Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions (RBEI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on August 04, 2017 with the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) to set up the Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (RBC-DSAI). The mission of the RBC-DSAI is to create societal impact through multidisciplinary interactions with government, academic, research and industrial collaborators on core challenges in Data Science (DS) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The Centre will receive funding up to the tune of INR three to four crores annually, for five years.
The ceremony to mark the signing of the MoU was accompanied by key note addresses from the Managing Director of Robert Bosch, Vijay Ratnaparkhe and the Director of IIT Madras, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi. Both pointed out the significance of this collaboration in the global research and innovation landscape. Ratnaparkhe said, “This partnership is to accelerate research for societal impact, taking a long-term view. It will set a precedent in the way big-data is used to improve our problem solving capability in industry. At the same time the collaboration will result in shared outcomes for the benefit of society”.
Speaking about the upcoming Centre, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi remarked, “IIT Madras has been nurturing its interdisciplinary Data Sciences and Artificial Intelligence research group for more than three years now. The launch of this Centre in partnership with, and generous support from, RBEI is an affirmation of the rapid growth and impact of the group’s research and teaching activities. I am confident the RBC-DSAI will become a globally acknowledged Centre working at the cutting edge of various aspects of machine learning, data science and artificial intelligence, leading to work with high social impact."
The Robert Bosch Centre will undertake foundational research in many areas of AI and Data Science, namely, deep learning, reinforcement learning, network analytics, interpretable machine learning. The areas of activity includes research projects, knowledge management and dissemination, developing prototypes, outreach projects, and setting up collaborative facilities and laboratories among others. The Centre’s mandate requires interaction with industry and other universities, including international student and faculty exchanges. The objective is to advance scientific innovation for societal benefit.
Several technologies currently require large data sets to improve their accuracy and to adapt these technologies for the Indian context. There are basic issues in the way we collect and share data; these need to be solved in a collective and open-sourced manner. To address this issue, the Centre is setting out on an ambitious task of creating a portal of curated, India specific data sets that are easy to access and interpret through a set of open tools and interfaces.
As part of Bosch’s research and innovation portfolio in India, the Centre in IIT-M will become part of a network to support ‘Digital India’; it will advance the country in the fields of innovation and research as the world moves towards more connected hardware and software products. This research network also includes the Robert Bosch Centre for Cyber Physical Systems at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) in Bangalore.
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