Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Science

New building for CAIDAS opened with Bavaria's Minister of Science


It can happen that fast: After just one year of construction, the new building for CAIDAS was completed. Bavaria's Science Minister Markus Blume attended the opening. Variuos CAIDAS members presented their research to the Minister and the audience.

Bavaria's Science Minister Markus Blume cut the ribbon and officially opened the new CAIDAS building. The building has already been in operation for several months. (Bild: Robert Emmerich / University of Würzburg)

With its green and grey façade, our new building is a real eye-catcher on campus: CAIDAS, the Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Science, was officially opened on 19 April 2024 with prominent guests from politics and science.

Bavaria's Minister of Science Markus Blume cut the ribbon for the new building: "The next highlight of our AI mission: the opening of CAIDAS in Würzburg. The Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Science finally makes the Julius-Maximilians-Universität the AI Mecca on the Main. AI research is being rethought here - and done perfectly: the focus is on data processing and research is interdisciplinary - eight faculties are on board. This shows that artificial intelligence is an important tool for all faculties. We are only at the beginning of a new age of AI. The biggest danger is not being part of it and leaving the field to others. In Bavaria, we are on board: we want to shape AI with our data and according to our values. With CAIDAS, JMU is ensuring that AI is spelled Bavarian."

University President Paul Pauli had previously welcomed the guests. With regard to CAIDAS, the university has made a very successful start: "20 CAIDAS professorships have been filled with top-class people, and with the computer vision expert Radu Timofte, we were even able to attract a Humboldt Professor to JMU. We play a leading role in the Bavarian AI network!"

On stage: The avatar of the university president

"Developing responsible solutions for the digital world" is the motto of the Würzburg AI Center, as CAIDAS spokesperson Professor Andreas Hotho said in his speech. He presented the center's structure and program to the guests.

Andreas Hotho provided a vivid insight into the human-centered AI research of Professor Marc Latoschik and Professor Carolin Wienrich when he presented the audience with an avatar of JMU President Paul Pauli. In Pauli's unmistakable original voice, the avatar asked Minister Blume to step forward and present the President with the Hightech Agenda Bayern plaque that will adorn the new CAIDAS building. The audience was delighted.

After the symbolic handover of the keys by Grit Liebau, Deputy Director of the Würzburg State Building Authority, the Minister and several VIP guests from the world of politics were given a tour of the new building. CAIDAS' research teams provided information about their work at several demo booths.

Facts about the new building

The new CAIDAS building is located on the North Campus next to the buildings of the institute of mathematics. It offers modern research and seminar rooms, offices and meeting rooms on a floor space of around 2,350 square meters. The construction costs for the L-shaped building amounted to around 14 million euros, 10.23 million of which came from the Hightech Agenda Bayern (HTA) modular construction program.

The short planning and construction time was record-breaking, as Grit Liebau emphasized when handing over the keys. The planning contract was awarded at the beginning of 2021, construction began in August 2022, the topping-out ceremony was held in January 2023 and the first research groups were able to move in in September 2023. On the one hand, this speed was due to administrative simplification with significantly fewer decision-making levels and far fewer procedures to go through. On the other hand, a modular design with a prefabricated construction system and room modules in the same sizes and with the same equipment made planning and construction easier and more efficient.

The building currently houses four chairs and one professorship, with up to two more teams to be added in the next one to two years. Research questions in the areas of data science, complex networks and language processing as well as human-computer interaction and the psychology of intelligent interactive systems, both with a focus on extended reality, will be addressed here. The areas of application include environmental sciences, medicine, security in networks, software engineering, information systems, social sciences and digital humanities.

Who is currently researching and teaching in the new CAIDAS building

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