Germany makes strides in developing artificial intelligence

Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) have great potential to revolutionize healthcare and other industries. Recently, the online retailer Amazon announced it would invest millions in "Cyber Valley," a planned, interdisciplinary AI research cluster of excellence in southwestern Germany.

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The concept was developed last year at a meeting of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) and the companies Daimler, Bosch, Porsche, BMW, IAV, ZF Friedrichshafen and Facebook, as well as the universities of Stuttgart and Tübingen. Like the other partners, Amazon has pledged to provide 1.25 million euros in funding for joint research groups, as well as 420 thousand euros for young researchers at the MPI. It is also setting up its own research facility in the region, with a staff of 100.

The Director of Machine Learning at Amazon and general manager of the new facility, Ralf Herbrich, said, "With the Amazon Research Center, Amazon will become part of the greatest research partnership in Europe in the area of AI." The initiator of the "Cyber Valley" project, Max Planck Society President Martin Stratmann, welcomed the move: "We have gained another powerful partner that will increase yet again the international significance of research in the area of machine learning and perception in the Stuttgart-Tübingen area."

The MPI-IS is at the center of the new facilities. It evolved from the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research as science and industry have adapted to the process of digitalization. International and interdisciplinary cooperation are key for AI. The MPI notes that four of the institute's directors were recruited from the US. 

Cyber Valley's researchers will take up their work in 2018.

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