Scientists, companies and organizations that have significantly contributed to the development of artificial intelligence met on 1 November in Prague’s Vzlet for the presentation of the Czech AI Awards. The award, hosted by prg.ai, Brno.AI and CzechInvest, was awarded in five main categories. Josef Šivic won in the research and development category. His long-term top scientific work has been underlined this year by winning the prestigious ERC Advanced grant in the field of intelligent computer systems capable of learning in a dynamically changing world.
Josef is also actively advocating for the support of research and development by the state and scientific cooperation within AI Czechia or the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS).
„It is a great honor for me and I am very happy to receive the AI Award. I take it as an award for my entire team, which has the main credit for the results. I also thank CIIRC CTU, which creates an excellent scientific environment for us, and of course my family for their unceasing support,“ Josef Šivic does not hide his delight.
The expert jury selected from a total of 111 submitted nominations. Professor Jiří Matas, Daria Hvížďalová, Jiří Materna, Petr Baudiš, Petr Šrámek, Jaroslav Mašek, Lenka Kučerová, Jan Bárta and Matouš Kostlivý sat on the jury. The open nomination process took place during September and October 2023.
The AI Awards 2023 are the culmination of the monthly Dny AI event, which this year takes place in Brno, Pilsen, Ostrava and Prague. The organizers of industry awards are prg.ai, Brno.AI and CzechInvest. The main media partner are Hospodářské noviny and partners Wired CZ & SK and AI*nautes.
The ERC Advanced grant was awarded to Josef Šivic in 2023 to support his project called FRONTIER, in which Josef Šivic and his team will develop a new generation of large neuron models for machines that operate in a dynamic 3D world and interact with the surrounding environment.
The FRONTIER project combines computer vision, machine learning and robotics and aims to develop a new neural architecture that combines large-scale neural networks with learning physics simulation components. Today, artificial intelligence can solve tasks that are difficult for humans to handle, such as generating computer programs or creative images. On the other hand, other tasks that seem trivial to humans and do every day, such as perceiving and interacting with the surrounding environment, are very difficult for machines. Commonly used industrial robots are pre-programmed for one specific task and are not capable of solving other tasks in a changing three-dimensional world. And this is also a challenge for Josef Šivic and his team.
Dr. Josef Šivic is the head of the research group focused on intelligent machine perception at the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics at the Czech Technical University in Prague and the director of the ELLIS Unit Prague. From 2022, he is also the head of the AICzechia initiative, which brings together, through key experts in the fields of artificial intelligence, four dozen leading academic teams and workplaces, operating mainly at universities and research institutions in the Czech Republic. His research group also contributes to the long-term ranking of CTU among the top five European institutions in the field of computer vision (CSRankings for the period 2018 – 2023), and he himself is one of the best Czech computer scientists. (More information here).
After completing his master’s degree at CTU in 2002, he spent more than 15 years abroad, including doctoral studies at the University of Oxford in Great Britain, a postdoctoral stay at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA and more than ten years of work at the French National Research Institute of Informatics (Inria ) in Paris, France, where he received an ERC Starting grant. Since 2017, he has been working at CIIRC CTU, where in the years 2017-2023 he led the OP VVV IMPACT project financed in the amount of 111 million crowns, which enabled him to return to the Czech Republic. He is the co-author of more than 100 professional publications. His scientific work has won the Helmholtz Prize and the Longuet-Higgins Prize for fundamental contributions to computer vision.
Source foto: prg.ai, Tomáš Hejzlar