TUM Launches Munich Data Science Institute to Drive Collaboration in Data Science and AI

Fri 15th Sep, 2023

Opening ceremony of the Munich Data Science Institute (MDSI) of the Technical University of Munich (TUM, on September 14th, 2023 in the Galileo Congress Center Garching; in the picture: TUM PresidentThe Technical University of Munich (TUM) is proud to announce the official inauguration of the Munich Data Science Institute (MDSI), a pivotal initiative within the framework of TUM AGENDA 2030. Supported by funding from the Excellence Initiative of the German government and federal states, the MDSI serves as a central hub for advancing the realms of data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) at TUM, from foundational research to practical interdisciplinary applications. It also aims to provide training and education opportunities for master's students, researchers, and professionals in the field of data science.

In recent years, groundbreaking developments in machine learning, AI, natural language processing, and computer-based imaging have fundamentally reshaped society, the economy, and the landscape of scientific knowledge. With the aim of bolstering the foundational principles of modern data sciences, machine learning, and AI, and applying these insights to high-potential applications, TUM has established the Munich Data Science Institute (MDSI). As an integrative research institute, MDSI will harness the expertise of over 60 professors across various interdisciplinary domains.

The official launch event for the institute was held at the Galileo Building on the TUM Research Campus in Garching.

Bavaria's Minister of Science, Markus Blume, underscored the significance of data in his keynote address at the MDSI's opening. He stated, "Data is the treasure of our time. The Munich Data Science Institute is our key to the treasure chest and will open the door to innovation. In the MDSI, TUM is bringing together what must come together in the world of data science: business and science, fundamental research and applications. Because only through collaboration and a strong interdisciplinary network can we play a role in shaping the significant transformation of the digital age."

President Prof. Thomas F. Hofmann emphasized the importance of teamwork in the era of machine learning and AI, stating, "To effectively leverage the potential of the age of machine learning and AI, we need to see modern data science as a team sport. With the MDSI, we are delivering fresh impetus to data-based technology developments and integrating them into real-world applications. Machine learning and AI harbor enormous potential. From life sciences and medicine, material and design sciences to quantum science, astrophysics, and climate science - as well as the dynamics of societal, political, and economic systems - the MDSI will support pioneering data science experts in reshaping the boundaries of what is now feasible."

Stephan Günnemann, Executive Director of the MDSI and Professor of Data Analytics and Machine Learning, outlined the institute's goals, saying, "At the MDSI, we want to study the foundations of modern data science. This relates to the areas of mathematics and informatics that deal with machine learning. But we also want to apply what we learn in specialized areas such as the development of new materials or in personalized medicine."

The MDSI also aims to disseminate research findings to the business world and society at large, facilitating the transfer of AI-based solutions to industry partners and startups in the data-related domain. Additionally, the MDSI will offer support to researchers grappling with the increasing demand for data-related tasks in their work and will serve as a network for interdisciplinary connections among AI experts.

The MDSI is a convergence point for TUM's strategic data-supported activities, ensuring synergy and reducing redundancies between different disciplines. As President Prof. Thomas F. Hofmann emphasized, "Purely quantitative growth by adding new disconnected activities, one after another, in the fields of data science and programs will not have the necessary impact to reach global player status."

Incorporating Various Initiatives and Facilities

The Munich Data Science Institute incorporates a range of initiatives and facilities under its umbrella:

  • The TUM Georg Nemetschek Institute - Artificial Intelligence for the Built World, an initiative supported by a generous 50 million euro donation from the Nemetschek Innovation Foundation in 2020. This initiative focuses on AI and machine learning applications throughout the entire life cycle of buildings, from planning and construction to sustainable management.

  • The AI Future Lab AI for Earth Observation (AI4EO), funded by the Federal Ministry of Research and led by Xiaoxiang Zhu, one of the five MDSI directors. AI4EO combines TUM's strengths in geodesy, earth observation, satellite technology, mathematics, AI, and ethics to develop reliable models related to global urbanization, food supply, and natural disaster management.

  • The establishment of the Center for Digital Medicine and Health, a new research building with federal and state funding, will be positioned within the medical campus of Klinikum rechts der Isar. Under the leadership of MDSI director Daniel Rückert, it will focus on the development of data-driven approaches and AI methods in medicine.

  • The Munich Center for Machine Learning (MCML), a collaboration between TUM and LMU, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the HighTech Agenda Bayern as one of the National Centers of Excellence for AI Research. The TUM branch of the MCML is integrated into the MDSI infrastructure.

  • The Konrad Zuse School of Excellence in Reliable AI, coordinated by TUM and LMU, has received funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) since 2022. The MDSI contains the business office of the Konrad Zuse School and is led by MDSI Executive Director Stephan Günnemann.

These initiatives underscore TUM's commitment to advancing data science, machine learning, and AI, while fostering interdisciplinary collaboration to drive innovation and tackle complex challenges in the digital age.

Opening ceremony of the Munich Data Science Institute (MDSI) of the Technical University of Munich (TUM, on September 14th, 2023 in the Galileo Congress Center Garching; in the picture: TUM President


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