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Milanese universities join forces for research and training in artificial intelligence

The Milanese universities of Bocconi, Università Statale di Milano, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca and Politecnico di Milano have joined forces to establish a campus of excellence for research and training in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in Milan. The four universities have become one of the units of ELLIS, the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems.

Established in 2018, ELLIS is the association that brings together Europe's best artificial intelligence scientists and academics with the objective of promoting continent-wide scientific development on this crucial topic, unsurprisingly also considered fundamental by the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) for Italian recovery.

Along with Mayor Giuseppe Sala, the initiative was presented by the Rector of Bocconi University, Gianmario Verona, the Executive Vice Rector of the State University, Maria Pia Abbracchio, the Rector of Bicocca University, Giovanna Iannantuoni, and the Rector of the Politecnico, Ferruccio Resta.

Credits: www.facebook.com/beppesalasindaco

The new ELLIS unit will have the task of establishing Milan as one of Europe's leading scientific centres for AI and machine learning. This research focuses on four areas: interactive machine learning, which examines how an algorithm interacts with the environment; neural networks and deep learning; health and computational biology, which applies AI to medicine; and the use of AI for the analysis and processing of natural language. The Rector of the Politecnico, Ferruccio Resta, remarked:

“The central role of artificial intelligence and machine learning issues, their uses and consequences on the economic and social fronts give technical and scientific universities a great responsibility. Technological development is anything but neutral: it is a complex process, as the four lines of research we have decided to outline illustrate: interaction with the environment; neural networks and deep learning; medicine; language. Consequently, it must be anticipated, managed and shared. Combining the best academic resources and developing Milan into a campus of excellence is our duty towards the development and growth, not only of our city, but also of the country and the university system, which is called upon more and more to operate according to a concept of interaction and exchange. The Politecnico di Milano is taking part in this initiative as part of a mutually beneficial partnership with other universities. A winning model to aspire to in a European context”.

The Unit will be led by four proponents and scientific coordinators, one from each university, who will manage the Unit in rotation: Nicolò Cesa-Bianchi (Full Professor of Computer Science, Università Statale di Milano, who will lead the group as Director for the first year), Nicola Gatti (Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, Politecnico di Milano), Gabriella Pasi (Full Professor of Computer Science, Università di Milano-Bicocca Università degli studi di Milano Bicocca) and Riccardo Zecchina (Full Professor of Theoretical Physics, Università Bocconi).

Find out all about frontier research at Politecnico and on the topics defined by the European Commission as part of the Recovery Plan. Visit the Next Generation EU website of the Politecnico di Milano .

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Artificial Intelligence: first place for Politecnico at Leonardo Drone Contest

Politecnico di Milano, after the victory last year, also won the second edition of the “Leonardo Drone Contest. An Open Innovation Challenge ", a unique competition in Italy, launched by Leonardo to promote the development of Artificial Intelligence applied to the field of unmanned systems . It is part of a three-year experimental project that will close in 2022 and puts the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (Uav) under the spotlight , remotely piloted aircraft, to develop new technologies and feed the ecosystem made up of companies, SMEs and universities.

The competition was held in several sessions from 28 to 30 September in Turin, in the headquarters of the Leonardo Aircraft division, where the teams of Politecnico di Milano, Politecnico di Torino, Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna competed. Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies of Pisa, University of Rome Tor Vergata and University of Naples Federico II.

The Politecnico team, winner of the second edition of the Leonardo Drone Contest
(Credits: wired.it)

Each team has deployed a drone with the task of collecting, through photos and videos, information to allow the planning of the landing mission. The drones, therefore, with the information received, moved autonomously between buildings and areas with reduced visibility to complete their mission. The Polytechnic team, led by the PhD student Gabriele Roggi, developed the autonomous navigation, trajectory planning, collision avoidance and landing systems for the drone ROG-2 , developed in collaboration with the spin off of the Poly ANT-X .

" The performances of the teams in the race have improved dramatically and we are seeing how all the objectives set at the birth of the" Drone Contest " are progressively becoming reality", commented Laurent Sissmann, Senior Vice President Unmanned Systems at Leonardo . "Thanks to the three-year course of the competition we intend to create a fruitful collaboration to feed the network of companies, SMEs and Universities, as well as wanting to stimulate the entrepreneurial talent of the young participants which will lead to the birth of start-ups in the sector" .

Several newspaper reported on the event, among notable ones: Il Giorno e Wired.

Among the most important university competitions, we also point out the imminent final of the Indy Autonomous Challenge , which we also talked about in issue 9 of MAP, on page 28.

With a donation of € 30,000, you help support a doctoral student for all three years of his or her research path. Scholarships for PhD students are awarded each year in November on the basis of merit criteria. Donate now.

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Credits home: wired.it

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Shaping the future of business through AI

Only two italian women in the list of 40 women leaders in artificial intelligence (link here for the IBM list ) and they are two Alumnae of Politecnico di Milano: Donatella Sciuto, professor of Computer Engineering and senior professor of the Rector of Research and Diversity and Elisabetta Burei , Alumna in Electronic Engineering and Senior manager demand & project of CheBanca!.

“This year's leaders - says IBM - prove how advances in natural language processing, automation and reliable AI can be used help organizations better predict results, automate processes and make them more efficient”.

Sciuto has used AI to help more than 45,000 students of Politecnico to navigate through the vast amount of information available to provide a better campus experience. The project is called “ Concierge ” and has managed to answer more than 300,000 questions formulated in natural language thanks to a always available virtual assistant.

Burei has used artificial intelligence to create "Edo" , a virtual assistant designed to automate customer services and at the same time optimize time of company staff. Thanks to this technology, CheBanca! managed to solve 60% of customer care requests without human intervention, reducing customer service interactions via operator by 30%.

elisabetta burei
Elisabetta Burei
Credits: corrierecomunicazioni.it

Thanks to artificial intelligence, these projects have contributed to the digital transformation of national and international companies , creating more sustainable and inclusive work environments, able to "mitigate prejudices and deliver explainable results" , <a href="https://www.ibm.com/easytools/runtime/hspx/prod/public/X0027/PortalX/page/pageTemplate?s=78c374df5c884363b46454a5ffefb5d9&c=05dd3b6455834136ad79"self_be_self"839_self"839413639= says Ritika Gunnar, Vice President, Expert Labs, IBM Cloud and Cognitive Software.

During the STEM month, one of the most discussed topics is often that of gender balance: for this reason we have collected the stories of 67 engineering Alumnae of our community in the book “ALUMNAE, Engineering and technologies” . The goal of the book? To collect a number of positive examples for the "STEM" girls of today and tomorrow.

Credit photo header : www.corrierecomunicazioni.it/

Gymnasio, a robot as a virtual personal trainer

A robot that becomes a virtual personal trainer : it's not science fiction, but Gymnasio , a device that uses artificial intelligence to monitor the positions of the human body during training.

The startup behind the project has been funded by three Alumni of Politecnico di Milano and two Alumni of Politecnico di Torino, and is among the winners of Switch2Product, the program that champions innovative solutions on the market, new technologies and new business ideas and is supported by Politecnico and from Polihub.

The team met in Alta Scuola Politecnica, during the entrepreneurial program 'Pioneer' of the School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (SEI) of Turin in a project in collaboration with Sprint Reply and supervised by Prof. Barbara Caputo (PoliTo), and by Prof. Cesare Alippi (PoliMi).

The objective is twofold: to make safe and personalized training accessible to as many people as possible and to revolutionize the home fitness market, which has had a surge during the pandemic .

Credits: www.gymnasio.it
Credits: www.gymnasio.it

Gymnasio is able, thanks to the 3D camera and artificial intelligence algorithms , to correct movements and posture, manage personal records, track progress and give precise feedback during training.

Credits: www.gymnasio.it

Starting from Pepper , the first version of the device with the appearance of a humanoid robot, the Gymnasio team then modified the device with more compact and accessible forms , ideal for training at home in times of pandemics.

“The pandemic played a fundamental role. We will not be able to replace the empathy of a human: we want to give an alternative that can be purchased by everyone and that can be used at home. " declares to TG1 Daniele Gusmini , Alumnus of Automation Engineering and Control Engineering and CEO and co-founder of the start up.

The product, still in the prototype stage, thanks to its small size can be used anywhere and in the future it will be available on the market thanks to a subscription .

The Politecnico team participates in the first car race for autonomous vehicles traveling at 186 mph

The Indy Autonomous Challenge is a $1.5 million competition between universities to program modified Dallara IL-15 race cars. Teams will compete in the first-ever speed race for driverless cars running up to 300 kph around the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Oct. 23, 2021.

28 teams of over 500 university students from 39 universities in 11 countries will compete on the Indianapolis track. Representing Italy is the PoliMOVE team of the Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering, led by Prof. Sergio M. Savaresi, one of the leading international groups in the field of automotive control, intelligent vehicles and smart mobility.

All the cars in the race will be identical to each other: the chassis is that of the Dallara IL-15, specially modified for driverless competition. No further mechanical, aerodynamic or engine modifications are allowed. Electronics and sensors are also the same for all teams. These are the technical constraints of the first Indy Autonomous Challange: the competition is 100% focused on the artificial intelligence algorithms that will be developed by the teams.

Teams are already competing in the simulation qualifiers (and Polytechnic is consistently placing in the top spots). This competition is also an opportunity for Polytechnic researchers and students to develop a complex problem in autonomous vehicle design. The main team is constituted by PHD students, while the support team is made by graduate students that are following a special extracurricular course. Is a multidisciplinary course composed of computer engineers, automation engineers, electronic, mechanic and areospace engineers. Some of the students were already part of Formula Student (we have talked about in in the firs number of MAP).

"The race is spread out over a year and a half, as in fact registrations closed in March 2020. Essentially there is a first part that will end next May 27 with the Simulation Race, where everything is done and developed in simulation and after which the experimental part begins," Savaresi tells Formulapassion.it (read his full interview here). "Ideally the simulator should be a faithful replica of what happens in the car, so in an ideal world we can take the code, bring it to the real car and within a few days in theory it should work. The transition to the real vehicle however is not trivial, but everything has been structured to be very realistic. The team of Politecnico di Milano is distinguishing itself and in particular we won the second hackathon. [...] We just finished the third one, where we ranked second. Actually, this event was faced in pairs and we were competing with the University of Munich. We won both batteries, but the final ranking was based on overall time. We set the fastest lap time and potentially could have won, but in race two the University of Munich was going slow, giving us a bit of a plug at the beginning and costing us time to pass them. We finished second in the end, but we are still happy," concludes Savaresi.


Partecipation to the Indy Autonomous Challenge is one of the many research and innovation initiatives of our university. Find out how to contribute to the creation of a Scholarship for one of our best student or for a research grant for a young researcher: Donate now

Cover photo from Indy Autonomous Challenge

Fast Covid-19 Diagnosis

An algorithm will give an indicator of the probability of being infected with the Coronavirus using the physiological data collected by a wearable device. "A race against time and a committment to society, says the Founder of Empatica, Matteo Lai, Alumnus of Architecture.

Founded in 2011 by three Alumni of the Politecnico di Milano Matteo Lai, Maurizio Garbarino and Simone Tognetti, and incubated in Polihub, Empatica is a high-tech company developing wearable device with the original mission of monitoring epyleptic crises in order to provide assistance. Since then the company, situated in the US has grown and in 2018 the smartwatch Embrace has been the first to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the insitution in the US responsible for medical and food-related products.

The smartwatches of Empatica are used in a medical and neurological context with the object of monitoring physiological signals in pathological or stress-related situation, thanks to the integration of design and artificial intelligence. Since a few years the team of Empatica studies, among other things a method to early diagnose deases of the breathing apparatus. Since the Covid emergency the researchers have developed an algorithm that is able to collect the data through a device (the sensors monitor the heart beat, the temperature, the breathing pattern and the electrodermal activity and to identify the risk of being infected before developing symptoms.

The method has been chosen by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC) and will be used to find clusters of the deasease. The CEO of Empatica, Matteo Lai, said: “Is a priviledge to fight the desease with the american army. The department has the best track record in the world in promoting technology. It is a race against time as it is a responsibility to our health and our economy."

Source: www.economyup.it

See the video of Matteo Lai speaking at the Convention 2019

We spoke about Empatica in the 4th number of the Magazine Alumni Politecnico di Milano

Credits header/home: https://www.winkco.news/sante/mesure/embrace-objet-connecte-epilepsie/