Visual Intelligence is officially opened and ready to solve important societal challenges

The new Center for research-based innovation, Visual Intelligence, was officially opened today. The center researches artificial intelligence in close collaboration with business and health trusts, and will develop future solutions with a budget of NOK 300 million.

Robert Jenssen at the opening of SFI Visual Intelligence. PHOTO: JONATAN OTTESEN / UIT

The UiT Machine Learning group and its research environment has been given the status of Center for Research-based Innovation (SFI) - with an allocation of up to NOK 96 million over eight years from the Research Council of Norway. With the support of their user partners, they have a total of NOK 294 million to develop artificial intelligence and image analysis for the future. On Thursday 14 January, they marked the opening of the new SFI with a digital event.

Robert Jenssen (left) at UiT is center manager for Visual Intelligence. Here with the chair of the board at the center and UNN director, Anita Scumacher at the opening of the center. UNN and a number of other major players are partners in the center. PHOTO: JONATAN OTTESEN / UIT NORWEGIAN ARCTIC UNIVERSITY.

- Starting Visual Intelligence is something we have been looking forward to with great joy and enormous enthusiasm, says center leader and professor at UiT Robert Jenssen.

We have assembled a team of outstanding researchers and partners from academia, business and the public sector. The interdisciplinary approach and our complementary areas of expertise are a key to success, says center leader and professor Robert Jenssen.

UiT's Rector Anne Husebekk opened the new SFI under the auspices of UiT, Visual Intelligence. PHOTO: JONATAN OTTESEN / UIT

UiT's rector Anne Husebekk had the honor of opening the center. 

- I am incredibly proud to open a new SFI under the auspices of UiT, says Husebekk.

She talks about the technological development that has taken place since she started as a young researcher in medicine, and studied one cell at a time. At the end of her research career, eight years ago, it was possible to study millions of cells at once. 

- And if you can then see millions of cells in many different experiments at once using images from artificial intelligence, you will see something completely different! It is the main point that makes machine learning and artificial intelligence so useful - it is a field of research that adds to usability, both in medicine and many other areas, says Rector Husebekk.

Solves major societal challenges

Visual Intelligence will further develop the field of visual intelligence - deep learning from images by artificial neural networks - beyond what is possible with current technology. The approach to the center is interdisciplinary and will create value across innovation areas where analysis of complex image data will have great utility value.

The center will develop better tools for, among other things, detecting heart disease and cancer, monitoring and detecting natural resources such as fish stocks, and monitoring the environment and climate, risks and potential natural disasters. The activities will thus contribute to solving important societal challenges related to health, resource management and environmental and climate monitoring.

Methods can be used across innovation areas

Analysis and image data bring the different innovation areas together. 

- The analysis methodology we develop in one area can often be useful in other innovation areas. For example, a method for finding cancerous tumors in the body with artificial intelligence could also be used to categorize fish species, says the center's leader, Robert Jenssen.

- With the new status as SFI, we can continue to be a leader nationally and internationally in this type of research, in collaboration with our research partners, the Norwegian Computing Center and the University of Oslo, says Jenssen.

Jenssen heads the center together with the co-directors Line Eikvil and Anne Solberg at the Norwegian Computing Center and the University of Oslo, respectively.

Close collaboration with major partners

The center is a consortium of major players as its user partners, which cover a wide range of private and public sectors. The University Hospital in Northern Norway, the Norwegian Cancer Registry, GE Vingmed Ultrasound and Helse Nord IKT represent the health field. Equinor covers the energy field and the Institute of Marine Research represents the marine. Within Earth observation, the partners are KSAT and the company Terratec.

- With the help of this special composition of partners, we get close to the issues that are important for these major partners. Through close collaboration, we learn to know their challenges and understand more easily how we can develop solutions they need, says Jenssen.


Media contact person on the occasion of the opening of Visual Intelligence: Robert Jenssen.

This article was originally written in Norwegian by Trude Haugseth Moe for UiT, and is translated to English for the Visual Intelligence website. Read the original article.

Av Trude Haugseth Moe (in Norwegian)
Publisert 20. jan. 2021 06:45 - Sist endret 20. jan. 2021 06:45