Why AI companies love the Greater Zurich Area

Why AI companies love the Greater Zurich Area

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is currently on everyone’s lips. Did you know that in Switzerland some of the smartest minds worldwide are teaching machines to learn? In the Greater Zurich Area they are decoding the human brain and working towards the next breakthrough in the field of artificial intelligence.

Machines are not yet able to surpass humans in their thinking, and in most cases only deal with routine tasks. However, many institutes and companies in the Greater Zurich Area are trying to change this, as the following – incomplete – compilation shows:

Just recently, the Zurich-based technology company ABB announced that it is entering into a partnership with IBM to develop industrial artificial intelligence solutions. At its research lab in Zurich, IBM Research is already creating applications that enable humans to collaborate with powerful AI technologies to discover, analyze and tackle the world’s greatest challenges. The researchers in Zurich are, for example, working together with hospitals on how IBM Watson can support doctors in the diagnosis of rare diseases.

Google recently established a new research center for machine learning at its Zurich location. The lab concentrates on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and computer linguistics, with a particular focus on enhancing what is known as natural language understanding. Google is therefore expanding in Zurich, and opened their new offices at Europaallee (Sihlpost) in early 2017. Zurich already hosts Google’s largest engineering office outside the US, with 2,000 staff from 75 countries currently employed.

The renowned Max Planck ETH Center for Learning Systems lab at ETH Zurich brings together leading researchers in the field of learning systems. Together they aim to achieve a fundamental understanding of perception, learning, and adaption in complex systems by providing a platform for exchange in research and education.  If you want to get in touch with top ETH researchers on this topic, I highly recommend you participate on May 16, 2017 in the upcoming ETH Zurich meets New York event ‘The Future is Cognitive’: This symposium will feature keynote presentations and panel discussions across a variety of topics at the frontier of machine learning and AI. Among the speakers are Kevin Schawinski and Ce Zhang from ETH Zurich, Chris Luebkeman from Arup Foresight, Pascal Kaufmann from Starmind International AG, Georg Polzer from Teralytics, and Chris Wiggins from Columbia University. Download program and register now.

The Robotics and Perception Group, part of the Department of Informatics at the University of Zurich, is led by Prof Dr Davide Scaramuzza and was founded in February 2012. Its mission is to develop autonomous machines that can navigate independently using only onboard cameras, without relying on external infrastructure such as GPS or motion capture systems. (Link)

The Lucerne School of Information Technology in Rotkreuz, Zug also deals with the development of learning and adaptive systems for flexible and efficient processes in the interaction between humans and machines as well as between machine and machine. One example is their latest project ‘Cognitive Services in Technical Customer Service’ (Link).

Zurich-based Starmind has already found a successful business model in the field of artificial intelligence: based on neural networks, this young, successful company maps the knowledge within companies and makes it available to the employees. A kind of ‘learning, real-time Google’ that always finds the colleague who can answer the question best. (Link)

The SwissCognitive network aims to unite Swiss companies using AI and cognitive technologies within a single network. Cognitive intelligence should become a key industry sector in Switzerland, and therefore SwissCognitive initialises and supports specific projects within Swiss companies.

Thanks to the new Gotthard railway tunnel, Ticino is closer to the Greater Zurich Area than ever: the Swiss AI Lab IDSIA (Istituto Dalle Molle di Studi sull’Intelligenza Artificiale), a non-profit oriented research institute for artificial intelligence, based in Lugano, focuses on machine learning (deep neural networks, reinforcement learning), operations research, data mining, and robotics.

As you can see, Artificial intelligence is currently being researched and applied at world class level right here, and if you interested in joining this highly innovative business environment, we would be delighted to help you connect with the key players, and ensure that your business thrives in the Greater Zurich Area.



About the author 

Sonja Wollkopf Walt studied law at the University of Berne. After her post graduate studies in European law and a few years of being a research and teaching assistant, she started her career as a consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers. After further education in marketing and management she started in 1999 with Greater Zurich Area AG as project and marketing manager. In October 2002, Sonja Wollkopf Walt became a member of the organization’s executive team, responsible for the operational part of the organization and for the markets USA, Europe and Russia. She has been CEO of Greater Zurich Area AG since January 1, 2010.

Leave a Comment