The Warsaw AI research hub aiming to bridge the gap between academia and business

The European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS) is expanding its network with a new branch based in Warsaw.

While the development of artificial intelligence (AI) is often presented in a simplistic way, often referred to as an “arms race” between the US and China, work on developing AI is underway across the entire world, and Europe is playing an important part in that development, not least in the field of scientific research.

Europe’s strength is its ability to build teams of researchers from very different backgrounds and academic traditions.

Bringing together these outstanding scientists dealing with artificial intelligence has been the mission of the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS) Society since it was established in 2018. The ELLIS Society aims to build world-class research institutes that will form the core of the local artificial intelligence ecosystem. 

This week, ELLIS announced that it is expanding its network in Central and Eastern Europe, where it already has sites in Bulgaria and Czechia, with a new branch based in the Polish capital Warsaw.

The unit will be created as part of IDEAS NCBR, a research and development centre operating in the field of artificial intelligence whose mission is to support the development of these technologies in Poland by creating a platform connecting the academic and business environments. It will be the 41st branch of the ELLIS Society network, already present at locations including Cambridge and Oxford universities, ETH Zurich and the Max Planck Institute.  

“The ELLIS Unit in Warsaw will be a benchmark for scientific excellence in machine learning research and innovation in Europe, bridging the gap between academia and business in Poland,” says Tomasz Trzciński, Professor at the Warsaw University of Technology and the Jagiellonian University, Director of the ELLIS Unit Warsaw and leader of the research group at IDEAS NCBR.

“It will play a key role in shaping future generations of AI innovators through specialised training and educational initiatives. Its strategic position in the ELLIS network also makes it a key link supporting cooperation and exchange between the Western and Eastern European AI research community,” adds Trzciński.

Different approaches

According to IDEAS NCBR CEO Piotr Sankowski, recent months of increased interest in AI have revealed a different approach to its use, such as between America and Europe in the context of privacy and data acquisition.

“That is why it is worth for Poland to develop its own solutions in the field of machine learning and AI, and not to be doomed to import tools that are not fully compliant with our legal system or values,” he says.

“For several years this effort was executed under the supervision of the ELLIS Society, and Poland can now be a part of this process,“ adds Piotr Sankowski, also an associate professor at the Institute of Computer Science at the University of Warsaw. 


The research activities of the new branch of the ELLIS Society in Poland will focus on six areas.

Intelligent Algorithms and Learned Data Structures will focus on explainable algorithmic tools, learning data structures and algorithmic tools for data science and machine learning, while the Efficient and Sustainable Machine Learning focused on Computer Vision area concentrates on efficient machine learning algorithms for computer vision, in particular on conditioning network computations, leveraging partial information for faster inference, and accumulating knowledge in continually trained models. 

The Machine Learning and Sequential Decision-Making area develops methods that can be applied in control to obtain broadly intelligent agents that could be deployed in the real world, and the Algorithmic Game Theory in Security area develops multi-level management systems to protect critical infrastructure as well as systems for securing key state services against both kinetic and cyber threats.  

The fifth area of focus is Interpretable Artificial Intelligence, centered on developing machine learning models that provide trustworthy and comprehensible explanations of how complex artificial intelligence models work, while the Autonomous Agents and Alignment of Language Models area aims to develop training protocols that empower artificial agents to collect the most informative learning data and apply these protocols to align language models.  

‘We can achieve even greater things’

Much of this research is already being developed at IDEAS NCBR, in groups dedicated to intelligent algorithms and data structures, zero-waste machine learning in computer vision, systems security and data privacy. 

“Within two years of the establishment of IDEAS NCBR, our teams of scientists have already achieved international success several times,” adds Trzciński.

“Their research work has qualified for the most important scientific conferences on artificial intelligence and cryptography. This shows that in the advancement of work on the development of AI, we are no longer behind the world leaders, and thanks to facilitated integration with teams of scientists from all over the continent, we can achieve even greater things.”

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