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Season’s Greetings 2023 from FCAI

The creative potential of AI systems, and their underlying safety, have been big topics of discussion this year. Digital sovereignty and preparedness are also emerging as major themes, as accelerating technology development meets geopolitical shifts. These issues involve fundamental AI research questions, where FCAI’s research is crucial, and are also central to FCAI’s advocacy for attracting the best talent to Europe and Finland and cooperation with national and international partners to bolster artificial intelligence competency. One example is our partnership with the new UK AI Centre of Doctoral Training at the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge.

Keep reading for some of FCAI’s news highlights this year.
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Image: Aaron Burden, Unsplash

ELLIS Institute and national and international cooperation

ELLIS Unit Helsinki, the local node of the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems, has had an active year of activities, from hosting the ELLIS Doctoral Symposium to launching a series of ELLIS Distinguished Lectures. The Unit has also welcomed new members from around Finland. Our plans for growing the Unit into an ELLIS Institute have gathered support from over 20 top companies, the Technology Industries of Finland, the Confederation of Finnish Industries, and all the current Research Council of Finland Flagship projects. The Technology Industries and its Centennial Foundation recently announced a big push to recruit top international experts in AI, launch the House of AI at Aalto University, and establish the AI Finland network to further academia-industry collaboration. We look forward to further productive collaboration, starting with jointrecruitments in this area!

We encourage all qualified FCAI people to apply to become ELLIS members, which requires demonstrating regular, top-tier publication in machine learning. An alternative, even easier step is to become an ELLIS supporter. For ways to get involved, see fcai.fi/ellis-unit-helsinki#join

Read more about ELLIS Institute Finland: fcai.fi/ellis-institute-finland

On an international policy level, we are thrilled that our colleague Professor Petri Myllymäki, vice-director of FCAI, was invited to be part of the UN’s High-level Advisory Body on Artificial Intelligence. As one of only two members from the Nordics, Petri is in a unique position to advise the UN Secretary-General on AI during 2024. Congratulations Petri!

Doctoral program pilot

Through the Ministry of Education’s initiative to educate 1000 new PhDs in Finland, the Finnish Doctoral Program Network in Artificial Intelligence is anticipated tolaunch in 2024. This is an excellent chance to not only attract and retain the best and brightest in Finland but also to apply AI widely to new fields and industries through multidisciplinary collaboration. The national doctoral consortium of ten universities will emphasize mobility, enhanced supervision and transferring and scaling up of AI competence.

FCAI teams are excelling and growing

Cross-cutting teams of postdocs, PhD researchers and PIs are interfacing between FCAI’s Research Programs in developing new AI and demonstrating its power in Highlight applications. Currently, 10 FCAI Teams each contribute one important piece to this big picture through either methods development or Virtual Laboratory applications. One example is the Amortized Inference Team, which put together a successful NeurIPS paper this year. New Teams are on the horizon for launch in 2024.

To learn more and get involved, see fcai.fi/fcai-teams

Best regards and Happy New Year, 

Samuel Kaski

Director, Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence FCAI

FCAI

Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence (external link)

The Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence FCAI is a research hub initiated by Aalto University, the University of Helsinki, and the Technical Research Centre of Finland VTT. The goal of FCAI is to develop new types of artificial intelligence that can work with humans in complex environments, and help modernize Finnish industry. FCAI is one of the national flagships of the Academy of Finland.

Professor Guoying Zhao, from the University of Oulu, standing in fron of a smart TV, showing a face analysis demo.

ELLIS Unit Helsinki expands with new faculty and research areas

Newly appointed Aalto University visiting professor and member of ELLIS Unit Helsinki, Guoying Zhao, on emotion AI, face analysis and visual intelligence.

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Technology Industries of Finland Centennial Foundation donates EUR 3.2 million to Aalto to create the House of AI

Donation will be used to establish a multidisciplinary AI research cluster at Aalto University.

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Dr. Swarnalok De and logos of the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Aalto University and MMD group
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Dr. Swarnalok De receives a one-year grant from the Finnish Cultural Foundation

Awarded for research on the development of wearable healthcare sensors for autonomous health monitoring of the aging population
Unite! White paper - a new university open science and innovation governance model and policy for a sustainable world
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Unite!’s pathway for the management of open science and innovation in the European Universities Alliances

Unite! presents a new university open science and innovation governance model and five policy recommendations.
The magnetic properties of a material can affect how it interacts with light.
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A new optical metamaterial makes true one-way glass possible

Researchers have discovered how to make a new optical metamaterial that would underpin a variety of new technologies.
Mikko Alava ja kolme muuta tutkimusryhmän jäsentä kuvattuna teknisen laitteen äärellä.
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Significant grants for science from the Finnish Cultural Foundation

A total of thirty individuals and research groups from Aalto University received grants from the Finnish Cultural Foundation for science and art. Professors Harri Lipsanen and Zhipei Sun and their team, were awarded a large grant to develop electronic components mimicking the structure and function of the human brain. Among the grantees is also Professor Mikko Alava, whose team is developing water-resistant foams as substitutes for plastic using AI-based methods.