Master Artificial Intelligence - USI & Swiss AI Lab IDSIA, Juergen Schmidhuber. (Picture: Parts of Lake Lugano and Lugano itself, taken by Prof. Tobias Glasmachers, ex-postdoc of Schmidhuber)

Get a Master's Degree in Artificial Intelligence!

Taught by award-winning experts of the Swiss AI Lab, IDSIA, and the Faculty of Informatics at the University of Lugano (USI). This is the first AI Master program in Switzerland, the world's leading science nation.

Why Study Artificial Intelligence?

1. Bombastic Answer: Because AI will change the world more fundamentally than anything else - more on this below.

2. Pragmatic Answer: Because top Information Technology (IT) companies (Apple, Google, many others) are eagerly seeking AI experts - more in the column to the right.

AI research may not only be the most exciting field in computer science, but of science in general. In fact, the best scientists of the future might even be AIs themselves. Hardware soon will have more raw computational power (CP) than human brains, since CP per cent is still growing by a factor of 100 per decade. And there is no reason to believe that general problem solving software similar to that of humans will be lacking: there already exist mathematically optimal (though not yet practical) universal problem solvers developed at our Swiss AI Lab, IDSIA, (more). And existing highly practical (but not quite as universal) AIs already learn from experience, outperforming humans in more and more fields. For example, our biologically plausible deep / recurrent artificial neural networks are learning to solve pattern recognition tasks that seemed infeasible only 10 years ago. Examples: images, handwriting, traffic signs, since 2011 even with superhuman performance - no end in sight. Our LSTM is in Amazon's Alexa, in Google's Machine Translation, in Apple's iPhone, in Google's speech recognition on Android phones and Google's automatic email answering. Even creativity has been formalized such that it can now be implemented on machines. The current developments in AI may soon lead to the end of history as we know it (more), and as an AI master student you can become part of this revolution.

Copyright notice (2012): Fibonacci web design by Jürgen Schmidhuber. Last update 2017.

Humanoid robot emerges from digital plane

How to apply? See the AI Master Page at USI
with admission requirements (also for other specialisations, and for certain students without bachelor degree in computer science), application procedures and deadlines. Language requirements: all courses are in English.

According to Computer World (2009), expertise in Machine Learning (ML) is the top skill sought by IT employers. And of course, ML is an essential ingredient of our AI specialisation. Today ML is everywhere: search engines use it to improve answers to queries, email programs use it to filter spam, banks use it to predict exchange rates and stock markets, doctors use it to recognize tumors, robots use it to localize themselves and obstacles, video games use it to enhance the player's experience, adaptive telescopes use it to improve image quality, smartphones use it to recognize objects / faces / gestures / voices / music, etc etc... After the first few lectures of the basic AI course on ML, AI master students will already know how to train self-learning artificial neural networks to recognize the images and handwritings to the right better than any other known method - students will rapidly gain familiarity with state-of-the-art algorithms developed at IDSIA and other AI labs.

Evolutionary computation and black box optimization Optimization is a closely related central topic of the AI specialisation. Intelligent computational systems optimize their behavior in changing, unpredictable and usually incompletely known environments. They often take inspiration from nature, using concepts from neuroscience, biological evolution, cognitive science, and physical systems. Numerous applications include the design of more efficient boats / airplanes / cars, traffic management, chip design, internet and smartphone routing.

Jürgen Schmidhuber's Guitar Bot Artificial Intelligence is also becoming more and more important for engineering and robotics. Currently we are living through a robot population explosion. In 1980 there were just 30,000 robots; in 2002, already 1,000,000, almost half in Japan, one third in Europe. The robot population explosion might eventually overtake the human one, once cognitive robots no longer have to be hardwired, but instead learn by themselves. Self-driving robot cars already use AI to automatically recognize pedestrians, traffic signs, dangerous situations, etc. As an AI master's student you will be able to take robotics courses and get hands-on experience in the IDSIA Robot Lab.

To summarize: Students graduating from the AI program will be able to solve many complex problems in interdisciplinary and commercially relevant areas. Examples include probabilistic reasoning, intelligent search, planning and scheduling, control, robotics, optimized wireless routing, business forecasting, financial forecasting, health forecasting, video game creation, recognition of objects & faces & handwriting & speech & gestures & music, artificial music composition, automatic answering and diagnostics.

Coursework material, software tools and robots reflect the latest state of the art. Opportunities for collaborating on exciting research projects will arise during the course of the thesis, with chances of eventually continuing as a PhD student.

Illustrations of benchmarks and international competitions won by teams led by the teachers of the Artificial Intelligence master (image recognition, hadwriting recognition, RoboCup world championship in the fast league). AI students will learn basics of the methods that made this possible. The Swiss AI Lab IDSIA

Your AI teachers are from IDSIA, one of the world's top 10 Artificial Intelligence Labs, according to the Business Week X-Lab Survey. They are renowned in their field, and have won many best paper awards and international competitions in machine learning and Artificial Intelligence. Basic AI/ML courses are given by Prof. Jürgen Schmidhuber (news), supported by evolutionary computation experts. The AI Robotics course was taught by RoboCup World Champion Dr. Alexander Förster, the course on Simulation and Optimization by Prof. Andrea Rizzoli, the AI Heuristics course by Dr. Roberto Montemanni and Dr. Gianni Di Caro (see Swarm Robotics), the AI Uncertain Reasoning and Data Mining course by Prof. Marco Zaffalon and Dr. Giorgio Corani. The Scientific Director for the Specialisation in AI is Prof. Luca Maria Gambardella, pioneer of Swarm Intelligence and Artificial Ant Colony Optimization.

Switzerland The AI master program is taught at USI in the beautiful city of Lugano in Ticino, the scenic southern Swiss province (here a few pics by JS). Milano, Italy's center of fashion and finance, is 1 hour away, Venice 3 hours. English is the official language at both IDSIA and USI's Faculty of Informatics.

Switzerland in general is a great place for science students. It is the origin of numerous breakthroughs such as special relativity (1905) and the World Wide Web (1990), is associated with 105 Nobel laureates, and boasts far more Nobel prizes per capita than any other nation. It also has the world's highest number of publications per capita, the highest number of patents per capita, the highest citation impact factor, the biggest and most expensive machine ever, etc. More.

Right: AAAI 2011 best video: Swarmanoid, the movie (5:25), with contributions from IDSIA's AI teachers LG & GC, IRIDIA (group of Dorigo, ex-IDSIA), EPFL, ISTC. Far right: AI teacher JS at the 2009 Singularity Summit in NYC. More videos.
AAAI 2011 best video award (San Francisco) for Swarmanoid, the movie, with contributions from AI teachers of IDSIA, IRIDIA (group of Dorigo, ex-IDSIA), EPFL, ISTC Jürgen Schmidhuber at Singularity Summit 2009 - Compression Progress: The Algorithmic Principle Behind Curiosity and Creativity