College of Engineering

Khalifa University Partners with University of Milan and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna to Host New Joint Lab for Embodied Artificial Intelligence in Abu Dhabi

December 12, 2019
  • Three Partners Sign Agreement to Locate Lab at Khalifa University’s AI Institute; MoU Also Signed on Exchange of Doctoral Students
  • A Similar Second Lab Facility Expected to Open in Future at University of Milan

Khalifa University of Science and Technology, the University of Milan and the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna of Pisa have signed an agreement to set up a Joint Lab for Embodied Artificial Intelligence that will be physically located inside Khalifa University’s Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent System Institute (AI Institute) in Abu Dhabi.

The agreement was signed by Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice President, Khalifa University, and Professor Elio Franzini, Rector, University of Milan, in Milan. Officials from the two Italian universities including Prof. Antonella Baldi, Vice Rector for Internationalization of the University of Milan, attended the signing ceremony. Dr Ernesto Damiani, Senior Director, AI Institute, Khalifa University, was also present. Separately, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed for international mobility of doctoral students under the common supervision of two professors, one per university.

The Joint Lab for Embodied AI, which also involves the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna of Pisa, will represent the first operational Unimi Laboratory outside Italy. The Lab stems from the long-lasting collaboration between Khalifa University and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, and will represent the physical hub of the cooperative relationship among the three Universities, each contributing their different but complementary expertise – Khalifa University in artificial Intelligence, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna of Pisa in bio-robotics, and University of Milan in life sciences.

Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi said: “Khalifa University is honoured to collaborate with two top institutions in Italy. This agreement is part of our internationalization strategy. We hope establishing this relation will result in exchanges of faculty, researchers and students between the three institutions. Khalifa University has just started its College of Medicine and Health Sciences and has a strong expertise in AI applications to medical research. The strength of Milan in life sciences and of SSSA in bio-robotics will ensure world-leading research.”

Embodied Artificial Intelligence is an interdisciplinary research area that deals with the application of artificial intelligence to highly complex biological and artificial systems, using computational learning to identify their structure and behaviour. These findings are used to forecast future system evolution and determine the actions required to meet therapeutic or optimization targets.

Khalifa University ranks first in the UAE and second in the Gulf region in leading international university rankings. The AI Institute established at Khalifa University brings together seven distinct research centers specialising in robotics, computational learning, high-performance computing architectures, cyber-physical systems, computer security and data analysis.

Dr. Damiani said: “The Lab at AI Institute at Khalifa University will focus on the integration of artificial intelligence models and bio-inspired computational paradigms to make decisions that can be understood and assessed by humans, especially when they concern human health and safety.”

The Lab will be aimed at developing computational models of human cognition and quantum computing, bio-robotic and bio-hybrid systems for neural bioengineering, with potential application to neuro-rehabilitation. Dr. Arianna Menciassi, Vice Rector, SSSA, and Professor of Biomedical Robotics at the BioRobotics Institute, said: “The proposed Joint Lab has a strong potential to perform world-class research in the area of embodied artificial intelligence and to attract resources and talents, facilitating scientific exchange between the UAE and Italy.”

The Joint Lab for Embodied Artificial Intelligence within at Khalifa University’s AI Institute is expected to be followed by a second facility at the University of Milan.

According to the agreement, the laboratories will host equipment and technology platforms of the three institutions, as well as visiting members of the University of Milan and Sant’Anna of Pisa. Khalifa University scientists will be provided with remote access as-a-service to the Italian partners’ facilities and technological platforms.

“The Joint Lab will enhance international competitiveness and encourage participation in research programs,” said Dr. Maria Pia Abbracchio, Unimi Deputy Rector and Vice Rector for Research. “Furthermore, it will provide high-level multidisciplinary technical assistance and services, accessible both from inside and outside the University, to stimulate innovation and cross-fertilization between diverse research fields.”

The Joint Lab for Embodied Artificial Intelligence will also provide international exchange opportunities for both researchers and trainees, particularly doctoral students, according to the MoU.

News Writer
29 November 2019