Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Chair: Collaboration in the time of Covid

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Apart from the expected uncertainty of starting a new position, this year has certainly presented more than the usual set of challenges. But this update will not dwell on that, since it has been the start to an exciting year during which the Chair has been welcomed to (Télécom Physique Strasbourg) TPS and ICube and has been given a platform to expand his experience and knowledge and to pass this on through teaching and supervision.

Collaboration between two worlds: industrial and academic

The inauguration was the perfect opportunity to be introduced to all the actors involved, and to start this adventure. Since then, the Chair spent an intense period meeting the industrial partners and getting to know their needs and expectations. Ongoing collaborations have started well, with exciting directions being planned for the future. The Chair co-manages the engineering projects at TPS, which last year were all proposed by the industrial partners, and supervised by three of them. The students have surprised us with their enthusiasm to tackle these complex projects and the Chair has helped the partners to define the 2021 project proposals.

Other than these projects, the collaboration between the Chair and the partners has developed and the Chair participated in a round-table event at 360 Grand Est at the invitation of Électricité de Strasbourg, the topic being Le Plan IA en action : Les formations et la recherche en IA au service des entreprises. The Chair also holds regular meetings with the industrial partners to develop forthcoming research collaborations.

The Chair’s Research Team Grows

Mr Mihailo Obrenović from Serbia has joined the Chair as an Engineer, and he will focus on researching novel and interesting methods for learning multi-model representations using deep learning. The engineer will also assist the Chair with supervising next year’s engineering projects and in teaching. Furthermore, the Chair was awarded a PhD scholarship for an excellent student, Mr Zeeshan Nisar, from Pakistan, to do research on medical imaging with deep learning. A postdoc will join his team later in the year. He has also worked closely with Mr Christophe Collet and Ms Gisele Burgart to expand TPS’ visibility in front of industry.

Teaching the State-of-the-Art in AI

With the help of Mr Adlane Habet (Head of Computer Engineering, TPS) and Pr Nicolas Padoy (TPS/ICube/IHU) the Chair has found its place teaching in existing courses: it has added generative methods for machine learning to the 3rd year Applied AI course. It has also developed two new courses for the 2nd year SDIA option, one on applied Machine Learning, which will focus on real-world machine learning challenges and in which the students will act as a data science teams, and also Unsupervised Learning and Big Data, which will focus on the theoretical aspects of unsupervised deep learning.

The Chair’s Public Engagement

Public events evolved last year, along with the Chair’s participation in them. We recently gave an online talk at an AI seminar organised by Alsace Tech, remotely participated in the AI Breakfasts co-organised by the Council of Europe and the University of Strasbourg and will be remotely present on the accuracy of digital evidence in their February meeting. The Chair will also participate in a teacher training session, organised by the Rectorat de Strasbourg, to help secondary school teachers understand the meaning and implications of AI to help inspire the next generation of engineers. TPS has also received interest from the Député du Bas-Rhin, Mr Thierry Michels, who shares the sentiment that there should be a close collaboration between academia and industry, and Mr Christophe Collet and the Chair met with him to share their experiences on this topic.

To promote student participation in real-world engineering challenges, the Chair and TPS are organising a hackathon on AI and Data Science in partnership with Alsace Digitale, which will take place at TPS later in 2021.

Finally, all of these updates, and those to come, will be detailed on the website dedicated to the Chair’s activities that was launched last year : https://sites.google.com/view/chairdsai 


  • Chaire science des données et Intelligence Artificielle




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