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)
  • Phase Transformations, Thermodynamics and Kinetics (Eric Jan Mittemeijer)
  • Autonomous Motion (Stefan Schaal)
  • Empirical Inference (Bernhard Schölkopf)
  • Modern Magnetic Systems (Gisela Schütz)
  • Physical Intelligence (Metin Sitti)
  • New Materials and Biosystems (Joachim Spatz)

Cooperation with ETH Zurich[edit]

The Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems and the ETH Zurich have launched a research network in the research field of learning systems. The network will enable scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, with sites in Stuttgart and Tübingen, to collaborate with their Swiss colleagues, and vice versa.

Within the scope of this network, the scientists are conducting joint research projects and will hold joint conferences and workshops. They will also have easier access to each other’s research facilities. The cooperation, which started in August 2013, is slated for the next three years.

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