Our hub-and-spoke model
Our headquarter is hosted by Helmholtz Munich and we have local units at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ), Helmholtz-Zentrum hereon GmbH (Hereon), Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
Representing the six research fields of the Helmholtz Association, our units host research groups and consultant teams. They are at the heart of our activities and ensure wide dissemination of methods as well as broad uptake of data-based research questions in applied AI.
The field of AI/ML is developing fast and applications abound. To increase exchange across communities we are setting up a visiting programme and we are also appointing Helmholtz AI associates, who are leading experts in their respective domain of applied AI.
We have a range of bodies that ensure alignment with our strategy and that sound out new developments. Our Helmholtz AI steering board (SB) is responsible for the general development of the platform. It coordinates and leads our activities and ensures that we act in the interest of the whole Helmholtz Association and in coordination with the Helmholtz Information and Data Science Incubator. Our Helmholtz AI scientific advisory committee (SAC) provides advice on scientific developments, ensures that we work along the state-of-the-art and produce relevant scientific output.
Our six local units
Helmholtz AI local unit for key technologies
At FZJ, Helmholtz AI is embedded into one of the largest research centers in Europe, focusing on brain research, HPC, renewable energy and energy systems, atmosphere, and bioeconomy science, to lay the foundation for key technologies of tomorrow and work on viable solutions for complex questions facing society today. FZJ adopts an interdisciplinary approach based on domain-specific research questions intertwined with applied AI techniques. This Helmholtz AI local unit is built on an intense interdisciplinary partnership between Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC) and Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine within the Helmholtz programmes ‘Decoding the Human Brain’ and ‘Supercomputing and Big Data’, which has already become the main driver of the European research flagship ‘Human Brain Project’ (HBP).
Helmholtz AI at FZJ addresses digital transformation, especially at the overlap of AI with innovative high-performance computing (HPC), and neuroscience. The focus of Jülich’s Helmholtz AI unit is on robust deep learning methods for microscopic image analysis, as well as on large-scale, active continual learning transferable across different tasks and domains. Driven by high-throughput data acquisition and the ambition to quickly transfer knowledge across tasks and scientific domains, the implementation of AI methods on HPC systems is a key aspect of this work.
FZJ also brings a network of strategic partnerships into Helmholtz AI. These include, in particular, very active collaboration with McGill University (Montreal) and joint activities with CIFAR (Toronto, Montreal) at the intersection of neuroscience, AI, and HPC. Jülich has a leading role in the EU H2020 flagship HBP, which provides links to many European labs working in the intersection of neuroscience and AI, including Maastricht, Amsterdam, and Marseille. Further strategic partnerships in AI and HPC include the University of Iceland, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), University of Illinois, and Hebrew University, Israel.
Helmholtz AI local unit for health
Helmholtz Munich is home to the central unit of Helmholtz AI, which also represents research field health. Helmholtz Munich’s main goal is to discover personalized medical solutions for the prevention and therapy for environmentally triggered diseases and promote a healthier society in a rapidly changing world. With its strong and expanding array of computationally focused institutes, particularly the Institute of Computational Biology (ICB, led by Fabian Theis), a dynamically growing digital health environment, particularly the Institute of AI for Health (AIH, led by Carsten Marr), Institute of Translational Genomics (ITG, led by Eleftheria Zeggini), as well as the bioengineerin and imaging-focussed Helmholtz Pioneer Campus (HPC led by Matthias Tschöp and Vasilis Ntziachristos), HMGU is an ideal and well-connected host for the central unit.
The Helmholtz AI central unit is integral to implementing and running Helmholtz AI, with its science and outreach managers coordinating platform activities and projects across all Helmholtz AI Units and within the Helmholtz Association. Central unit responsibilities include outreach and events, the voucher system and Helmholtz AI projects. The team also facilitates the meetings of the Helmholtz AI steering board and the scientific advisory committee. Through liaison with the Association's head office, its various bodies and other platforms of the Information and Data Science Incubator, the science management team ensures a seamless flow of information, alignment with overall strategy and concise reporting.
Helmholtz AI local unit for matter
Scientists at Helmholz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf contribute vitally to maintain and improve the life of the world of tomorrow. Excellent research in matter, health and energy is carried out at multiple sites in Saxony, Scheesel (Hamburg) and Grenoble. The Helmholtz AI local unit for matter is crucial part of the Computational Science Group (FWCC) as well as the Institute of Radiation Physics (FWK). A declared goal of the local unit is to empower scientists to apply machine learning methods to their scientific problem domains. This goal is achieved by fostering and stimulating collaborative interdisciplinary research projects; by leveraging similarities between data-driven solutions across domains; by integrating field specific excellence and AI/ML prowess; by improving the quality, scalability and timely availability of emerging methods and tools and by training the current and next generation of scientists in using AI methods and tools.
The local unit research machine learning methods that learn and simulate the dynamics of very complex physical systems, e.g. laser-particle interactions. They revolutionize the way experiments at large scale facilities, such as HZDR's Center for High-Power Radiation Sources – ELBE, are carried out by very fast and physics-informed data analysis. Trustworthy algorithms is another focus of their work which relates to uncertainty estimation. Interdisciplary research greatly benefits from sharing information and knowledge for what reason we establish a ML education culture at HZDR in terms of e.g. tutorials, hackathons and paper reading groups.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Helmholtz AI local unit for energy
The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) hosts the Helmholtz AI local unit for energy. Energy research is one of the largest research focus areas at KIT and a variety of activities and initiatives exist under the umbrella of the KIT Energy Center.
First and foremost is the new excellence cluster “Energy Storage Beyond Lithium” together with Ulm University (Center for Electrochemical Energy Storage) under the Excellence strategy of the federal government. KIT is involved in five programs in the energy field of research and in the Helmholtz initiative Energy System 2050 (ES 2050).
The Energy Lab 2.0 is a large-scale infrastructure for researching the interaction of components for future energy systems and testing new approaches for stabilizing energy grids. Electrical, thermal and chemical energy flows are connected by means of new information and communication technology - an ideal application area for AI. The goal of this research is to improve transport, distribution, storage and the use of energy in order to lay the groundwork for the transition to renewable energy generation.
The DFG-funded research training group 2153 “Energy Status Data - Informatics Methods for its Collection, Analysis and Exploitation” provides PhDs researcher positions in an interdisciplinary environment, bringing together informatics, engineering, economics and legal affairs at KIT.
German Aerospace Center
AERONAUTICS, SPACE AND TRANSPORT
German Aerospace Center
Helmholtz AI local unit for aeronautics, space and transport
DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt / German Aerospace Center) is the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its mission comprises the exploration of Earth and the solar system and research for protecting the environment. This includes the development of environment-friendly technologies for energy supply and future mobility, as well as for communications and security.
Artificial intelligence has been an important part of research at DLR for many years. Interdisciplinary expertise, cutting-edge large-scale facilities and many years of experience in AI place DLR in the ideal position to contribute its expertise in key areas of research as part of the AI research landscape in Germany and the rest of Europe. DLR’s major areas of expertise lie in the well-founded selection, creative and innovative use, and targeted further development of AI methods for numerous industrial and socially-relevant applications in such fields as Earth observation, robotics, energy research, the development of assistance systems for air or road traffic management, and automated driving. Through this unique competence portfolio, DLR enables innovation, contributes towards the direct transfer of ground-breaking technologies to industry, makes data usable and promotes education in the field of AI – all in line with the national AI strategy. Artificial intelligence is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but rather enables task-oriented smart solutions for many current challenges. DLR is making important contributions in this field.
Helmholtz-Zentrum hereon GmbH
EARTH AND ENVIRONMENT
Helmholtz-Zentrum hereon GmbH
Helmholtz AI local unit for Earth and environment
The Helmholtz local unit at Helmholtz-Zentrum hereon GmbH (Hereon) provides innovation for earth system modelling and analytics by leveraging AI methods. It is embedded within the Institute for Coastal Systems - Analysis and Modeling, which holds key expertise from all major directions of Earth system modelling, including atmospheric modelling, ocean modelling and land surface and hydrological modelling and data assimilation techniques to combine Earth system modelling with observational data. Researchers at the institute have developed a long-standing expertise in applying statistical and artificial intelligence methods to identify interferences and generalizable predictive pattern in comprehensive coastal data sets. The Helmholtz AI local unit @ Hereon will provide further innovation against this background.