Not only researchers from leading European institutions are convinced that artificial intelligence (AI) can play a significant role in solving serious problems of society, but also the European Commission, which decided to support their research with the amount of EUR 11 million (approx. CZK 270 million). The ELIAS project will connect the development of trustworthy AI as a driver for economic development and sustainable innovation. The teams of the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics of the CTU in Prague (CIIRC CTU) are the only representatives of the Czech Republic science involved in this project.
The European project ELIAS, which stands for European Lighthouse of AI for Sustainability“, is one of the most important networks of excellence in the field of AI and machine learning due to its scope and ambitions. It brings together 34 partners including universities, research institutions and industrial entities from 17 countries. In the next four years, they will develop new AI solutions to current pressingsocietal issues including environmental sustainability, equitable economic development and social well-being. The scope of the project goes across domains, including bridging the academic and business sectors at the European level. Artificial intelligence research will focus, for example, on the development of models for the analysis of climate change based on the monitoring of extreme phenomena in the atmosphere. The resulting algorithms will draw and combine data from many areas and use it in real time.
„In addition to the research itself, the project will also support the expansion of the network of excellence in the field of AI and machine learning – here our institute has an important role,“ says Dr. Josef Šivic, the head of the research group focused on Intelligent Machine Perception, who is also the principal investigator of the project at CIIRC CTU. „The project will also support mobility of young researchers and motivate them to establish innovative startups,“ adds the researcher, who, according to the Research.com ranking, is among the best computer scientists in the Czech Republic.
The project coordinator is the University of Trento. ELIAS will focus, for example, on the development of systems for cybersecurity prevention and mitigating disinformation, or on the use of artificial intelligence with environmental impacts, for example its use to identify the best materials for constructing green buildings and environmentally friendly industrial components. The main parameter will be the search for solutions that support and achieve social sustainability. The project will also develop models for monitoring the migration of people arriving in Europe and investigating their motivation.. Another addressed application will be the deployment of AI in the ethical dissemination of online advertising.
„Technological progress in the field of artificial intelligence must contribute to improving the quality of life of individuals and society. It is a multidisciplinary approach that is necessary for achieving the goals in the ELIAS network,“ says prof. Vladimír Mařík, scientific director of CIIRC CTU. „The participation of our institute in this project confirms that we belong to the elite European network of excellence in AI.“
ELIAS builds on the activities of existing European networks of excellence in the field of artificial intelligence and robotics, which have been supported in recent years by grants from the European Union with the aim of contributing to the development of ethical, trustworthy, and human-centric „AI made in Europe“ contributing to EU’s competitiveness . Since 2020, CIIRC CTU has been an active and recognized member of this ecosystem through its successful participation in the TAILOR, ELISE, euROBIN and VISION projects. Other projects that connect the main European actors in AI are AI4MEDIA, HumanE-AI-NET and ELSA. Together with the already established networks ELISE and ELSA, ELIAS is linked to the pan-European network of scientific organization ELLIS (European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems), which includes 41 units in 15 European countries. CIIRC CTU established the ELLIS Unit Prague under the leadership of Dr. Šivic as one of the first ELLIS Units already in 2019.