Research for trustworthy AI
TU Darmstadt receives two new LOEWE professorships
The Technical University of Darmstadt continues to expand its leading international position in artificial intelligence (AI) research: The Department of Computer Science receives no less than two new LOEWE professorships for multimodal learning. One LOEWE Top Professorship is awarded to Dr Marcus Rohrbach, who is at the same time taking up his Humboldt Professorship at TU Darmstadt, and one LOEWE Start Professorship to Dr Anna Rohrbach. Both LOEWE professorships are funded with funds from the LOEWE research programme of the State of Hesse totalling five million euros.
The new LOEWE professorships will be established at the . The appointment of the AI researchers effective 1 September is a great success for the TU Darmstadt and hessian.AI. With their professorships in “Multimodal Grounded Learning” and “Multimodal Reliable Artificial Intelligence”, Marcus and Anna Rohrbach are strengthening a research field in which the TU already plays a leading international role. Hessian Centre for Artificial Intelligence – hessian.AI
The two researchers will pioneer the research goal of developing intelligent systems in harmony with the European value system at the and at hessian.AI – both at university level and across the country and Europe. Department of Computer Science
Research at the interface of image recognition and language
Marcus Rohrbach is moving from AI research at Facebook parent company Meta in California to Darmstadt and will be conducting basic research in the field of multimodal learning at the interface of image recognition and language as part of his LOEWE Excellence Professorship. He will advance AI models that learn from uni- and multi-modal data and have a wide range of functions.
The aim is to develop a dependably acting and thus trustworthy AI that can communicate with humans and support them in all tasks and scenarios. Marcus Rohrbach had already been awarded a Humboldt Professorship at TU Darmstadt by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for his research in November last year. He now accepted this appointment.
Professor Tanja Brühl,
After being awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, Marcus Rohrbach now receives a LOEWE Excellence Professorship - an outstanding success!
TU President Professor Tanja Brühl remarked that with Marcus Rohrbach, the TU Darmstadt would welcome a pioneering colleague to a Multimodal Reliable Artificial Intelligence professorship. “As an internationally recognised top researcher, he has a remarkable profile at the interfaces of various sub-fields of AI”, she emphasised. “He will be an outstanding addition to the AI expertise at TU Darmstadt and in hessian.AI and will significantly promote cooperation in a wide range of networks. After being awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, Marcus Rohrbach now receives a LOEWE Excellence Professorship – an outstanding success!”
Develop AI models with human-like abilities
Anna Rohrbach moves from the University of California (UC) Berkeley to Darmstadt and will provide innovative contributions at the interface of image recognition (computer vision) and natural language processing (NLP) as part of her LOEWE Start Professorship. She will develop and research AI models that are supposed to possess abilities similar to those of humans. This multimodal AI should be able to communicate with humans, be anchored in reality and learn from language.
TU President Brühl explained: “With Anna Rohrbach, we are gaining an internationally visible and up-and-coming researcher for a professorship in Multimodal Grounded Learning at TU Darmstadt and in hessian.AI. With her innovative contributions at the interface of image recognition and Natural Language Processing, Anna Rohrbach's work perfectly complements our Information and Intelligence research field in the area of Third Wave AI research. I am very much looking forward to working with an inspiring colleague!”
“Two outstanding researchers to the department”
Marcus Rohrbach's LOEWE Top Professorship runs for five years and is endowed with a total of around 4.5 million euros. The share of LOEWE funding is three million euros, with the TU Darmstadt bearing the remaining part. Anna Rohrbach's professorship is worth a total of around 4.1 million euros for the six-year period. LOEWE funding comprises two million euros, with the TU Darmstadt contributing the remaining share.
The Dean of the Department of Computer Science at TU Darmstadt, Felix Wolf, said: “We are delighted to attract two outstanding researchers to the department in Anna and Marcus Rohrbach. Close collaboration on existing and new projects gives our strong AI research focus further tailwind to realise our vision of reliable AI. Our students will also benefit from more hands-on AI courses.”
After completing his doctorate at the Max Planck Institute for Computer Science in Saarbrücken, Marcus Rohrbach first conducted research at UC Berkeley and from 2017 at Facebook AI Research (FAIR). His research results are published in several AI fields at major conferences and by the most important journals for computer vision, computational linguistics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. He also won various scientific competitions.
Anna Rohrbach received her PhD from Saarland University in 2017 and then moved to UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision and natural language processing multimodal learning. She won various scientific prizes and awards and published her research results in renowned journals and at major conferences.
LOEWE top professorships are aimed at excellent, internationally recognised researchers who can receive between 1.5 and 3 million euros for five years. In 2021, Professor Iryna Gurevych from the field of “Ubiquitous Knowledge Processing” at the Department of Computer Science at TU Darmstadt was the first in Hesse to receive this professorship.
LOEWE Start Professorships can be used to fund excellent researchers in the early stages of their careers, who can be attracted to Hesse as a science location or retained here for a period of six years with an endowment of up to two million euros. Last year, Professor Timo Richarz from the Department of Mathematics at TU Darmstadt was awarded a LOEWE Start Professorship.
AI research at TU Darmstadt
AI research is a central discipline at the Technical University of Darmstadt and enjoys international excellence. It is designed to be interdisciplinary in order to develop the potential of AI broadly and optimally and to reflect the high social and economic significance of the topic. The TU is a member of the two major European AI initiatives ELLIS and CLAIRE and is a leading contributor to the Hessian Center for Artificial Intelligence – hessian.AI. The strategic focus of AI research at TU Darmstadt is the development of intelligent systems in accordance with the European value system.
hessian.AI, the Hessian Center for Artificial Intelligence, pursues the goal of conducting excellent basic research with concrete practical relevance and also to promote transfer to industry and society. The center, in which 13 Hessian universities are involved, bundles the expertise of 22 AI scientists and expands this with 22 new professorships. Based on cutting-edge research conducted at the TU Darmstadt and other Hessian universities, a significant contribution will be made to the research and development of novel AI systems with human-like thinking and communication capabilities, which are classified as part of the so-called “Third Wave of AI”.