Germany's up-and-coming AI talent impressed at the finals of the leading artificial intelligence competition. The goal of all participants: To improve the world with the help of AI applications.
Winner David Rutkevich (left) with moderator Philip Häusser. Photo: BWKI
Bernstein members involved: Matthias Bethge, Wieland Brendel
A total of ten student teams competed with their submitted AI projects at the finals of the 4th Federal Competition for Artificial Intelligence (BWKI) in Tübingen on Friday: From fake news filters and language translation apps to chemical-free weed control through drone spotting – it was no easy decision for the jury to choose from the wide range of applications.
This year, the grand prize of 1,500 euros went to 17-year-old David Rutkevich from Leer in East Frisia, registered as “camel_case”. He has developed an algorithm that analyzes white blood cells. This helps detect viral diseases such as monkeypox or HIV. Efficient and cheaper AI-based methods could also improve medical diagnostics in poorer countries. He also won an internship at the Fanuc company, where he is gaining in-depth insights into industrial automation.
The cash prize of 500 euros in the special category “Environment and Sustainability” was awarded to 15-year-old Christian Krause from Rottum in Upper Swabia, competing as “ampfer_mampfer”. He has developed an algorithm that recognizes and precisely positions the field weed dock on drone images: The perfect basis for targeted mechanical weed removal by robots instead of chemical weed killers.
The winners in the special category “Hardware” were Alexander Lowa and Moritz Erbe with their team “Droneso.me”. The 18-year-olds from the Spreewald region were delighted to receive a cash prize of 750 euros. Thanks to “Droneso.me,” medical supplies could in future reach their destination in no time at all by autonomous intelligent transport drone – without wasting time in traffic jams or at red lights.
The young talent award went to “Team Orion” from Hamburg. The two 17-year-olds Vincent Elster and Caspar Pagel have developed an AI that recognizes tweets with fake content and warns the user. Their application example: the Queen is not dead. The team received a cash prize of 500 euros.
Everyone at home had the chance to watch the event live on YouTube (https://www.bw-ki.de/live) – and reward their favorites with the audience award. This year, for the first time, the prize – endowed with 500 euros – went to two teams: among them “Captcha-AI Bot” consisting of 17-year-old Jacob Bürkle from Dreieich in Hesse. He challenged the captcha test with an algorithm. Captchas are used to ensure that a human, not a machine, logs into user accounts or fills out Internet forms. The 15-year-old Christian Krause from Rottum in Upper Swabia from “ampfer_mampfer” was on the same level with “Captcha-AI Bot” and was thus able to enjoy two prizes in the evening.
Neuenbürg High School in Baden-Württemberg secured the title of “KI School of the Year”. More than 80 students took part in BWKI’s free AI course in advance. As a prize, the high school will receive a class set of a robot flower inspired by the plant world.
In the spring, students from secondary schools were invited to develop their own AI project alone, in a team of up to four people or as a class community – and thus make a social or ecological contribution, for example. After submitting their project ideas in mid-May, the young people had six months to implement them. Ten teams qualified for the finals on October 14 and had the chance to present their projects to the jury in Tübingen and inspire the audience.
The day finished with a joint party, where the Algorave duo “Crash Server” from Strasbourg programmed live electro sounds and projected the corresponding computer codes on a screen.
“Artificial intelligence is massively changing the economy and society. Therefore, it is important not only to understand it, but also to use it creatively and responsibly. The competition encourages young people to do just that,” explained Dr. Felix Streiter, Managing Director of the Carl Zeiss Foundation, which is now sponsoring the national competition for the third year.
“By now, we feel everywhere that we urgently need good ideas for a good future. The BWKI is intended to boost the self-confidence of our young people and encourage them to look for new solutions with new technologies,” said Professor Matthias Bethge, co-initiator of the competition and head of the Tübingen AI Center, a new research facility just established by the federal and state governments at the University and the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Tübingen.
The jury of the competition this year included: Dr. Philip Häusser (physicist and moderator), Prof. Dr. Matthias Bethge (initiator of the competition, director of the Tübingen AI Center), Dr. Wieland Brendel (Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems Tübingen) and Prof. Dr. Bernhard Schölkopf (director Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems Tübingen), André Gatzke (TV presenter, a.o. der Sendung mit der Maus), Pina Merkert (editor at c’t magazine and maker), Julia Nitsch (robotics and ML expert), Alexander Kleiner (Chief Expert Navigation and Coordination of Autonomous Systems at Bosch), Jan Seyler (Division Manager and Development FESTO), Andrea Kranzer (business angel and start-up investor in the field of AI & Health), and Boris Gibba and Elisabeth Knigge as BWKI alumni.
The Federal Artificial Intelligence Competition will be announced again next year. The main sponsor of the competition is the Carl Zeiss Foundation. The competition was also supported by Bosch, Festo, Fanuc, the publishing house Droemer and Knaur, and c’t magazine, and was held in cooperation with Cyber Valley, Stuttgart Media University, and the German Alliance for Marine Research.
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