New ELLIS Association Unit in Milan

Four universities together to create a European centre of excellence in artificial intelligence

The Milanese universities of Bocconi, Università Statale di Milano, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca and Politecnico di Milano have joined forces to establish a centre of excellence for research and training in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in Milan. The four universities have become one of the units of ELLIS, the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems.

Established in 2018, ELLIS is the association that brings together Europe's best artificial intelligence scientists and academics with the objective of promoting continent-wide scientific development on this crucial topic, unsurprisingly also considered fundamental by the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) for Italian recovery.

Along with Mayor Giuseppe Sala, the initiative was presented by the Rector of Bocconi University, Gianmario Verona, the Executive Vice Rector of the State University, Maria Pia Abbracchio, the Rector of Bicocca University, Giovanna Iannantuoni, and the Rector of the Politecnico, Ferruccio Resta.

The new ELLIS unit will have the task of establishing Milan as one of Europe's leading scientific centres for AI and machine learning. This research focuses on four areas: interactive machine learning, which examines how an algorithm interacts with the environment; neural networks and deep learning; health and computational biology, which applies AI to medicine; and the use of AI for the analysis and processing of natural language.

The Rector of the Politecnico, Ferruccio Resta, remarked:

The central role of artificial intelligence and machine learning issues, their uses and consequences on the economic and social fronts give technical and scientific universities a great responsibility. Technological development is anything but neutral: it is a complex process, as the four lines of research we have decided to outline illustrate: interaction with the environment; neural networks and deep learning; medicine; language. Consequently, it must be anticipated, managed and shared. Combining the best academic resources and developing Milan into a centre of excellence is our duty towards the development and growth, not only of our city, but also of the country and the university system, which is called upon more and more to operate according to a concept of interaction and exchange. The Politecnico di Milano is taking part in this initiative as part of a mutually beneficial partnership with other universities. A winning model to aspire to in a European context.

The Unit will be led by four proponents and scientific coordinators, one from each university, who will manage the Unit in rotation: Nicolò Cesa-Bianchi (Full Professor of Computer Science, Università Statale di Milano, who will lead the group as Director for the first year), Nicola Gatti (Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, Politecnico di Milano), Gabriella Pasi (Full Professor of Computer Science, Università di Milano-Bicocca Università degli studi di Milano Bicocca) and Riccardo Zecchina (Full Professor of Theoretical Physics, Università Bocconi).

Photo credits: Comune di Milano

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