May 4, 2022

Wojciech Samek appointed Professor of Machine Learning and Communication at TU Berlin

May 4, 2022

The Technical University of Berlin (TU) appointed Dr. Wojciech Samek, head of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) department at the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI), as professor effective May 1, 2022. The scientist receives the professorship in recognition of his outstanding achievements in research and teaching.

In the interdisciplinary field of AI research, Dr. Samek concentrates on aspects of machine learning (ML) at the interface of federated learning, explainable AI, and compression of ML models. Owning a PhD in computer science, the new TU group "Machine Learning and Communication" matches Dr. Samek's focus perfectly: "In my research, I use explainability to improve ML models and to make them more robust. So, I am looking to move beyond purely 'explaining'. My goal is to increase reliability and ultimately develop explanation-based auditing mechanisms for ML models."

Achieving this goal will require extensive collaboration. Dr. Samek's involvement in numerous research initiatives exemplifies this approach. Since 2014, he has continually expanded the ML research group at Fraunhofer HHI, enabling it to become a regular department last year. A core topic of his team is the explainability and interpretability of deep learning models. Furthermore, Dr. Samek supports the Berlin Institute for the Foundations of Learning and Data (BIFOLD) and strengthens the intra-university exchange with scientists at the TU. The profiling of Berlin as a top address for AI research is key to him and acts as a strong link between his teaching and applied research.

Dr. Samek's research projects, which he has continuously advanced with his team at Fraunhofer HHI, have achieved remarkable results. So far, the work has resulted in 12 patent registrations, the co-development of the new international MPEG-7 NNR standard for neural network compression, and numerous highly regarded scientific publications. Consequently, the scientist's appointment as a TU professor offers him an ideal environment to continue existing projects while exploring new research fields.

In correspondence, ML, information theory, signal compression, and communication offer significant theoretical and practical challenges. Integrating deep learning models in ever-changing communication environments is groundbreaking under these circumstances. Therefore, Dr. Samek serves the scientific community by training the research talents of tomorrow. Up to date, he has supervised numerous doctoral theses, thus providing students with an introduction to research at Fraunhofer HHI. Accordingly, students can examine resource-aware ML, neural network compression and distributed learning with a hands-on attitude.

Dr. Samek will remain with Fraunhofer HHI as a core researcher: "The appointment as a professor at TU Berlin is a great honor. In my new role, I hope to make a meaningful contribution to AI research. The ongoing connection between my work at Fraunhofer HHI and the Technical University is especially close to my heart."