Saarland Informatics Campus is a training facility for the AI elite

Bild der Pressemitteilung

From left to right: Bernhard Nebel, Wolfgang Wahlster, Theresa Tran (AI Newcomer), Elisabeth André, Susanne Biundo-Stephan, Stefan Wrobel, Wolfgang Bibel, Gunay Kazimzade (AI Newcomer), Christine Regitz (Jury Chairwoman), Otthein Herzog, Dieter Fellner (Jury), Hanes Federrath (Jury), Christoph Beierle (Jury) - kneeling: Jörg Siekmann, Bernhard Schölkopf (Photo: German Informatics Society)

The German Informatics Society (GI) and the Fraunhofer ICT Group honored the ten most influential figures in German AI history at their New Year’s reception entitled “Artificial Intelligence in Germany – yesterday, today, tomorrow”. Among the honored researchers are Professor Emeritus Wolfgang Wahlster and Senior Professor Jörg H. Siekmann. Both have taught and researched at Saarland University and are co-founders of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). In total, five of the ten honoured were employed at DFKI in Saarbrücken during their careers.

The jury justifies the selection of Wolfgang Wahlster with his decades of groundbreaking work in AI research. As Wahlster’s special achievements, the jury highlights the founding of DFKI in 1988 and its management until 2019, as well as his groundbreaking work on interactive voice response.

Jörg H. Siekmann’s honoring is based on his significant contribution to the establishment of an AI community in Germany. The jury particularly refers to his involvement in the founding of DFKI and his research in the field of automted theorem proving, which has also shaped the field internationally. In his teaching, he has inspired many students for AI, even at a time when the topic was not yet “en vogue”.

Two more of the honoured scientists have done research at Saarland University: Professor Elisabeth André (University of Augsburg) and Professor Bernhard Nebel (University of Freiburg) did their doctorates as doctoral students under Professor Wolfgang Wahlster at Saarland University. Professor Susanne Buindo-Stephan, another of the ten most influential figures in German AI history, was a senior researcher in the Intelligent User Interfaces research area at DFKI in Saarbrücken from 1989 to 1998.

Professor Dr. Dieter Fellner, chairman of the Fraunhofer ICT Group  and member of the jury, says about the selection of the ten formative minds in German AI history: “In times when one almost automatically looks to America when it comes to groundbreaking technological breakthroughs, it is all the more important to show that a large proportion of the research work on today’s number one trend topic has been carried out in Europe and also in Germany. The ten award winners are all role models for the young researchers of today who will ensure that Germany is an important location for innovation in the future.

The selection was preceded in May 2019 by a three-week open nomination phase during which more than 80 people were nominated. A jury of 18 transdisciplinary AI experts headed by the GI department “Artificial Intelligence” selected ten influential figures in German AI history from among the nominees.

Philipp Zapf-Schramm
Kompetenzzentrum Informatik Saarland
Saarland Informatics Campus
Telefon: +49 681 302-70741

Background Saarland Informatics Campus:

800 scientists and about 2000 students from 81 nations make the Saarland Informatics Campus (SIC) one of the leading locations for computer science in Germany and Europe. Six world-renowned research institutes, namely the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), the Max Planck Institute for Computer Science, the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, the Center for Bioinformatics, the Cluster for Multimodal Computing and Interaction, and the CISPA – Helmholtz Centre for Information Security, as well as three networked departments and 18 degree programs cover the entire spectrum of computer science topics.

Die Öffentlichkeitsarbeit am Saarland Informatics Campus wird unterstützt durch das Kompetenzzentrum Informatik Saarland, gefördert aus Mitteln des Europäischen Fonds für regionale Entwicklung (EFRE) und Mitteln der Staatskanzlei Saarland.

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