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Promotion of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Four Computer Science Groups at Freie Universität Berlin Join Forces in Dahlem Center for Machine Learning and Robotics

№ 081/2016 from Mar 23, 2016

At Freie Universität Berlin four computer science groups are combining their methods and applications to better investigate artificial intelligence and machine learning as well as additional possibilities for their application. The four groups are Intelligent Systems and Robotics led by Prof. Dr. Raúl Rojas, Logic and Automatic Proofs led by Dr. Christoph Benzmüller, Autonomous Vehicles led by Prof. Dr. Daniel Goehring, and Biomimetic Robotics and Collective Intelligence led by Dr. Tim Landgraf. The researchers are cooperating within the Dahlem Center for Machine Learning and Robotics.

The Dahlem Center for Machine Learning and Robotics (DCMLR) offers specialized lectures, seminars, and software projects that bring students at Freie Universität closer to current research. The courses include: pattern recognition / machine learning, computer vision, image processing, robotics, software projects on autonomous vehicles, reinforcement learning and deep learning, automated reasoning, artificial intelligence, and various seminars in all these fields.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have become more and more important. The huge success of question answering systems such as Watson by IBM, programs that can beat people at the game of Go, or autonomous vehicles indicates that humanity is on the threshold of many novel applications in industry and services.

Short Descriptions of the Four Groups

  • Intelligent Systems and Robotics (Prof. Dr. Raúl Rojas):

Since 1997 the Rojas Group has been offering courses on machine learning, in particular on neuronal networks, which are undergoing a renaissance today through so-called deep learning. Project teaching is at the heart of the group’s educational concept: students develop complete systems, for example, soccer robots that take part in the annual world championships. The group has been developing autonomous vehicles since 2006. In 2014 Prof. Dr. Raúl Rojas was named "University Teacher of the Year" by the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (Deutscher Hochschulverband) in recognition of his approach in combining research and teaching through various projects.

  • Logic and Automatic Proofs (PD Dr. Christoph Benzmüller):

Today modern formal systems enable computers to automatically search for proofs. Computers that interact with humans should not only show encyclopedic knowledge, but should also be able to argue logically. This is the research focus of the Benzmüller Group, whose members have been working for several years to develop automated reasoning systems, including the theorem prover of classical higher-order logic, LEO II, and its successor Leo III. LEO II, a former world championship system, was recently able to provide relevant new insights in ontological proof in the field of theoretical philosophy/metaphysics. Dr. Christoph Benzmüller received the Teaching Award of Freie Universität Berlin for his interdisciplinary courses that combine mathematics, computer science, and philosophy. In recent years the integration of machine learning techniques has led to significant advances in automated theorem proving, especially with respect to the detection of relevant axioms in large knowledge bases.

  • Autonomopus Vehicles (Prof. Dr. Daniel Goehring):

The Goehring Group is a new group that continues the development of autonomous vehicles at Freie Universität Berlin. Prof. Dr. Daniel Goehring develops control algorithms for the steering and computer vision of the vehicle's perception of the environment. Deep learning on specific hardware is being applied to object recognition. The autonomous vehicle developed at Freie Universität "AutoNOMOS" has a special permit for autonomous driving in Berlin. The car has been demonstrated to the media on many occasions. In 2015, the car drove 2400 km in Mexico, from the border of Arizona to Mexico City. It was an impressive demonstration of the development status of the autonomous vehicles of Freie Universität, whose researchers are currently involved in projects sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and the German Research Foundation (DFG).

  • Biomimetic Robotics and Collective Intelligence (Dr. Tim Landgraf)

The Landgraf Group engages in interdisciplinary projects with biologists, cognitive scientists, and neurobiologists working together to explore the mechanisms of collective intelligence. The team develops biomimetic robots to test hypotheses directly in interaction with the biological system. It applies the latest machine learning methods for the analysis of high-dimensional data sets. Computer vision systems for the observation of social insects and fish schools have also been developed. The group's robots can direct honeybee foragers via the bee dance and may also be used in water to examine the swarm behavior of fish. The group also develops quadcopters for testing hypotheses about the neural correlates of navigation flying in insects.

Links to the Homepages

More Information

Prof. Dr. Raúl Rojas, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-75102, Email: