From January 2020 on, the newly established RICAIP Centre (Research and Innovation Centre on Advanced Industrial Production) at the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics, and Cybernetics of CTU in Prague (CIIRC CTU) will be led by German scientist Tilman Becker. He comes to the Czech Republic from the German DFKI, one of the most important research institutions focused on artificial intelligence, where he has been working for 25 years. Within the RICAIP Project, he will lead the RICAIP Centre, which is built to manage and use testbed research infrastructures not only among partners but later also within the entire Europe. At RICAIP, he wants to further develop the latest technologies targeting the use of AI in industrial robotics with direct applications in production. Dr. Becker has been recommended as RICAIP Director by an international selection committee in 2019.
Tilman Becker graduated in computer science at RWTH Aachen in Germany. He defended his doctorate at the University of Saarland in Saarbrücken, Germany, after studying also at the University of Pennsylvania. After working in the Mercedes-Benz Research Lab and the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science in Philadelphia (IRCS UPENN), he linked his further career with DFKI, the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence in Saarbrücken, where he has been working since 1995 and collaborated closely with Professor Wolfgang Wahlster, the scientific father of INDUSTRIE 4.0, who has formed the concept in 2011 together with the industrial father Professor Henning Kagermann and the political father Professor Wolf-Dieter Lukas. “Human-Robot-Collaboration in hybrid teams is one of the core concepts of INDUSTRIE 4.0 in combination with service-oriented architectures (SOA), cyber-physical systems (CPS) and multi-agent systems (MAS): in all these fields both CIIRC and DFKI are leading academic hotspots. Since in the Czech Republic and in Germany industrial production is a very significant sector of the economy this is an ideal partnership boosting industrial AI as an innovation motor for both countries”, says Professor Wahlster, Founding Scientific Director and CEA of DFKI.
In recent years, Tilman Becker has become an important figure in the interconnection of CIIRC research teams with DFKI. “With hiring of Tilman Becker, both the RICAIP research team and CIIRC as a whole are gaining a significant reinforcement – a person with an international reputation, great experience and knowledge,” says Professor Vladimír Mařík, Scientific Director of CIIRC CTU, who has just appointed Dr. Becker as the RICAIP director after a successful selection procedure. “It is also very important that he knows our key partner DFKI very well, which will greatly help linking research activities not only in the RICAIP project. Cooperation with German partners in the field of automation and robotization of industrial production is strategically important for our institute as well as for the economy of this country. RICAIP Centre, built under the leadership of Tilman Becker, will have a European dimension and will allow the use of research infrastructures across Europe.”
“Working in Prague for RICAIP means a great challenge and commitment to me at the same time”, admits Tilman Becker and emphasizes: “To build up a true centre of excellence from its very inception to the ambitious goals as defined for RICAIP – it is an opportunity that does not repeat itself. I will be delighted to play a central role in this endeavour, well aware that it can only be achieved as a team effort. Personally, I am happy I can build on fruitful years of cooperation between our teams in DFKI and CIIRC – this gives me a great confidence that such a team is in place at CIIRC.”
Tilman Becker has personally been involved in formulating the main ideas of the RICAIP project. His aim is to link the RICAIP testbeds with other European research institutes and move them to the world level. He will benefit from the broad knowledge and experience of digital transformation, machine learning, cyber-physical production systems and human-machine interaction, as well as the active links he has to both major research networks in artificial intelligence and Big Data (e.g. CLAIRE or BDVA), and large industrial corporations. Tilman Becker wants to strengthen the interdisciplinary cooperation at RICAIP and to focus on the social impact of new technologies.