New face at ITU to help build the “Danish embassy of AI”
Associate Professor of Computer Science, Toine Bogers, is a new face at the IT University of Copenhagen. Alongside his work at ITU, he is also the new Chief Scientific Officer of the Pioneer Centre for AI – a collaborative effort between five Danish universities to conduct and facilitate fundamental research in AI.
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Written February 6, 2023 12:01 PM by Theis Duelund Jensen
On January 1, Associate Professor Toine Bogers started in his new position at the IT University of Copenhagen. However, his job description is a little out of the ordinary. Toine Bogers, whose fields of expertise as a researcher include recommender systems, information retrieval, and other personalization technologies, will also be serving as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) for the Pioneer Centre for AI, also known as P1. The centre which was announced in 2021, is the result of a collaboration between five Danish universities. With funding to the tune of 47 million euros, it is the most ambitious investment in artificial intelligence research on Danish soil ever.
“The Pioneer Centre is all about fundamental AI research taking place in an interdisciplinary framework in order to develop platforms, methods, and practices to address society’s greatest challenges. It is that ambition that I really like about it,” says Toine Bogers.
“As CSO, I will be taking on different responsibilities, but the main focus will be on supporting the research activities and collaborations taking place in different P1 collaboratories by helping their co-leads to organize activities and events as well as bringing researchers and industry stakeholders together to address societal challenges. You can think of the Pioneer Centre almost as the Danish embassy of AI research.”
Toine Boger’s academic background is in Computer Science, but he has long worked in Humanities which has provided him with novel perspectives on his fields of study. Something that will also inform his work with the Pioneer Centre:
“The goal is to have a much bigger scene or community of people working with AI in academia and in the industry. It’s easy enough for computer scientists to talk to each other, but if we can also bring perspectives in from other disciplines, we may ensure that AI applications have a very practical impact on addressing those societal challenges. I think that will be a great success.”
Expanding networks and building communities
In addition to his own research in AI related fields, Toine Bogers has also been brought on as CSO at the Pioneer Centre, because he has a lot of experience as a facilitator. He has organized numerous workshops as well as the flagship academic conference for recommender systems research.
One of his first tasks at the centre will be to help organize a conference in 2024 which will bring together researchers and industry actors from all fields of AI research and application:
“The main goal is to create a stronger network within the community. The secondary goal is to facilitate knowledge sharing about the different fields within AI. So, we are presenting workshops, keynotes, and a host of other activities. I am one of three programme chairs at the conference, who will be responsible for the scientific content at the conference, such as high-quality sessions and keynotes,” says Toine Bogers.
The conference is organized in collaboration with DIREC and the Danish Data Science Academy, and it is the Pioneer Centre’s ambition to help identify specific problems in society and the industry where researchers and professionals can be brought together in finding solutions.
“The coming conference will also grow the community and connect people from disparate disciplines. The bigger and the more connected the community becomes, the better our chances of translating excellence in AI research into actual societal impact,” he says.
“I am very excited about starting this process. I find it very rewarding to be able to help an initiative like this grow and hopefully we will see concrete results in both the research community as well as the industry.”
Peter Sestoft, Head of Computer Science at the IT University, adds: “We are really happy to welcome Toine, who will work closely with centre director Serge Belongie at University of Copenhagen to further strengthen the Pioneer Centre for AI collaboration across its member universities KU, DTU, ITU, Aalborg and Aarhus. It enables the AI Pioneer Centre to fulfill its role as AI embassy even better and to ensure that Denmark can handle and use these disruptive new technologies in a responsible manner.” Theis Duelund Jensen, Press Officer, tel: 2555 0447, email: firstname.lastname@example.org