Wolfgang Wahlster

DFKI

Congratulations on AAAI’s 25th Anniversary from Germany!

AI is today routinely employed in so many areas of advanced information technology, that it is fair to say that AI stands also for Avantgarde Informatics, since it is always pushing informatics to its limits. For the steady growth of AI in Germany, it was imperative for AI researchers to stay integrated with mainstream informatics and to collaborate intensively with colleagues from all subareas of computer science. The attempts of AI researchers in some other countries to establish AI as another metascience like cybernetics outside of informatics were unsuccessful.

DFKI, the German Research Center for AI, employs today more than 200 full-time researchers, many of them holding a Ph.D. degree in AI. With yearly revenues of more than \$23 million USD, it is probably the world’s largest contract research center for AI. It has created 39 fast-growing spin-off companies in many fields of AI. DFKI views itself as a software technology innovator for government and commercial clients. DFKI is a joint venture including Bertelsmann, DaimlerChrysler, Deutsche Telekom, Microsoft, SAP, and the German federal government with the mission to perform application-oriented basic AI research providing “innovation pure”. Although we have always tried to contribute to the grand challenges of AI, we have never experienced an AI winter at DFKI, since we have always been quite cautious with promises to our sponsors and clients, trying to deliver down-to-earth, practical AI solutions. Since its foundation in 1988, many maturing AI technologies have left DFKI’s labs and become ubiquitous to the point where they are almost invisible in embedded software solutions.