Two new research units on artificial intelligence

German Research Foundation funds projects at the University of Bonn to the tune of millions of euros

Artificial intelligence (AI) is getting a boost: the German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding a total of eight new AI research units with a total of 31.4 million euros. Two projects from the University of Bonn in the fields of geodesy and precision agriculture are among them. The millions in funding will flow over the next four years. An extension is possible.

"It is a great success that the University of Bonn is the only one to have been able to acquire two out of a total of eight research units," says Maren Bennewitz, Prorector for Digitization and Information Management at the University of Bonn. "This strengthens our PhenoRob cluster of excellence and high-performance computing as a whole as a new focus."

Algorithmic data analysis for geodesy

As an interdisciplinary data-driven science, geodesy deals with the measurement of the Earth’s surface and its dynamic processes, including, for example, sea-level rise or traffic flows. "Geodesists work with a wide range of spatiotemporal data and increasingly use methods from artificial intelligence," says Petra Mutzel from the Institute of Computer Science at the University of Bonn and from the Cluster of Excellence Hausdorff Center for Mathematics. She is the spokesperson of the new research unit "Algorithmic Data Analysis for Geodesy (AlgForGe), which is expected to be funded by the DFG with up to three million euros over the next four years.

The central goal of the new research unit is to bridge the gap between current research in the fields of artificial intelligence and geodesy. "The aim is to establish lasting links between the two disciplines in order to provide a more solid algorithmic foundation for future research on automation in geodesy," says Petra Mutzel.

The research unit is based at the Institutes of Computer Science and Geodesy and Geoinformation and is complemented by researchers from the Universities of Cologne and Düsseldorf. According to the spokesperson, "With its interdisciplinary research activity, the DFG research unit also strengthens the Center for Earth System Observation and Computational Analytics (CESOC) founded by the universities of Bonn, Cologne and the Research Center Jülich." The research unit has received funding from the Transdisciplinary Research Area (TRA) "Modelling" since its early phase and is also closely related to the TRA "Sustainable Futures" as well as to the two Clusters of Excellence Hausdorff Center for Mathematics and PhenoRob at the University of Bonn.

Precision agriculture with the help of artificial intelligence

Achieving sustainable agriculture to combat hunger is a central goal of the UN’s 2030 Agenda. Precision agriculture enabled by artificial intelligence (AI) which couples sensing and decision making provides a potential way to achieve this goal. The newly funded DFG research unit "Automation and Artificial Intelligence for Monitoring and Decision Making in Horticultural Crops (AID4Crops)" will develop novel AI algorithms to do this.

"With the help of this coupling of monitoring and decision-making, the aim is to create the basis for proposing concrete AI-based management decisions," says DFG research unit spokesperson Chris McCool, Agricultural Robotics & Engineering at the Institute of Agricultural Engineering at the University of Bonn.

The AID4Crops research unit will receive up to two million euros in funding from the German Research Foundation over the next four years. The research unit brings together two faculties from the University of Bonn (Faculty of Agriculture and Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences) as well as from the Research Center Jülich. The research unit emerged from the Cluster of Excellence PhenoRob and links the transdisciplinary research areas "Sustainable Futures" and "Modelling" at the University of Bonn.

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