How do I get into AI research

New center for AI research

The following example shows why AI is an important technology for society as a whole: Jaundice is one of the most common diseases in newborns. Around 60 percent show symptoms. In around 10 percent of the children affected, the disease is critical and, if left untreated, disabilities can have lifelong consequences. The diagnosis of the disease is easy and it can be treated with light therapy. However, shorter and shorter hospital stays can mean that the symptoms only appear when the parents are already at home.

With the help of a new AI model, researchers at ETH Zurich have succeeded in developing an app that can predict a baby's disease using just four indicators 48 hours before the first symptoms appear. "This app was developed in close collaboration between AI researchers and medical professionals," explains Julia Vogt, Professor of Medical Data Science. Interdisciplinary cooperation, for example, is a major challenge due to different thought patterns and a lack of mutual specialist knowledge. With the opening of the “ETH AI Center” - an ETH-wide center for AI research - ETH Zurich is creating space and resources to intensify AI research in terms of fundamentals, applications and effects.

"The ETH AI Center intensifies the interdisciplinary dialogue with business, politics and society through an innovative and trust-building development of artificial intelligence," says Detlef Günther, Vice President Research at ETH Zurich. In addition, the center is to become an incubator for AI start-ups and enable joint research projects with international experts in an open lab. It will also become part of the European AI research network ELLIS.

New rooms, new management

The center has already moved into premises in the university quarter, and new office and laboratory space will be available later in the Andreasturm in Oerlikon. As Executive Director, PD Dr. Alexander Ilic, who most recently worked as an entrepreneur and managing director of Magic Leap Switzerland. “I am very pleased that we have been able to win Alexander Ilic, a proven AI expert, for this task. He is a successful AI entrepreneur, knows the academic world and is very well connected in the AI ​​scene, ”says Andreas Krause, professor at the Institute for Machine Learning and head of the“ ETH AI Center ”.

Over 29 professorships in the core team

The new research center consists of core members, associate members and the AI ​​fellows. The core members include over 29 professors from seven departments who deal with basic AI topics such as machine learning or image and language comprehension. They also look after the new Fellows of the “ETH AI Center”, i.e. top AI talents who are recruited worldwide and funded with a grant. "In this way, we train experts who are able to implement interdisciplinary AI projects," says Günther. The ETH AI Center will also maintain connections with associated members who come to the center from all departments of the ETH, from other institutions and from the private sector in order to implement joint research projects.

Artificial intelligence based on ethical principles

The researchers at the “ETH AI Center” want to develop tools that support people in various areas in solving complex tasks efficiently. It is essential that the AI ​​models used work reliably and that their results are robust, explainable and fair. "Reliability and traceability are essential for AI research," explains Andreas Krause. "They concern highly relevant questions about the social effects and the ethics of AI." Especially in research areas such as health, mobility, architecture, energy or climate, in which ETH Zurich is ideally positioned, trustworthy AI solutions help to increase the acceptance of these technologies among the population. "Broad acceptance is a decisive competitive advantage," Krause is convinced.