Annual reporting workshop of Chalmers AI research centre


On Nov. 3, the first (virtual) reporting workshop of Chalmers AI research centre (CHAIR) took place. We had more than 40 presentations of ongoing research projects financed or partly financed by CHAIR, 5 presentations from our external core partners (CEVT, Ericsson, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group), and one inspiring keynote talk on the subject advancing AI for social impact by Professor Milind Tambe, professor of computer science at Harvard University, director of center for research in computation and society, and also director of “AI for Social Good” at Google Research India. A video recording of the workshop will soon be posted online.

Here are some reflections from the seminar:

  • I was impressed by the amount and quality of novel AI research in both foundational and applied aspects that the centre was able to stimulate over its first 2 years of existence.

  • Through the center, we were able to leverage the faculty recruitment opportunities enabled by the generous funding provided by WASP to attract excellent young researchers to Chalmers. The centre is providing a great opportunity for these young researchers to familiarize themselves with the Chalmers research environment and to establish close connections with our external partners.

  • Close collaboration between CHAIR and Chalmers Gender Initiative for Excellence (GENIE) resulted in concrete steps towards increasing gender balance in the AI area at Chalmers.

The workshop was also helpful in identifying some of the challenges ahead for our Centre:

  • The AI research at Chalmers is still quite scattered and it appears natural to consolidate some of the research activities currently conducted at Chalmers by different research groups within the same broad area (e.g., foundational aspects of AI, AI for transport systems, …) in few, well-defined research programs. Performing such a consolidation, which will require some form of prioritization, is going to be very important for the future of our centre, also from the perspective of attracting additional external prestigious research grants.

  • We have now a strong participation of external research partners within the Centre. It will be important to define with them relevant research programs that are of interest to many external partners at the same time.
    The upcoming call for CHAIR consortium projects will give us the first opportunity to make solid progress in this direction.

  • AI technology is becoming more and more an integral tool in many research disciplines. Our data-science research engineers have done an excellent job in providing AI support to many research groups all over Chalmers (and more recently, also externally, within Chalmers efforts in providing support to our regional institutions during the Covid-19 pandemic). But there are still many research groups at Chalmers that are not currently part of the CHAIR ecosystems, which are actively using AI methods in their research areas, or are interested in applying them. Including them in an effective way will be crucial for our Centre to create the expected synergies.