EU

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, January 9, 10 and 11, almost 80 European Union organisations, including 60 leading research centers, gather at the Auditorium of the Vèrtex Building of the UPC, to kick off the European project AI4EU, the acronym for "Artificial Intelligence for the European Union". The project, which is financed to the tune of 20 million euros by the European Commission, includes 79 partners from 21 countries participate, among them 60 leading research centres, including the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and the UPC, which organize the encounter.

The AI4EU project aims to mobilise European leaders in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to make resources available to users based on this technology to facilitate scientific research and innovation, analyse the needs of future research in AI and create an ethics observatory that promotes human-centric Artificial Intelligence.

For this occasion, on January 10, at 8.30 a welcome and presentation ceremony of the AI4EU project will take place at the Vèrtex Building of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · Barcelona Tech (UPC), which will be attended by the Minister of Public Policy and Public Administration of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Jordi Puigneró; Lucilla Sioli, Director of Artificial Intelligence and Digital Industry of the General Directorate of CONNECT of the European Commission; Patrick Gatellier, coordinator of the AI4EU project, the rector of the UPC, Francesc Torres, and de director of Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), Mateo Valero.

AI4UE is part of the Coordinated Plan on AI that the European Commission (EC) presented on December 7 to promote the use of AI in Europe. The project has been awarded 20 million in funding from the EC itself and is coordinated by the French Thales Group. The meeting in Barcelona has been organised by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC), which are part of this project.


Presentation of the AI4EU project


The roadmap for the next ten years

The members of the initiative have undertaken to create an AI on-demand-platform to provide users with knowledge, algorithms and tools for artificial intelligence and power of calculation. It is also planned to create the 'Ethics Observatory AI4EU', which will ensure respect for the human ethical and legal values, and the AI4EU Foundation, which must guarantee the long-term sustainability of the project. Besides, the project should serve to define the roadmap for research, development and innovation in the field of artificial intelligence in Europe in the next ten years.

On April 25, 2018, the European Commission launched a Communication on Artificial Intelligence, preparing a path for the development of the AI platform. On December 7, 2018, the European Commission presented the Coordinated Plan for AI to promote the development and use of AI in Europe, prepared together with the EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland, who signed the declaration of cooperation on Artificial Intelligence.


Long experience in training and research

UPC has a long experience in training and research in Artificial Intelligence, especially concerning applications in robotics, image and speech processing, technology applied to people's health, urban mobility and self-employed vehicles. In addition to being part of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, equipped with supercomputer MareNostrum IV, the UPC has two research centers related to the AI: the Intelligent Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Research Center (IDEAI-UPC) and the Institute of Robotics and Industrial Informatics (IRI), a joint research center with the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC). IDEAI has more than 50 full-time researchers and 150 doctoral students, while IRI has 35 full-time researchers, a research scholarship awarded by the European Research Council (ERC) and 45 doctoral students, Scientific Excellence María de Maeztu (2017).

The Barcelona Supercomputing Center, which has more than 500 staff researchers, applies artificial intelligence in life sciences and computer sciences research and in applications for personalised medicine and innovation in industry and the company. The centre also has a specific research group to exploit the enormous capacity of calculation of the supercomputers to take full advantage of the technologies based on AI. In June 2018, the MareNostrum CTE-Power 9 cluster was launched, which is the first supercomputer in Europe with Power 9-VoltaGPU plates, the latest technology that exists at this time to combine the power of supercomputing with the expectations offered by Artificial Intelligence.

Among the 79 partners of the project are included, among others, the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (IIIA-CSIC) and the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM), Atos Spain, and SmartRural companies, the Technology Center Foundation CARTIFF.


Consortium members AI4EU


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