Back Start of the first Erasmus Mundus in Artificial Intelligence led by UPF, presented today on the Poblenou campus

Start of the first Erasmus Mundus in Artificial Intelligence led by UPF, presented today on the Poblenou campus

This is the first Erasmus Mundus coordinated by UPF, through its Department of Information and Communication Technologies, which has a recognized track record in the field of artificial intelligence. The master’s degree is promoted by a European consortium that includes a further three leading universities in AI: Sapienza of Rome (Italy), Radboud (Netherlands), and Ljubljana (Slovenia).


Imatge inicial

Today, Wednesday 13 September, UPF’s Poblenou campus hosted the presentation of the first Erasmus Mundus in Artificial Intelligence (EMAI) led by UPF, which will start to be taught this 2023-24 academic year. The master’s degree, funded by the EU’s Erasmus+ programme, will allow students to acquire basic theoretical and practical knowledge of AI and is promoted by a European consortium that also includes the universities of Sapienza of Rome (Italy), Radboud (Netherlands) and Ljubljana (Slovenia).

Before these studies get under way on Monday 18 September, the presentation of the Erasmus Mundus joint master in Artificial Intelligence (EMAI) was held today in the Auditorium of the Poblenou campus. The UPF governing team was represented by the vice-rector for Knowledge Transfer, Vanesa Daza, who highlighted that: “with this master’s degree, we are achieving a very important milestone since it is the first Erasmus Mundus coordinated by UPF, and we are opening a new chapter that will allow us to exchange knowledge with the other participating universities, who are also leaders in the field of artificial intelligence like UPF”.

The UPF DTIC, with a recognized track record in the field of AI, undertakes the coordination of the EMAI

At UPF, the coordination of this master’s degree is the responsibility of its Department of Information and Communication Technologies (DTIC). Today, the deputy director of the department, Horacio Saggion, wished to highlight “the strength of research into intelligence at the DTIC”, which now allows it to undertake coordinating the EMAI and had previously been highlighted thanks to its recognition as a María de Maeztu unit of excellence for the research it conducts in this field.

Thanks to participation in the EMAI consortium by UPF and other universities with a significant track record in the field of AI, “we will offer a master’s degree oriented towards both basic and applied research, which will combine internationalization with excellence”, summarized Vicenç Gómez, coordinator of the EMAI. Regarding the social impact of AI, both Gómez and Saggion have urged students to consider the ethical implications of research in this field.

The first cohort of the master’s degree will consist of 20 students of 13 nationalities

Today’s event was attended by 20 students (14 men and 6 women), belonging to the first cohort of these studies, who come from 13 different states: Spain, Italy, Germany, Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Turkey and Cyprus.

Decision-making, robotics, cybersecurity and data science, among the specialities of the master’s degree

The EMAI syllabus addresses the main paradigms of AI, related to machine learning and symbolic reasoning, and their application in different fields. The master’s programme, totalling 120 ECTS credits, is split into four semesters. In the first year, all students will take their first semester at UPF in Barcelona and their second at any of the other three organizing universities. From the second year, they can choose between the four universities of the consortium depending on their preferred area of specialization. UPF will teach the speciality in intelligent decision-making, while the Sapienza of Rome will teach robotics; at the Raudboud (Netherlands), cybersecurity; and at the University of Ljubljana, the subject of data science. So explained the representatives of these three universities who spoke during the course of today’s event: Massimo Mecella (Sapienza), Stjepan Picek (Radboud) and Zoran Bosnic (Ljubljana). The EMAI is also supported by the Centre for Artificial Intelligence at University College London.

Presentation by AI researcher Olivier Pietquin (Google DeepMind)

Presentation by Olivier Pietquin, AI researcher at Google DeepMind during today’s event..

Following the presentation of the master’s degree came the lecture by professor Olivier Pietquin, AI researcher at the Google DeepMind project. Pietquin explained the AudioLM model, “a system that automatically extends speeches”. The system takes 3 seconds of the previously recorded prompts, which can be of people or animals -a chirping bird, for example- to automatically generate a sequence consistent with the preceding part.

After his lecture, there was a brief presentation by the Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association (EMA), given by its president, Ashiqur Rahman.

The first Erasmus Mundus coordinated by UPF and the fourth in which it participates 

The EMAI in Artificial Intelligence is the fourth Erasmus Mundus in which UPF is involved and the first in which it assumes the role of coordinator. Pompeu Fabra University was already participating in another three Erasmus Mundus master’s degrees, linked to the Social Sciences: Law and Economics (coordinated by the Erasmus University of Rotterdam), European Politics and Society (Charles University of Prague), and Sports, Ethics and Integrity (Catholic University of Leuven).

UPF has a recognized track record in the field of AI. In addition to the recognition of the University’s DTIC as a Maria de Maeztu Unit of Excellence, the UPF Center for Studies in Natural and Artificial Intelligence has recently been launched. Moreover, this year six DTIC researchers have joined the new ELLIS (European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems) Unit in Barcelona.



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09. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
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