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Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi to host new Joint Lab for Embodied Artificial Intelligence with the University of Milan and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna

Publication date: 06.12.2019
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Professor Elio Franzini, Rector of the University of Milan, and Dr. Arif Al-Hammadi, Executive Vice President of the Khalifa University of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates, UAE), signed today in Milan an agreement to set up a Joint Lab for Embodied Artificial Intelligence, which will be physically located inside the new Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent System Institute directed by Prof. Ernesto Damiani.
Khalifa University ranks first in the UAE and second in the Arab world in leading international University rankings. The Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent System Institute established at Khalifa University brings together seven distinct Research Centres specialising in robotics, computational learning, high-performance computing architectures, cyber-physical systems, computer security and data analysis.
The Joint Lab for Embodied AI  is the result of a three-party agreement that also involves the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna of Pisa and will represent the first operational University of Milan’s Laboratory outside Italy. The Lab will represent the physical hub of the cooperative relationship between the three Universities, each contributing their different but complementary expertise in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) (Khalifa University), biorobotics (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna of Pisa) and life sciences (University of Milan). The Joint Lab site at Khalifa University will be followed by a second facility at the University of Milan.
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.

"All the three partners in this agreement share the vision that AI should not be used to replace man, but rather be put at the service of mankind – declares Prof. Ernesto Damiani. The Lab will focus on the Integration of Artificial Intelligence models and medical research to make decisions that can be understood and assessed by humans, especially when they concern human health and safety".

The Vice Rector of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Professor of Biomedical Robotics at the BioRobotics Institute of SSSA, Prof. Arianna Menciassi, further observed that “the Joint Lab will perform world-class research in the area of Embodied Artificial Intelligence and attract resources and talents, facilitating scientific exchange between the UAE and Italy”.

The Executive Vice President of the Khalifa University Dr. Arif Al-Hammadi remarked “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”

According to the agreement signed today, the Lab will host equipment and technology platforms of the three institutions, as well as visiting researchers 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 parties’ facilities and technological platforms.

"The Joint Lab will enhance international competitiveness and encourage participation in research programmes – comments Prof. Maria Pia Abbracchio, Unimi Deputy Rector and Vice Rector for Research. “Furthermore, it will provide high-level multidisciplinary research services, accessible both from inside and outside the University, to stimulate innovation, contamination and cross-fertilization between diverse research fields".

Finally, the Joint Lab will provide international exchange opportunities for both researchers and trainees, particularly doctoral students. "Alongside the Joint Lab Agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed for international mobility of doctoral students under the common supervision of two professors, one per university", concludes Prof. Antonella Baldi, Vice Rector for Internationalization of the University of Milan.