Hochschule Geisenheim University Becomes Application Partner in Hessian Center for Artificial Intelligence

Weather station Heppenheim © Hochschule Geisenheim University/Andreas Ehlig

The new Hessian Center for Artificial Intelligence, funded by the State of Hesse, brings together cutting-edge research, practical orientation and knowledge transfer to industry and society in a way that is unique in Germany. As an application partner, Hochschule Geisenheim University is part of the center.

Excellent basic research, providing answers to today’s important challenges and transferring the knowledge to industry and society – that is the mission of the new Hessian Center for Artificial Intelligence (AI Center Hesse), funded by the State of Hesse. The new center was founded at the end of August 2020 and is backed by 13 institutions of higher education in Hesse. This unique approach allows to pool the various strength of the different institutions. The State of Hesse is creating 20 additional professorships and will provide 38 million euros during the five-year development phase. As an application partner, Hochschule Geisenheim University is part of the center.

In order to train artificial intelligence and to improve it in the long term, Hochschule Geisenheim University will provide its unique series of data that have been collected over decades, for example in the area of weather records. Joint projects with the other partners that will facilitate the use of artificial intelligence in the areas of viticulture and horticulture, environmental protection and others, will also be possible in the future. On the part of Hochschule Geisenheim University, Prof. Dr. Peter Braun, Head of the Department of Pomology, Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Schwarz, Head of the Department of Agricultural Engineering, and Prof. Dr. Manfred Stoll, Head of the Department of General and Organic Viticulture were involved in the development phase of the new center. The scientists are already using artificial intelligence for their research in the field of drone and sensor technology for horticulture, viticulture and agriculture.

“Thanks to artificial intelligence, computers are learning new skills that help us find better solutions for current challenges, for example in medicine, for tackling environmental issues or for meeting social challenges,” explains Federal Minister of Science Angela Dorn on the presentation of the center. “It opens up a huge scientific and economic potential, but it also comes with great responsibility. In order to embrace the opportunities for the scientific and business community and for everyone living in Hesse, we are relying on the strength of our universities. The Technical University of Darmstadt excels in strong basic research, followed by the other universities that focus on specialist research on AI, and our universities of applied science, which provide outstanding practical research. The center’s concept was developed by 13 universities, and more than 40 partners from the business and research sector have already expressed their interest in a cooperation. The independent evaluation panel is convinced that the center will become internationally recognized and develop into a beacon of excellence thanks to its unique strengths.”  

The Center for AI is established as a joint institution of the 13 universities – as provided by the Hessian Higher Education Act. It has its main site at TU Darmstadt, and a secondary site at Goethe University Frankfurt. If necessary, additional positions will be created at the other universities. The center will also focus on the topic of business start-ups and how to support young entrepreneurs. To that end, Hochschule Geisenheim University seeks a close cooperation with the Gründungsfabrik Rheingau, which is to hold presentations and workshops for young entrepreneurs wishing to set up their own businesses in the field of AI.

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