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ELLIS (European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems) announced the establishment of 17 so-called ELLIS units at the NeurIPS conference in Vancouver, Canada on 10 December. This branches aim to establish European researchers in machine-based fields learning top conditions comparable to the world's best workplaces. The Czech Institute of Computer Science, Robotics and Cybernetics (CIIRC) of CTU has become one of the ELLIS branches located in 10 European countries and Israel.

The aim of ELLIS is to establish first-rate conditions for scientific work in Europe and to ensure the cooperation of the different components of ELLIS so that European research in machine-learning areas is a world leader with a positive impact on the economy and society. The establishment of ELLIS branches is another step towards the realization of the long-term vision of ELLIS, which is the creation of an intergovernmental European program, modeled on the European Laboratory for Molecular Biology (EMBL).

The Czech branch is based on scientists who came to CTU CIIRC from abroad and are led by excellent teams of VVV operational programme dealing with research in various areas of artificial intelligence - Josef Šivic, Josef Urban and Robert Babuška. The first two are also holders of prestigious ERC grants. Tomáš Pajdla, who is a member of ELLIS and is leading a group of applied algebra and geometry at CTU CIIRC, and Tomáš Mikolov, who is returning to the Czech Republic from prestigious research positions at Facebook or Google and is building a research team at CIIRC ČVUT research into general artificial intelligence. These internationally recognized names and their research teams are the basis for setting up active collaboration not only within ELLIS, but also with organizations and research teams in the Czech Republic and to create an environment that will be attractive to industry leaders in the long term.

In addition to Prague, ELLIS will also be located in Alicante, Amsterdam, Zurich, Darmstadt, Delft, Freiburg, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Linz, Lausanne, Leuven, Oxford, Saarbruecken, Tel Aviv, Tübingen and Vienna. The selection of individual teams has always been carried out without the participation of scientists of the country whose institution has been assessed to avoid conflicts of interest. The main emphasis was put on proven scientific excellence and implementation of the long-term vision of ELLIS. The goal for the future is not only to expand the network of ELLIS branches, but also to organize joint research programs or exchange internships of the participating institutions. ELLIS support has been expressed by companies such as Audi, Bosch, Porsche, Siemens, Amazon, Facebook, Google, NVIDIA and many others.