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About us Faculty of Science and Engineering Research CogniGron - Groningen Cognitive Systems and Materials Center About Us

Annual Report 2018-2019

(Download the full Annual Report 2018-2019)

We are delighted to present the first annual report of the Groningen Cognitive Systems and Materials Centre (CogniGron). CogniGron was officially founded in February 2018 as a joint venture between the Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence and the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, overseen by the Board of the University of Groningen (UG) and the Board of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, UG.

CogniGron has been made possible thanks to an initial, generous, private donation which the Ubbo Emmius Fund Foundation of the University of Groningen has received for this purpose. This fills us with pride but also with responsibility. Thus, CogniGron is born with the mission of making a difference in the field of Cognitive Computing, such that its future existence is warrantied. We are convinced that this will be the case and we are grateful, honored and humbled to take part in this exciting initiative.

About five years ago, we were inspired by the successes of the EU flagship the Human Brain Project (HBP), and similar efforts by strong international industrial players such as IBM and HP, developing brain-inspired (neuromorphic) chips. These chips could help to save power by many orders of magnitude when dealing with large amounts of data in the future, one of the main challenges for the future of computing in our modern societies. However, the scaling of these chips was an issue, and the introduction of new materials and devices was clearly lacking from these developments. We saw that our strengths in Advanced Materials (Zernike Institute) and Computer and Big Data Science (Bernoulli Institute) could offer a great opportunity to help progress in this direction.

Indeed, CogniGron is looking beyond current silicon chips and transistors, developing new materials that will be the basis of new types of devices, which will be part of novel computer architectures with adapted algorithms. The challenge is that all these levels need to be worked out simultaneously, in synergy, with the associated difficulties of communication between experts from very different fields. Thus, we believe that the academic environment, where young researchers can be educated in these values, is the key to success.

Further confirmation that the timing for this ambitious move is just right is that several other similar initiatives have recently started around the world. In the first two years of the Centre we have put a great effort into making contact with others who share our vision and enthusiasm. This intensive development of a network, with the aim of creating a large international family, can be seen from the number, quality and diversity of invited speakers who have participated in the CogniGron Seminars; the formidable international presence on our Advisory Board; as well as the newly hired staff (with nine of the twelve professor positions already filled). The first PhD projects have started and the first scientific results are being produced. In short, CogniGron is up and running!

Beatriz Noheda, CogniGron Director

Download the full Annual Report 2018-2019

Last modified:28 July 2020 1.13 p.m.