Bosch opens center for data science and artificial intelligence at IIT Madras


Chennai: The Robert Bosch Center for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (RBC-DSAI) was inaugurated at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT M) today (6th February 2019).

“Artificial Intelligence is a core technology for all areas of connected life – from connected mobility to buildings, factories, and cities. The expertise of our Indian engineers contributes to expanding the AI skills set of Bosch,” said Dr. Michael Bolle, member of Bosch’s board of management, during the opening ceremony. Bosch will invest 20 crores (2.5 million euros) over five years in the center. The mission of the new center is to create societal impact through multidisciplinary interactions with government, academic, research and industrial collaborators on core challenges in Data Science (DS) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The RBC-DSAI will undertake foundational research in many areas of AI and Data Science, namely deep learning, reinforcement learning, network analytics, interpretable machine learning, and domain aware AI. The areas of activity include research projects, knowledge management and dissemination, outreach projects, and setting up collaborative facilities and laboratories. “The center’s mandate requires interaction with industry and other universities, including international student and faculty exchanges. The objective is to advance scientific innovation for societal benefit,” says Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras.

Applied research will begin in four verticals: manufacturing analytics, financial analytics, smart cities, systems biology and health care. Several technologies currently require large datasets to improve their accuracy and to adapt these technologies for the Indian context. There are basic issues in the way we collect and share data; these need to be solved in a collective and open-sourced manner. To address this issue, Prof. B. Ravindran, who heads RBC-DSAI, says, “The center, in addition to fundamental research, is setting out on an ambitious task of creating a portal of curated, India specific data sets that are easy to access and interpret through a set of open tools and interfaces.”

Deep Reinforcement Learning is at the cutting edge of the new AI revolution and is responsible for the many path-breaking developments in AI recently.
RBC-DSAI has the largest Deep Reinforcement Learning group in India. Researchers at RBC-DSAI are also looking at networked data across different disciplines – biology, transportation, water distribution, process modelling, online social media, telecom, and reaction networks.

“Bosch has funded two important technology areas with Cyber Physical Systems and Data Sciences & AI at IISc (Indian Institute of Science) and IIT-M. By working together and conducting aligned R&D activities, they could accelerate major breakthroughs which will have wider societal impact,” says Dr. Vijendran Venkoparao, head of technology strategy and university relations at Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions.

“This partnership between Bosch and IIT-M will accelerate research for societal impact, taking a long term view for India”, says Mr. Vijay Ratnaparkhe, president and managing director at Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions.

India is one of four locations of Bosch Center for AI

In the future, artificial intelligence will be a key component of Bosch products. All products will either possess that intelligence themselves, or AI will have played a key role in their development or manufacture. The company founded the Bosch Center for Artificial intelligence (BCAI) in 2017 to expand its AI skills set. Bosch is investing some 300 million euros until 2021 into the BCAI. The center was established across three continents and one of the center’s four locations is right here in Bengaluru. Two further branches are located in the U.S.A. – in Sunnyvale, California, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – and a third in Renningen, Germany. Bosch applies AI to optimize processes in manufacturing, engineering, and supply chain management, and to enable intelligent services.