Leistungen // Laterales Management

race for artificial intelligence

Last year a computer played against the world’s best go player and put up a remarkable performance. The computer had learnt how to play go by competing against other computers and in this way optimising itself.

This form of computer learning is called AI (artificial intelligence). Since 1988, the Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH (DFKI) has existed in Germany with sites in Kaiserslautern, Saarbrücken, Bremen (with an associated branch in Osnabrück) and a project office in Berlin. In the field of innovative software technology based on artificial intelligence methods, the DFKI is the leading German business-related research institute. It is involved in numerous bodies that promote Germany as a centre of science and technology and has an excellent reputation far beyond the boundaries of Germany in training young researchers. Currently 478 highly qualified researchers and 337 student assistants from more than 60 nations are working on 180 research projects at this establishment. It serves as a career springboard for young researchers to acquire leading positions in industrial companies or become self-employed by creating spin-off companies. Over the years more than 98 employees have been appointed as professors to chairs at universities and other higher education institutions in Germany and abroad.

DFKI is real competition for Silicon Valley

In the business world a race has currently been ignited between companies with a large number of hectic takeovers: in 2016 Intelacquired the start-up Nervana. Apple acquired Turi, a company which is set to support Apple with developing AI. However, in industry circles neither are regarded as front-runners. Google, Microsoft and Amazon are said to be the farthest advanced in artificial intelligence. VW too is pursuing AI; it is cooperating with the DFKI and investing in joint projects aiming at sensor-overlapping environment monitoring with collision recognition and avoidance as well as intuitive control through gestures.

With 42.5 million euros of third-party funds, the DFKI is the largest research centre in the field of AI, and poses real competition for Silicon Valley. If German corporations now get onboard as well, thena new chapter of the digital race will begin.