🏡 What’s new at prg.ai
prg.ai Minor gearing up for a new academic year
As this academic year quickly runs its course, the prg.ai Minor programme is getting ready for the new one: after a successful application round for the 5th rendition of the programme, the results are finally out! Out of 112 applications we received this year, we selected 44 students across six CTU and CUNI faculties. The new cohort of interdisciplinary students can look forward to attending a selection of the best AI and ML courses across four faculties at Czech Technical University and Charles University in Prague.
Yet, in addition to a diverse inter-university curriculum, new students can also look forward to an accompanying programme of community events and prg.ai Minor Industry Talks that provide students with practical insights into the AI industry as well as open new opportunities for networking and practical skill development. This month’s Industry Talk focused on extending students’ so-called soft skills and provided them with tips to improve their public speaking and presentation skills. Anna Wagnerová led an interactive workshop that allowed participating students to prepare, revise, and perform their own presentations on the spot. We’re sure the students walked away with new public speaking confidence.
prg.ai was also represented at this summer semester’s edition of COFIT, an annual careers’ and opportunities’ fair at CTU’s Faculty of Information Technology. Our colleague and prg.ai Minor Manager Petra Dovhunová was available to explain the programme to prospective participants as well as greet current students. Students were able to tap into the prg.ai industrial network and explore the career opportunities the Prague AI ecosystem provides. The CTU careers fair featured stalls of multiple of our industrial members and partners, including Datamole, Qminers and Valeo.
Discovering the basics of AI: in Czech, online, and free of charge
Elements of AI, a free and open online course we coordinate in cooperation with MinnaLearn and the University of Helsinki, is growing as we speak! In March, it saw 1088 newly enrolled participants, passing the threshold of 12 thousand participants based in the Czech Republic by April.
While the course is available to the wide public and accessible to anyone interested in learning about the basic principles behind machine learning and artificial intelligence, it does correspond to 2 ECTS upon successful completion. In case you are a student looking to add some extra credit onto your transcript this year, don’t hesitate to consult your study advisers.
Shaping the future of AI policy in Czech Republic and beyond
The first meeting of the working group on the use of generative AI in education took place this past month. Together with Charles University, we welcomed representatives of Czech Technical University in Prague, University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, the National Pedagogical Institute, and the Smíchov Technical grammar- and high-school. Representatives of the Masaryk University in Brno, whose recent public statement on the topic is accepted as an important benchmark, also joined the session.
The meeting was led by our director Lukáš Kačena together with David Hurný from Charles University. Our objective is to make efforts to grasp and approach new technologies in education as harmonised as possible through inter-institutional and interdisciplinary cooperation! In the coming days and weeks, we will publish further news and outcomes of our working group: don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’re interested in participating.
In addition, prg.ai representatives also attended a preparatory meeting of the Section for Education, Science and Informatics of the Czech Commission for UNESCO, organised at the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The meeting covered a wide range of contemporary challenges across the UNESCO agenda touching upon education and technology, including upcoming curriculum reforms and the impact of new technologies on current and future educational practices. Our colleagues discussed the potential of AI to improve education and enrich curricula, presenting our Elements of AI online course as an important up-skilling resource for teachers and educators as well as for the broader public. We’re happy to provide our specific expertise to these influential decision-makers and look forward to more insightful meetings in the future.
Nurturing our industrial network as the industry expands
This April, we spent a delightful morning together with our industry members and partners, providing a unique mingling space as our professional network extends its scale and scope. The prg.ai breakfast marked a significant milestone as we welcomed not only new members but also three recently announced partner companies from diverse industries, paving the way for exciting collaborations at the intersection of AI and various fields. This particular gathering over breakfast saw new introductions, identified synergies among the participants, and enabled exchanges of ideas, experiences, and best practices. We already look forward to mingling with our industry members and partners again in June.
Fostering an interdisciplinary research community in Prague
Along with the Central Bohemian Innovation Centre and the Amazon Web Services Research & Education team, we’re organising an event to unite Prague’s international research community across disciplines and institutions. We will make time for you to network with peers and colleagues, introduce postdoctoral programmes that may be of interest to you, and shed light on how Amazon Web Services can assist your research. We’re looking forward to welcoming you on Thursday May 11th, 2023, beginning at 17:30. The event will take place in the ground floor lobby of the Faculty of Information Technologies at the Czech Technical University in Prague.
In addition, we were also more than happy to attend the Prague AI Hackathon which took place in Cleevio’s Mississippi House in Karlín, and focused on generative AI applications and technologies. We had a blast: it was great to see the broad diversity of participants who showcased their passion for generative computing. Lawyers, architects, doctors, designers, product managers, data scientists, and software developers all came together to form 10 truly interdisciplinary teams, and – dare we say – had fun all the way through the full 24-hour work sprint. The winning project by team Worwio developed a tool for simultaneous translation, subtitling, and lip-sync of videos, showing off its capabilities in Czech, English, and Spanish. With over 7000 languages spoken around the world, the tool is sure to find a use-case quickly!
🎭 Upcoming invites from prg.ai
9th May, prg.ai workshop: Generative AI in Companies
The next instalment of our business workshops invites you to open your business to new possibilities with AI tools by the likes of ChatGPT, Dall-E, Stable Diffusion, and others. Sign up through the registration form linked below to let us help you harness the power of AI for your entrepreneurship and navigate the current boom of generative AI applications.
11th May, Prague’s International Researchers’ Meetup
If you’re an international professional pursuing research in Prague, we’re planning something special for you! Along with the Central Bohemian Innovation Centre and the Amazon Web Services Research & Education team, we’re organising an event to unite Prague’s international research community across disciplines and institutions. We will make time for you to network with peers and colleagues, introduce prospective postdoctoral programmes, and shed light on how Amazon Web Services can assist your research. To secure your spot and enjoy an evening in diverse company, fill out the form below.
16th May – prg.ai workshop: AI Act – Finding a delicate balance
When it comes to regulating new technologies, it seems that states have a near-impossible conundrum ahead. While AI entrepreneurs warn that the Act may stifle innovation on the old continent, digital rights activists highlight insufficient protections of rights and freedoms in cyberspace. How to resolve this tension and strike the best possible balance? At our workshop, you can hear the opinions of Markéta Gregorová, a member of the European Parliament, Martin Rehák, CEO and founder of Resistant AI, Jiří Drozd representing the Czech Office of the Government, and Jan Kleindienst, co-CEO and co-founder of the MAMA.AI. Don’t miss it: register below.
2nd – 4th June, Machine Learning Prague 2023
During this year’s edition of the Machine Learning Prague Conference, you can look forward to an excellent lineup of 45 international experts in ML and AI business and academic applications at ML Prague 2023. They will present advanced practical talks, hands-on workshops and other forms of interactive content: register at the website below for a chance to level up your skills. And when you’re at it, don’t forget to use our discount code prgai15, which will decrease the cost of your Conference and Workshop ticket by 15%.
🎭 Events we’re excited about
4th May, The deployment of artificial intelligence in cities and regions
The goal of this event organised by Brno.AI is to familiarise city and municipality decision-makers with the potential of using artificial intelligence in everyday work, enable new cooperation with local AI startups, and introduce new financing options for public innovation. The rich program features Jíří Materna, the moving force behind Machine Learning College, as well as Dominik Janik, the CEO of our industrial member Citya.
4th May, AI in Context of Philosophy with Radek Schuster (KFI FF ZČU)
The recent AI boom has elicited many philosophical questions, and highlighted the importance of technology ethics while navigating a fast-moving innovation landscape. What can this classical academic field teach us about the newest of technologies? Join this lecture by Radek Schuster, and make sure you don’t miss out on other instalments of CUNI’s successful AI in Context series either: the full schedule is linked below.
11th May, Sustainable Future Conference Prague
Coming to Prague in early May, Startup Disrupt and Seznam Zprávy are gathering leading experts on sustainability and innovation to discuss the future of our society and planet. The event will present a wide range of new projects, case studies, companies and trends relevant to sustainable development: don’t miss out particularly on the panel discussions covering new technologies and smart city policies’ role in sustainable governance.
11th May, Society 4.0: Artificial intelligence and us
AI has been eliciting many pressing questions: can the AI boom fundamentally alter human activity? Will artificial intelligence support our ability to think critically, or rather limit it? Will it enhance human creativity, or rather replace it? In May, Opero is organising a star-studded panel discussion about exactly these conundrums. The interdisciplinary conversation will benefit from the insights of Tomáš Mikolov (CIIRC CTU) and Václav Moravec, member of our executive board. Mark your calendars!
24th May, Vernissage: When students create with artificial intelligence
Thanks to new generative AI tools, everyone can now easily create impressive original graphics, works of literature, or music compositions. What happens when we put these tools in the hands of elementary and high school students? During this school year, the non-profit educational project Aignos organised 60 interactive workshops at primary and secondary schools throughout the Czech Republic. Students have already generated over 1000 artworks: the best of them will now be exhibited in Didaktikon at Kampus Hybernská.
31st May, AI Symposium: Towards AI for the Next Decade
Czech Technical University’s CIIRC invites you for inspiring talks on the latest approaches in artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, and intelligent robotics at this year’s AI Symposium. The event is hosted and organised by three excellent CIIRC CTU researchers – Robert Babuška, Josef Urban and Josef Šivic, who will present their latest research accomplishments and facilitate stimulating discussions as well as networking opportunities.
1st June, AI Open Day: Trusted AI
Are you interested in artificial intelligence and want to learn more in an interactive way? Would you like to explore and learn about concrete demonstrations of some AI technologies? Join the AI Open Day at CIIRC CTU prepared in collaboration with the European Networks of AI Centres of Excellence, co-organised with CIIRC CTU by virtue of its participation in the VISION Project.
1st – 3rd June, GreenHack 2023
Can you sustain 36 hours of non-stop work for a more sustainable world? The third edition of GreenHack is here to take you up on it: over three days in early June, brave innovators will tackle the planet’s most urgent challenges – including climate change, over-consumption, irresponsible production, and poor resource management – during this international sustainability hackathon.
👏 Members’ and partners’ news that makes us proud
Our industrial member Recombee is an expert in using AI for content and product recommendation, and it’s not afraid to share its expertise. The company’s blog spans various useful explainers and case studies detailing the inner workings of recommender systems, including their interaction with so-called ‘cold start users’ or deployment in modern journalism. If you’d like to discover the full range of industries and clients Recombee helps personalise content for, consider checking out this informative Substack article authored by Recombee co-founder and CEO Pavel Kordík – who also happens to be a member of our executive board!
While the deployment of AI is booming, so is talk about its regulation: yet what is the best approach to rule-making around this complex technology? Can – or should – regulators intervene in the industry, or can AI developers self-regulate effectively? Exactly this conundrum is pondered by CTO of Rossum, Petr Baudiš, in his latest interview for CzechCrunch. In the text, he explains his support for the recent Future of Life Institute Open Letter calling for a temporary halt on developing models larger than GPT-4. Read the article to consider his view in detail as well as get an overview of the stances taken by other notable Czech AI personalities, including prg.ai board member Michal Pěchouček or CTU CIIRC’s Tomáš Mikolov.
AI and ML-based technologies are not only useful in their own right, they can also prove to be an invaluable tool across various diverse industries. For one, our industrial members Resistant AI’s mission is to help businesses remain safe from financial crime attacks on their customers. Using a complex combination of machine learning techniques, their systems are able to detect document forgery, robotic identities, money laundering, fraud, and other threats. On the UK-based platform TechRound, you can now read an interview with ResistantAI CEO Martin Řehák, who recounts the beginnings of this successful company and explains some of its most successful use cases.
The PicRec project, which was launched last year, explores the use of artificial intelligence methods for analysis of image inputs from transmission system lines. Experts from the Institute of Information Theory and Automation of the CAS and ČEPS a.s. have teamed up to verify the applicability of artificial intelligence methods for evaluating the technical state of the transmission system. Specifically, the project focuses on automatic analysis of image inputs taken during line inspections to help improve the technical state of the transmission system and evaluate maintenance procedures. The project also places particular emphasis on data access and training data generation for further improvement of relevant AI models. This focus on new innovation opportunities is important not only for successful network management, but also for improved sustainability and environmental protection.
Scientists from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the CTU collaborate on the expansion and teaching of the open computer architecture RISC-V, which can be used across various areas of the IT industry. This year, Czech Technical University became a member of the non-profit organisation named RISC-V International, which is in charge of developing the project further. Meanwhile, a simulator for teaching based on RISC-V was also created at FEE CTU. “Students get to collaborate on its creation”, notes Dr. Pavel Píša from the Department of Control Engineering, highlighting the projects’ interactivity. In celebration of the project, faculty representatives recently presented their outputs at FOSDEM 2023, the largest conference on open source systems in Europe.
How can we model far-away exoplanets? What even are exoplanets, where are they located, and how can they be explored using machine learning? How is space data currently collected, what is the European Space Agency’s ARIEL mission, and why is it worth investing in space research? So many questions; yet the new episode of the Ones and Zeroes podcast with Ing. Ondřej Podsztavek has all the answers. As a member of the Department of Computer Systems at FIT CTU, he is a well-respected expert working at the intersection of machine learning and space research, and is ready to help you start exploring the fascinating field of space research.
This past month, student Bc. Jan Pokorný from CTU’s FIT got the unique opportunity to present his research article at the prestigious international conference AAAI 23. The annual event is considered to be one of the most important conferences in the field of artificial intelligence, achieving the highest A* rating. The presented article is titled “The Parameterized Complexity of Network Microaggregation”, and deals with the design and analysis of parameterized algorithms for so-called microaggregation of data.
Scientists from the Centre of Artificial Intelligence at FEL CTU set out – along with their trusty robot colleagues – for an exploratory expedition into the ore shaft at Halíře. They deployed several wheeled and walking robots as part of their research into fully autonomous search of underground spaces. The mission’s goal was to model signal propagation and build an ad hoc communication network in a challenging environment. Part of the experiment was also to create a detailed 3D model of the mining complex, which will be used for research purposes as well as for detailed visualisations at the Regional Museum in Jílové u Prahy. Since April, the shaft Halíře is open to the public, and so are other mining spaces: have a look into visiting some!
Computers don’t quite think the way we do: and understanding machine computation can help us unlock some of the mysteries of our own mind, claims Richard Sutton, a legendary figure of early AI research. Professor Sutton visited Prague last year during a visit co-organised by FEE CTU’s AI Center and CUNI’s MFF. In case you missed his guest lecture at the Prague Computer Science Seminar where he discussed the Alberta Plan for Ai Research, you can review it online here.
Long-term research and development support is essential for the health of an innovation ecosystem: and while Prague has some glowing examples of research projects supported from international institutions by the likes of the European Research Council, its share of successful ERC projects is well below the EU average. “Research support is essential for motivating the return of excellent Czech researchers who have embarked on their careers abroad,” notes Josef Šivic, head of a research group focused on intelligent machine perception at CTU’s CIIRC, director of ELLIS Unit Prague, and holder of the ERC Advanced Grant 2022. “Everywhere around me I can see how new arrivals have revived and strengthened the Czech scientific AI community.” If you would like to read more about Professor Šivic’s experience with international research projects and explore what he believes the Czech research ecosystem needs to develop further, read his recent interview in full.
Open data is an essential resource, and learning how to utilise it effectively is an important skill when tackling all kinds of important issues, from scientific challenges to practical problems facing the world’s population. In April, EY embarked upon an Open Science Data Challenge alongside Microsoft and Cornell University, with the ambitious goal to motivate students and young professionals to address world hunger with the help of open data analysis. One of the Czech submissions detailed here used a Time Series Clustering with Dynamic Time Wrapping (DTW) approach to classify rice fields using radar data from Sentinel-1. This case study as well as other submitted models will help scientists, NGOs, and governments draw actionable conclusions around world hunger and global food security.
New technologies pose important challenges to societies as well as individuals, including the youngest among us. Can we look to law for guidance? Since when – and under what conditions – can pupils in primary and secondary schools use the ChatGPT service independently according to Czech law? The legal perspective on generative AI in early schooling was elaborated by Ondřej Vykoukal from the KROUPAHELÁN law firm, in a blog article published in collaboration with AI for Kids. In case you’re interested in even more detailed insights, consider this practical legal handbook lawyers at KROUPAHELÁN have compiled about the challenges of generative AI. Like everything, ChatGPT or Midjourney have some legal pitfalls: it’s important not to get carried away. Whether you’re a regular user or you’re using AI for your business, this guide can tell you what prompts you can enter, what rights you have to your output, or whether someone can sue you for the output you post. Get reading!
📍 From the local AI scene
AI in service of breast cancer prevention and diagnosis
In the breast cancer screening clinic at Waltrovka, doctors will soon have an AI-powered assistant when diagnosing potential tumours. Introduced as an additional diagnostic tool, a new AI system will allow medical professionals to identify potential cancers from mammogram scans with as much as 20% higher accuracy. The new system also provides new opportunities for analysing breast density and recommending patients for further diagnostic tests.
📰 Stuff that interests us
- Stanford AI Index 2022 (annual report)
- Study reveals AI transparency is rarely prioritised among tech builders (report)
- Statement Statement on the Application of Artificial Intelligence in Teaching at Masaryk University (article)
- Duolingo launches new subscription tier with access to AI tutor powered by ChatGPT-4 (article)
- The Czech ML engineer building an open-source ChatGPT competitor at Stability AI (interview, in Czech)
- Generative AI at Work (report)
🧩 AI/ML sources we recommend
Ondřej Dušek on Robust Data-to-text Generation with Pre-trained Language Models
Are you interested in looking under the hood of pre-trained large language models? The Czech Republic has some of the world’s leading experts, and thanks to a collaboration of Prague’s foremost research institutions you can benefit from their expertise. The Prague Computer Science Seminar has released a lecture by LLM expert Ondřej Dušek for online viewing, complete with slides and lecture recording. Give it a listen: you’ll want to take notes!
Responsible AI Collaborative’s AI Incident Database
Despite the attention generative AI tools have been getting in recent months, the AI landscape is ever-more diverse, and we interact with machine learning algorithms much more frequently than we may initially imagine. The fairness and trustworthiness of algorithms is therefore crucial: the Responsible AI Collaborative’s AI Incident Database aims to contribute by providing a searchable database of latest problems and incidents causing wrinkles throughout the industry. The crowd-sourced project aims to learn from experience so we can prevent or mitigate bad outcomes: if you can think of an incident to submit, don’t hesitate.
📢 Community calls
Join the European Institute of Innovation & Technology Open Innovation Factory
Do you want to accelerate the growth of your early-stage digital deep tech start-up? Submit your proposal to the EIT Digital “Open Innovation Factory 2023” to receive support while developing your technology, signing up customers, and attracting investment. Selected proposals will receive financial support from EIT Digital and be embedded in its pan-European ecosystem of over 350 partners from business and industry, research and academia, finance, and the public sector.
Assemble a team for the Mobileheroes Challenge
Ministry of Economic Affairs in Taiwan is set to organise a new instalment of Mobileheroes, an annual tech contest that aims to discover new ICT talents. This year, the contest’s Connectivity Innovation Challenge aims to present revolutionary and creative solutions and services in sectors such as AI, IoT and 5G. International incubators, accelerators, startups and SMEs are welcome to participate: if you are interested, refer to the event’s website and send in your application by June 30th.
Apply to join the Global Partnership on AI expert panels
GPAI is welcoming applications to join its efforts as a Self-Nominated Expert. Experts are expected to volunteer on average six to eight hours per month to GPAI, gaining an opportunity to contribute and network within working groups on responsible AI, data governance, the future of work, and innovation and commercialization. Applications will be open until 2nd June 2023; young researchers, entrepreneurs and civil society workers are encouraged to apply through this online form, submitting a CV and a 500-word letter of intent. Give it a shot!
💼 Open job positions
Various positions (including ML and Data Science)
Various positions (including ML and Data Science)
Various positions (including ML and Data Science)
Next up from prg.ai
Typical Prague AI firm is young, self-sufficient, and export oriented, shows our new comprehensive study
130 companies, 11 interviews, 9 business topics. Explore all that and more in the unique study authored by prg.ai, which contains an overview of last year's most notable events on the local AI scene or articles on the future of AI or gender equality in research.
prg.ai newsletter #37
With the snowfall brought by the first days of December, the 37th issue of the prg.ai newsletter is here. And with it, a monthly overview of the most important things that happened in the local AI scene. As always, the newsletter includes an invitation to several December events or a section of selected (not only) AI-related jobs and interesting community calls.
prg.ai newsletter #36
With Dny AI, we managed to connect not only the Czech AI scene, but also different sectors of society, allowing all participants to take a look under the hood of what is happening in the world of artificial intelligence. The four-week marathon of more than a hundred events in four cities across the Czech Republic culminated in the Prague finale and industry awards ceremony. But that doesn't mean there's nothing else going on, quite the opposite!
prg.ai newsletter #35
After the summer break we welcome you to our thirty-fifth newsletter. In the October issue you will find a lot of AI news that you should not miss. At the same time, get your calendars ready, because this month is packed with interesting events that you should definitely not miss. We wish cantors and students a peaceful start to the new semester and the rest of our readers a colourful start to autumn.