Juergen Schmidhuber 2022 at KAUST. Image in the public domain.

Jürgen Schmidhuber (2022)
Pronounce: You_again Shmidhoobuh
AI Blog
Twitter: @SchmidhuberAI

Curriculum Vitae

Summary. The New York Times headlined: "When A.I. Matures, It May Call Jürgen Schmidhuber 'Dad'." Since age 15 or so, his main goal has been to build a self-improving Artificial Intelligence (AI) smarter than himself, then retire. His lab's Deep Learning Neural Networks (NNs) based on ideas published in the "Annus Mirabilis" 1990-1991 have revolutionised machine learning and AI. In 2009, the CTC-trained Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) of his team was the first recurrent NN to win international pattern recognition competitions. In 2010, his lab's fast and deep feedforward NNs on GPUs greatly outperformed previous methods, without using any unsupervised pre-training, a popular deep learning strategy that he pioneered in 1991. In 2011, the DanNet of his team was the first feedforward NN to win computer vision contests, achieving superhuman performance. In 2012, they had the first deep NN to win a medical imaging contest (on cancer detection). This deep learning revolution quickly spread from Europe to North America and Asia, and attracted enormous interest from industry. By the mid 2010s, his lab's NNs were on 3 billion devices, and used billions of times per day through users of the world's most valuable public companies, e.g., for greatly improved speech recognition on all Android smartphones, greatly improved machine translation through Google Translate and Facebook (over 4 billion LSTM-based translations per day), Apple's Siri and Quicktype on all iPhones, the answers of Amazon's Alexa, and numerous other applications. In May 2015, his team published the Highway Net, the first working really deep feedforward NN with hundreds of layers—its open-gated version called ResNet (Dec 2015) has become the most cited NN of the 21st century, LSTM the most cited NN of the 20th (Bloomberg called LSTM the arguably most commercial AI achievement). His lab's NNs are now heavily used in healthcare and medicine, helping to make human lives longer and healthier. His research group also established the fields of mathematically rigorous universal AI and recursive self-improvement in metalearning machines that learn to learn (since 1987). In 1990, he introduced unsupervised generative adversarial neural networks that fight each other in a minimax game to implement artificial curiosity (the famous GANs are instances thereof). In 1991, he introduced neural fast weight programmers formally equivalent to what's now called Transformers with linearized self-attention (today, Transformers are driving the famous ChatGPT). His formal theory of creativity & curiosity & fun explains art, science, music, and humor. He also generalized algorithmic information theory and the many-worlds theory of physics, and introduced the concept of Low-Complexity Art, the information age's extreme form of minimal art. He is recipient of numerous awards, author of about 400 peer-reviewed papers, and Chief Scientist of the company NNAISENSE, which aims at building the first practical general purpose AI. He is a frequent keynote speaker, and advising various governments on AI strategies.

Recent Titles and Positions

Co-Founder, NNAISENSE, 2014; President 2014-2017; Chief Scientist, 2017-

Director of the AI Initiative at KAUST (university with the highest impact per faculty), 2021-

Scientific Director, Swiss AI Lab, IDSIA, Lugano, Switzerland (country with highest impact per capita in AI), March 1995-

Adjunct Professor of Artificial Intelligence, Faculty of Computer Science, University of Lugano (USI), 2021-

Chief Scientific Advisor of the non-profit AI Research Institute (AIRI), 2021

Previous Titles and Positions

Professor of Artificial Intelligence (Ordinarius) at the Faculty of Computer Science at the University of Lugano (USI), 2009-2021

Head of Cognitive Robotics Lab in the Faculty of Computer Science at TU Munich from October 2004 until April 2009 as Professor Extraordinarius.

Professor SUPSI, Manno, Switzerland, 2003-2021

Oberassistent at TUM: October 1993 - February 1995. Privatdozent since January 1995.

Postdoc at University of Colorado at Boulder (CU): July 1991 - December 1992. (Declined postdoc offer by Caltech.)

Research Associate at TUM: March 1991 - June 1991

Graphic Designer in a printery: 1982 - 1983

Military Service - Obligatory service in German Army 1981 - 1982.

Awards Etc

2019 Steiger Award (previous recipients include Franz Beckenbauer, Shimon Peres, Bob Geldof, Boris Becker, Buzz Aldrin, Lou Reed, Mark Knopfler, the Queens of Spain & Sweden, Frank Gehry, the Klitschko brothers, and others). More.

2016 IEEE CIS Neural Networks Pioneer Award, for "pioneering contributions to deep learning and neural networks." More.

2013 Helmholtz Award of the International Neural Networks Society (Dallas, 2013). More.

★ Appointed to the Academia Scientiarum et Artium Europaea (2009), the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, whose 1317 members included numerous Nobel laureates, renowned architects and artists, and the Pope.

★ Appointed to the Swiss Academy of Technical Sciences (2017)

2016 NVIDIA Pioneers of AI Research Award (which came with a DGX-1 deep learning supercomputer) for JS' Lab

2016 Swiss ICT Special Award (more) for IDSIA (accepted with Luca Gambardella)

★ Named Top 100 Leader of Switzerland 2018 by Swiss economy magazine BILANZ

1st Prizes in International Competitions (more here and here)

Between 2009 and Sept 2012, the deep/recurrent neural networks (NNs) developed in the lab of JS won eight international pattern recognition contests. In 2017, a team of his company also won the NIPS reinforcement learning contest:

★ NIPS 2017: NNAISENSE wins NIPS 2017 "learning to run" challenge

MICCAI 2013 Grand Challenge on Mitosis Detection (8 Sept 2013, 2048x2048x3 pixels)

ICPR 2012 Contest on Mitosis Detection in Breast Cancer Histological Images (10 Sept 2012, 2048x2048x3 pixels)

ISBI 2012 Image Segmentation Challenge (1 Mar 2012, 512x512 pixels, with superhuman pixel error rate)

IJCNN 2011 on-site Traffic Sign Recognition Competition (2 Aug 2011; 0.56% error rate, the only method outperforming humans)

ICDAR 2011 Chinese Handwriting Recognition Competition (15 May 2011)

Online German Traffic Sign Recognition Contest (1st & 2nd rank; 1.02% error rate, January 2011)

ICDAR 2009 Arabic Connected Handwriting Competition (like the competitions below won by multi-dimensional LSTM recurrent neural networks trained by CTC)

ICDAR 2009 Handwritten Farsi/Arabic Character Recognition Competition

ICDAR 2009 French Connected Handwriting Competition. More.

The list above includes:
★ First deep learner and first recurrent NN to win international contests (LSTM, 2009)
★ First superhuman result in a computer vision contest (deep GPU-based CNN, 2 Aug 2011)
★ First NN to win an object detection contest (10 Sept 2012)
★ First NN to win an image segmentation contest (1 Mar 2012)
★ First NN to win a medical imaging contest (10 Sept 2012)
★ First NN to win a cancer detection contest (2012)
★ Our NNs also achieved dramatic improvements of long standing benchmark records, e.g., MNIST (2011)

AI Lab Rankings

X-Lab Survey: 2 years after JS became director of IDSIA, the 1997 "X-Lab Survey" by the US journal Business Week Magazine ranked IDSIA among the world's top ten AI labs. (The other members of the top 10 club were much larger than IDSIA.) IDSIA also was ranked 4th in the category "biologically inspired." (IDSIA's most important results came later though.)

Best Paper Awards Etc

JS thinks his best papers were published in journals or at conferences without best paper awards. Nevertheless, he and his co-workers received the following best paper awards:

★ August 2017: First Best Paper Award ever issued by the journal Neural Networks (founded in 1988), for JS' 2015 survey of Deep Learning
★ 2020 IEEE TNNLS Outstanding Paper award (with Greff, Srivastava, Koutnik, Steunebrink) for LSTM: A Search Space Odyssey, IEEE TNN Vol 28(10), 2017
★ "Most Impactful Paper Award" of the 12-year NCCR Robotics for A Machine Learning Approach to Visual Perception of Forest Trails for Mobile Robots; IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 2015 (with Giusti, Guzzi, Ciresan, He, Rodriguez, Fontana, Faessler, Forster, Di Caro, Scaramuzza, Gambardella)

★ Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference GECCO 2005 (with Wierstra, Gomez)
★ GECCO 2009 (with Yi, Wierstra, Schaul)
★ Artificial General Intelligence AGI 2010 (Kurzweil Prize, with Yi, Glasmachers, Schaul)
★ AGI 2011 (Kurzweil Prize, with Gisslen, Luciw, Graziano)
★ AGI 2013 (Kurzweil Prize, with Steunebrink, Koutnik, Thorisson, Nivel)
★ Intelligent Systems & Agents IADIS 2014 (with Nivel, Thorisson, Steunebrink, Dindo, Pezzulo, Rodriguez, Hernandez, Ognibene, Sanz, Helgason, Chella, Jonsson)
★ Additional best paper nominations at GECCO 2005, IROS 2006, GECCO 2009, GECCO 2010, PPSN 2012

★ AAAI 2013 Best Student Video Award for JS' team (YouTube)
★ 2 "NVIDIA NVAIL Pioneering Research Awards" at NIPS 2017 (with Steenkiste, Greff) and NIPS 2018 (with Schlag)


Many previous PhD students and postdocs of JS became professors at various universities. Others have become (co-)founders of companies including DeepMind (whose first members with PhDs in computer science and publications in AI came from the lab of JS).

PhD students: Sepp Hochreiter, Felix Gers, Marco Wiering, Rafal Salustowicz, Xavier Giannakopoulos, Alex Graves, Matteo Gagliolo, Daan Wierstra, Tom Schaul, Frank Sehnke, Christian Osendorfer, Thomas Rueckstiess, Sun Yi, Justin Bayer, Somayeh Danafar, Jonathan Masci, Michael Frank, Varun Kompella, Juxi Leitner, Rupesh Kumar Srivastava, Marijn Stollenga, Klaus Greff, Wonmin Byeon, Sjoerd van Steenkiste, Lukas Tuggener, Imanol Schlag, Robert Csordas, Aleksandar Stanic, Francesco Faccio, Krsto Prorokovic, Louis Kirsch, Xingdong Zuo, Anand Gopalakrishnan, Aditya Ramesh, Dylan Ashley

PostDocs / Seniors: Jieyu Zhao, Fred Cummins, Douglas Eck, Nicol Schraudolph, Ivo Kwee, Marcus Hutter, Daniil Ryabko, Bram Bakker, Nicole Beringer, Faustino Gomez, Santiago Fernandez, Alexey Chernov, Alexander Foerster, Julian Togelius, Jan Unkelbach, Jan Koutnik, Tobias Glasmachers, Alex Graves, Bas Steunebrink, Leo Pape, Vincent Graziano, Dan Ciresan, Ueli Meier, Mark Ring, Matt Luciw, Sohrob Kazerounian, Linus Gisslen, Michael Wand, Paulo Rauber, Raoul Malm, Kazuki Irie, Mirek Strupl, Sjoerd van Steenkiste, Yuhui Wang

Other students: Rudolf Huber, Rainer Wahnsiedler, Daniel Prelinger, Jan Storck, Margareta Klapper-Rybicka, Juan Antonio Perez-Ortiz, Victor Zhumatiy, Marco v. d. Giessen, Niels v. Hoorn, Guseppe Cuccu, Hung Ngo, Julian Zilly, Filipe Mutz

Invited Talks

Numerous invited keynotes / plenary talks (including many TED-like talks) at international conferences: Keynote for User-Centric AI Conference, Seoul, 6 Feb 2023. Keynote on AI, ETHZ Audimax, Zurich, 15 Dec 2022. Keynote for ANTS 2022 conference, Malaga, 11 Nov 2022. Nobel Fest keynote, India, 4 Nov 2022. Keynote on AI, Allianz Insurance, 24 Oct 2022. GESDA Summit, Geneva, 13 Oct 2022. Keynote for Global AI Summit, Riyadh, 13 Sept 2022. CuriousInsight 2022, Merck, 12 July 2022 (many talks by Nobel laureates). AI Sommerfest, Berlin, 10 June 2022. Rise of AI, Berlin, 8 June 2022. Keynote for AIJ, Moscow ("world's largest AI event," over 40M views), 11 Nov 2021. AI Boost, Baltics, 17 Nov 2021. Zhejiang Lab, Beijing, 16 Nov 2021. Keynote for MALVIC21, Norway, 19 Oct 2021. Statistics Congress, 6 Sep 2021. Knowledge Marathon (200k viewers), 3 Sep 2021. SPIEF, St. Petersburg ("Russian Davos"), 4 Jun 2021. Chinese Machine Learning Summit, 16 Apr 2021. RoentgenKongress, 13 May 2021. Public interview at Hannover Messe, the world's largest trade fair (opened by Angela Merkel), 13 Apr 2021. Talk at GTC 2021 (opened by NVIDIA CEO), 13 Apr 2021. Public Q&A for Datafest, Moscow (19 Dec 2020), Public chat on AI with President Putin (4 Dec 2020), Keynote for AIJ 2020, Moscow (3 Dec 2020—live stream seen by millions viewers), Keynote for GMIC 2020, Beijing (25 Apr 2020—live stream seen by an estimated 2 million viewers), Keynote for TechFest 2020, Bombay (8 Dec 2020), Keynote on curiosity for CERN (13 Nov 2020), Keynote for BAAI 2020, Beijing (24 June 2020), Keynote for Data Science Congress 2020, India (6 June 2020), Nanjing / Shanghai (22-24 Nov 2019), Lectio Magistralis on AI, Rome, at a conference with Italy's Prime Minister (21-22 Nov 2019), Keynote at AIJ, Moscow, with President Putin & industry leaders (8-9 Nov 2019), PM Forum, Allianz, Innovations.DIALOG, FAZ & Hertie (22-31 Oct 2019), Stern Steward Institute (19 Sept 2019), ICANN 2019 keynote (18 Sept 2019), Roche, Switzerland (3 Sept 2019), World AI Conference, Shanghai (29-31 Aug 2019), Etengo Symposium in Hoffenheim football stadium (16 May 2019), United Nations Hearing UN-CSTD: Great Minds (with physics Nobelist Rubbia and Dame Hall, 13 May 2019), Dubai AI Summit (30 Apr 2019), BW Digital Summit (11 Apr 2019), Industry talks in Munich (28-29 Mar 2019) & Zurich (21 Mar 2019) & Berlin (20 Mar 2019), Steiger Award (16 Mar 2019), SXSW Austin, Texas, with Kasparov (9-12 Mar 2019), Autosalon Geneva (6 Mar 2019), World Govt Summit Dubai (10-12 Feb 2019), WEF Davos (22-25 Jan 2019), Shaastra Tech Festival, IIT Madras(3 Jan 2019), IAB Milano (12 Nov 2018), Economia Come, Rome (10 Nov 2018), DigitalSkills (22 Oct 2018), Ev. Media Congress (16 Oct 2018), GTC Europe (10 Oct 2018), IROS Madrid (4 Oct 2018), ODSC London (21 Sep 2018), CDU/CSU govt party meeting in Reichstag, Berlin (7 Sep 2018), Locarno Film Festival (11 Aug 2018), CeBit (13 Jun 2018), London CogX (11 Jun 2018), German Embassy in Switzerland (3 Jul 201), Bloomberg Paris (23 May 2018), dbAccess Singapore (12-17 May 2018), E.ON keynote (22 Mar 2018), Start Summit St. Gallen (16 Mar 2018), NWX Elbphilharmonie Hamburg (6 Mar 2018), World Government Summit Dubai (9-14 Feb 2018), Villa Rothschild (2 Feb 2018), WEF Davos (22 Jan 2018), DLD Munich (20 Jan 2018), SZ Summit Berlin (17 Nov 2017), TEDx LakeComo (11 Nov 2017), Falling Walls Conference, Berlin (8-9 Nov 2017), HIT, Harbin, China (24-27 Jul 2017), Samsung, Seoul (21 Jul 2017), Boston Consulting, Madrid (2 Jul 2017), ITU summit on AI for Good, Geneva (7 Jun 2017), Synced GMIS Summit on AI, Beijing (27 May 2017), World Procurement Congress, London (17 May 2017), WIRED Money, London (18 May 2017), KPMG / Telekom, Bonn (9 May 2017), St. Gallen Symposium (4 May 2017), Beyond-AI, Audi (28 Apr 2017), Silicon Valley meets Switzerland (31 Mar 2017), Auto Motor und Sport-Kongress, Stuttgart (27 Mar 2017), keynote for FEDIL with the Prime Minister, Luxembourg (26 Jan 2017), keynote for SAP for 6000 people (Barcelona, 10 Jan 2017), ZEIT Reception (Davos, 18 Jan 2017), DLD (Munich, 15-16 Jan 2017), Beneficial AI, Asilomar, CA (2-7 Jan 2017), Boston Consulting (Chicago, 17-18 Nov 2016), TED-style talk for WIRED 2016 (London, 4 Nov 2016), General Electric (New York, 12-14 Oct 2016), NVIDIA GTC conference (Amsterdam, 28 Sept 2016), Public Interview for ZEIT (Berlin, Sept 2016), CONLL keynote (Berlin, Aug 2016), IJCNN 2016 plenary talk (Vancouver, July 2016), EU Communication Summit keynote (Bruxelles, July 2016), BMW & Modern Media Group (Beijing, May 2016), Pictet (London, May 2016), Microsoft (NYC, May 2016), TED-style talk for Pathfinder Berlin (Handelsblatt 70th anniversary, May 2016), TED-style talk for DLD (Munich, Jan 2016), GRI Chairman Retreat (St. Moritz, Jan 2016), Renaissance Technologies (NYC, Dec 2015), Big Data Conference (Stuttgart, Oct 2015), Financial Times (London, Nov 2015), Delft Robotics (NL, Oct 2015), 2015 Keynote for Swiss eHealth summit, 2015 IEEE distinguished lecture / Microsoft, Amazon (Seattle), 2015 INNS BigData (San Francisco), AGI 2015 keynote (Berlin), BigTechDay keynote (Munich, 2015), Uhlenbruch Portfolio Management (Frankfurt, 2015), Huawei STW 2015 keynote (Shenzhen / Hongkong), TED-style talk for XPRIZE 2015 (Los Angeles), INNS-CIIS 2014 keynote (Brunei), ICONIP 2014 (Malaysia), KAIST 2014 (Korea), CIG 2013 keynote (Niagara Falls), TEDx UHasselt 2012, TEDx Lausanne 2012, Bionetics 2012 keynote, IScIDE 2012 keynote (Nanjing, China), IJCNN 2011 (San Jose, California), World Science Festival 2011 (New York City), Oxford Winter Conference on Intelligence 2011, Joint Conferences ECML 2010 / PKDD 2010 (Barcelona; banquet talk), GPTP 2010 (Ann Arbor, 25th anniversary of GP), Singularity Summit 2009 (New York City), AGI 2009 (Washington), ICANN 2008 (Prague), Artificial Cognitive Systems 2008 (Munich), KES 2008 (Zagreb), ALT 2007 & DS 2007 (Sendai, Japan; the only joint invited lecture), ACAT 2007 (Amsterdam), Art Meets Science 2007 (Munich), Zuse Symposium 2006 (Berlin), GWAL 2006, Turing Days 2006 (Istanbul), ICANN 2005 (Warsaw), NN 2005 (Porto), Data Ecologies 2005 (Linz), ANNIE 2004 (St. Louis), NN 2004 (Porto), AAMAS 2004 (Leeds), and others. Many additional invited talks at leading universities and institutes, e. g., Caltech, Stanford, Cambridge, Gatsby, King's College, Hongkong, Singapore, Kyoto, Tokyo, ETHZ, EPFL, Princeton, MIT, Harvard, etc. Plus many invitations to speak at internal events of large and well-known companies (not mentioned here). Older videos.


Until 1994: Involved in competitive research grants worth several million DM/CHF/EUR/US$. Sources: Industry, DFG, BMFT. 1995-2008: Direct competitive funding for JS at IDSIA (without funding for project partners): CHF 3'358'433 + EUR 284'300. Sources: SNF, HASLER, CSEM, EU. At TUM (2004-2009), JS also was an original PI of the Excellence Cluster Cognitive Technical Systems. Total funding: > US$ 8m/year for 5 years through the Excellence Initiative (> US$ 2.5 billion for 2006-2011), which selected Munich's TUM and LMU as two of the three first German "Elite Universities". (At TUM, JS also got an extra EUR 334'805 from the EU.) 2009-2015: JS' direct external funding for research projects starting/acquired at the Swiss AI Lab IDSIA (without funding for project partners): EUR 4'073'078 + CHF 3'539'213 + USD 373'858 = CHF 9'456'512 (based on exchange rates as of project start dates) = US$ 9'570'000 (as of 1/1/2016). Sources include EU, SNF, Industry. 2017-: ERC Advanced Grant (2.8M USD). Also 1.03M CHF for SNF grants EVAC (2018-2021) and NEUSYM (2021-). Plus industry grants.

Scientific Service

Member of editorial boards of various journals
PC Member of numerous conferences
Referee for all major journals and conferences in the field
Regular reviewer of proposals to EU, NSF (US), SNF (Swiss), NWO (Dutch), DFG (German), Humboldt (German), and other international grant providers


Lectures at TUM, UC Boulder, Univ. Lugano, KAUST, in German or English, on artificial intelligence, bio-inspired optimization and machine learning (introductory and advanced), neural networks, mathematically optimal general problem solvers, algorithmic information theory and its applications. Practical machine learning lab courses and seminars on numerous AI topics such as computer vision, evolutionary algorithms, statistical learning theory, music & computer science, game theory, and others.


Habilitation August 1993: qualification for tenure professorship in computer science (at age 30), Technische Universität München (TUM). Postdoctoral thesis: "Net Architectures, Objective Functions, and Chain Rule". Referees: Profs C. v. d. Malsburg, W. Brauer (supervisor), B. Radig.

PhD 1988-1991: preparation of PhD thesis on "Dynamic Neural Nets and the Fundamental Spatio-Temporal Credit Assignment Problem" at TUM. Defense: January 1991. Referees: Profs W. Brauer (supervisor), K. Schulten.

Diploma 1983 - 1987: 4 year study of computer science and mathematics at TUM (average is 6.05 years).


Over 400 peer-reviewed publications are listed here.

Citations. Citation rankings are highly questionable and obviously cannot tell us much about true impact. For example, many computer scientists with comparatively negligible impact have collected many more citations than Kurt Goedel, the founder (1931) of theoretical computer science himself, or Konrad Zuse, the inventor of the first working program-controlled computer, or other pioneers such as Alan Turing. (To put things in perspective: the highest-cited single author paper ever - by Swiss biologist U. K. Laemmli - has a record 300,000 citations per co-author.) JS wrote in Citation bubble about to burst? (Nature, vol. 469, p. 34, 2011): "Like the less-than-worthless collateralized debt obligations that drove the recent financial bubble, and unlike concrete goods and real exports, citations are easy to print and inflate. Financial deregulation led to short-term incentives for bankers and rating agencies to overvalue their CDOs, bringing down entire economies. Likewise, today's academic rankings provide an incentive for professors to maximize citation counts instead of scientific progress [...] We may already be in the middle of a citation bubble - witness how relatively unknown scientists can now collect more citations than the most influential founders of their fields [...] Note that I write from the country with the most citations per capita and per scientist." JS' own contributions to the citation bubble are visible in his Google Scholar Citation Profile.


English: fluent
German: fluent (mother tongue)
French: corrupted by Italian, but can make slow conversation
Italian: can order pizza; currently improving


Born: 17.1.1963 in München
Sex: male
Citizenship: German; Swiss permit C until 2021, Saudi Iqama since 2021
Full title: Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dr. rer. nat. habil. TUM Dipl. Inf. Univ. TUM
Pronounce: Yirgan Shmidhoobuh
Wife: Ulrike Krommer (since May 3, 1997)
Children: Julia (since September 10, 1997), Leonie (since January 25, 2000)
Interests: physics and the simplest explanation of the universe, drawing and painting, low-complexity art, caricatures, music composition, the guitar, theory of beauty, science fiction written by scientists, various physical activities


Email: juergen@idsia.ch
WWW: https://www.idsia.ch/~juergen
Phone: +41 58 666 666 6 (secretary)
Physical (old): The Swiss AI Lab, IDSIA, Polo universitario Lugano, Via la Santa 1, CH-6962 Lugano-Viganello, Switzerland
Physical (new): King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Deep Learning: Our Miraculous Year 1990-1991