The annual Winter conference, gathering all graduate students within WASP, took place in Lund 9-10 January as an extension of the kick off for the new batch of PhD students. Program manager Lars Nielsen gave a brief presentation of the updates within WASP that have taken place since the last gathering of the PhD students. The main news was the expansion of WASP with an
additional 1 billion Swedish kronor granted by Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation in November 2017, aimed for expanding the efforts within Artificial Intelligence. It has led to cluster reformation within WASP and will give AI development in Sweden a boost. Lars Nielsen pointed out that artificial intelligence as a field has been overlooked in Sweden, and that the additional grant shows a will to build up the knowledge and competence, where WASP will be instrumental. The outcome of the effort put on AI by WASP will eventually also form national graduate program components, where courses and acquired knowledge within WASP can be of benefit for all graduate students involved in AI research in Sweden. There is also work being done on allocating funds for WASP’s own career program, to be able to support postdoc positions and assistant professorships for some of WASP alumni who wish to remain in academia.
Project course presentations and cluster activities
Some of the PhD students, now on their second year of studies, presented results from their WASP project course. The project course is a 6 credit course for all WASP PhD students to attend, and allow the students to be engaged in the research arenas and to expose them to projects related to autonomous systems and software. The students are encourage to take on projects that require several competences and that addresses relevant problems, and to present a prototype at the end of the course.
Both of the WASP research arenas, collaborative and autonomous transport (WARA-CAT) and public safety (WARA-PS) were committed to the project course. All the ten groups involved presented their results at the Winter conference, among them projects addressing monitoring road quality in an underground mine, UAV path planning, and communication between autonomous cars. Read more about the WASP research course here.
At the end of the first day of the Winter conference the PhD students joined their clusters for poster presentations and other activities. The purpose of the cluster formation is to bring WASP PhD students and researchers within adjoining research areas together to collaborate and discuss their research questions. The expansion of WASP into AI and mathematics has led to renewal of the cluster formation within the program and there are now ten clusters in WASP. The new clusters are: Security for Autonomous Systems, Software Technology for Autonomous Systems, and AI and Machine Learning. Read more about the clusters here.