Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems

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The Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) exists since March 18, 2011. Its Stuttgart location (the former MPI for Metals Research) is in the process of scientific reorientation; a new institute location arises in Tübingen. The MPI for Intelligent Systems belongs to the Max Planck Society, a German research institution strong in basic research.

Max Planck Institute - Stuttgart


The Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems approaches intelligent systems from the viewpoint of learning in systems with perception-action loops while these systems interact with natural, complex environments.

The institute focuses on establishing the scientific foundations of perception, action and learning through interdisciplinary and collaborative research across scales and systems. The focus is on constructing, modeling and analyzing synthetic and hybrid perception-action systems using learning and self-organization, both for handling sensory complexity and for building structural/physical complexity: to perceive and act in the world, methods of learning and inference will be crucial; to build up or grow physical structure, we need methods for creating self-organizing systems.

In the long run, the goal will be to develop a systems’ level understanding of how intelligent systems – of either technological, biological, or hybrid nature – can bootstrap themselves towards competence in their environments.

Perception, Learning, Action[edit]

An organizing principle for the institute is the concept of a perception-action loop.

Learning the structure and optimized functionality of such feedback loops is critical for all autonomous systems. Thus, understanding the principles of perception-action loops in diverse instantiations of autonomous systems will be one common theme across the research groups of the institute.

Intelligent Systems Research across all scales[edit]

While pursuing research at both the macro and micro scales, a key novel focus of the institute is the integration of ideas across scales.

Research Departments[edit]

  • Perceiving Systems (Michael J. Black)
  • Theory of Inhomogeneous Condensed Matter (Siegfried Dietrich)
  • Haptic Intelligence (Katherine J. Kuchenbecker)
  • Autonomous Motion (Stefan Schaal)
  • Empirical Inference (Bernhard Schölkopf)
  • Modern Magnetic Systems (Gisela Schütz)
  • Physical Intelligence (Metin Sitti)
  • New Materials and Biosystems (Joachim Spatz)

Center for Learning Systems (CLS)[edit]

Machines learn how to learn. To help them do so, the Max Planck Society (MPS) and the ETH Zürich opened on November 30, 2015 the Max Planck ETH Center for Learning Systems (CLS). The Center’s scientists want to understand what the principles of learning are, both in theory and in real machines. Among other goals they hope to develop robots which can act autonomously in an unknown, complex environment. The Center is an essential building block for the further development of the research area involving learning and intelligent systems in Baden-Württemberg. Through their cooperation the MPS and the ETH are creating scientific and personal synergies, and ensuring that European research in this field remains internationally competitive. The Center for Learning Systems organizes joint events as summer schools, workshops, retreats etc. Moreover there are joint PhD- and Postdoc projects. The CLS is headed by the two Co-Directors Prof. Dr. Thomas Hofmann, ETH Zürich und Prof. Dr. Bernhard Schölkopf, MPI for Intelligent Systems. Further members of the center are Professors and Scientists of both institutions.

History of the MPI for Metals Research[edit]

The Max Planck Institute for Metals Research (MPI-MF) was founded in Berlin-Neubabelsberg in 1920 as one of the first Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes. In 1934 it moved to Stuttgart and in 1949 it was renamed "Max-Planck-Institut für Metallforschung" (MPI-MF). In 2002, the Institute was fully established on the Max Planck Campus Stuttgart-Büsnau, being in close interaction with the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, as well as the University of Stuttgart and the Fraunhofer campus which are close by.

In the early days of the MPI-MF its main research areas were physical metallurgy and metal physics. In the 70s, new areas like engineering ceramics, intermetallics and composites were added. During the first decade of the millennium, the MPI-MF once again shifted its research focus to include new materials like organics, soft matter, liquids and biomaterials and by implementing new analytical techniques and synthesis concepts.

At last the name "Metals Research" was only half the story. The limits between the classical subjects physics, chemistry and engineering sciences became blurred.

Literature / Sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°44′48″N 9°4′57″E / 48.74667°N 9.08250°E / 48.74667; 9.08250