Publication date: 
When in 2013 a new institute was formed at Czech Technical University in Prague, which set itself the task of linking informatics with other fields such as engineering, robotics, electrical engineering, biomedicine, energy or construction, very little attention was paid to areas such as Industry 4.0 or artificial intelligence in the Czech Republic. Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics (CIIRC) has bet on this card in a visionary way and can boast a number of achievements as it celebrates its tenth anniversary.

Above all, it managed to attract back  prominent scientific personalities such as Jan Šedivý, Tomáš Mikolov, Josef Šivic, Robert Babuška, Josef Urban or Torsten Sattler to its ranks from abroad, and together with founding professors such as Vladimír Mařík, Vladimír Kučera, Václav Hlaváč, Zdeněk Hanzálek, Olga Štěpánková and others set up excellent research teams. The institute with more than three hundred employees is also unique in that it has been able to secure funding for its operation and is in principle self-financing, especially thanks to highly competitive grants and contract research.

In a record time of three years, it also managed to build a modern headquarters in Prague's Dejvice campus. The CTU received a state subsidy of one billion crowns for the construction and today you will find modern scientific laboratories, teaching spaces and innovative testbeds filled with experts, students and technologies that connect science with practice.

Thanks to the activity of scientists and visionaries gathered around CIIRC under the leadership of its founder Prof. Vladimír Mařík, many of whom later met again at the National Industry 4.0 Centre, a National Industry 4.0 Initiative was prepared for the Czech government. The Czech-German Centre of Excellence RICAIP is developing technological possibilities for smart and sustainable industrial production based on the principles of Industry 4.0.

"Supporting excellent science, excellent scientists and knowledge transfer to industry are among my priorities. That's why I am a fan of places like CIIRC CTU. Our society must not fall asleep in artificial intelligence research, and CIIRC knows this well," says Helena Langšádlová, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation.

"The vision and goals with which we approached founding of the new scientific institute have surpassed our expectations; we anticipated the importance of the now massively discussed artificial intelligence, and that is why multidisciplinary teams can operate here, which are among the best rated in the Czech Republic and Europe. "It is artificial intelligence that significantly influences how our society develops and changes," says Prof. Vladimír Mařík, Scientific Director of CIIRC CTU. "It is a priority for us to develop artificial intelligence systems at the least European level and on ethical principles as defined in the EU. That is why we are part of several European networks of excellence for artificial intelligence, such as Tailor, ELISE, Vision, euRobin, and other important AI activities such as CLAIRE, ELLIS or ADRA."

CIIRC silver medals were also presented during the celebration of the Institute's first ten years of operation, which includes a three-day series of conferences and workshops called Industry-AI Days 2023. These were awarded to those who have contributed significantly to the creation and continued operation of the Institute: to Mirek Topolánek, who as Prime Minister personally first supported the idea of the new Institute; to Vít Dočkal, whose bold vision and track record in project management helped make the CIIRC a reality; and to Holger Hoos, a prominent AI scientist who has supported CIIRC in the European research community and helped CIIRC gain an international reputation.

"The success of AI made in Europe depends on the talent and expertise in this field across Europe. CIIRC, CTU and the Czech AI ecosystem as a whole are excellent examples of efforts and contributions that are having a real impact," describes Holger Hoos, Professor of Artificial Intelligence at RWTH Aachen University.

During the festive morning, leading representatives of Czech science, industry and the state saw concrete examples of modern approaches in production developed by research teams within the RICAIP centre. A demonstration of the production of a model car in the Testbed for Industry 4.0 presented the advantages of the latest concept of distributed modular production, in which various technologies and remote workplaces are dynamically involved in the production process using artificial intelligence algorithms. The aim is to be able to quickly adapt production to sudden changes and automatically ensure smooth operation in the event of sudden disruptions in supply chains or when product parameters change based on customer requirements.

The Prague testbed is included in RICAIP research infrastructure together with experimental laboratories in Brno, CEITEC BUT and Saarbrücken, Germany. Guests were able to see the robotic stations from these workplaces live during an online connection with teams from the German institutes DFKI and ZeMA using virtual reality and with the CEITEC BUT team. The testbeds within RICAIP offer companies an ideal environment for proof of concept for advanced manufacturing.

"We are delighted that in ten years we have managed to create an institute with truly outstanding scientific personalities and results and that we can say that we are succeeding in pursuing our vision as we set out to do. However, it is necessary to compare ourselves with the best and to cooperate with scientific institutions and companies in the Czech Republic, Europe and around the world. That is why at the end of the event we symbolically released balloons with CIIRC inscription so that they continue to rise to greater heights," said Dr. Ondřej Velek, the Institute's Director, wishing the best for the anniversary.

Contact person: