Artificial intelligence from the construction kit: KI.NRW and Fraunhofer IAIS are launching »AI.Lab« (Beta)
The AI-on-demand platform for AI technology made in Europe
Today, the »AI.Lab« developed by the North Rhine-Westphalian competence platform KI.NRW and the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS is being launched as a beta version. The platform will serve as a virtual marketplace and experimental test environment for AI systems, offering small and medium-sized enterprises a playful introduction to the world of applied artificial intelligence. The AI.Lab’s objective is to support technology transfer from research to application and thus to strengthen the European AI ecosystem. The use of the platform is free of charge. Thanks to the no-code approach, the platform can also be used by non-computer scientists.
Bringing together AI developers’ solutions with individual user needs – this is what the AI.Lab, developed by KI.NRW and Fraunhofer IAIS, is designed to do. As of today, it can be accessed for free at www.ai-lab.nrw. AI developers can use the platform to share their technologies with an international audience. Companies, on the other hand, can rely on the platform as a comprehensive code library containing ready-made AI modules for their own AI projects. What makes it unique: In the part of the AI.Lab called Design Studio, individual AI modules can be assembled into fully functional applications via »drag and drop«, just like in a construction kit, and tested on a secure KI.NRW server. This approach enables potential users to design individual solutions for company-specific problems and, ideally, to implement them in the real environment after contacting the development teams.
As of the launch of the AI.Lab, 49 AI modules are already available in the Design Studio. These include technologies from Fraunhofer IAIS, the leading institute for artificial intelligence involved in the development of the platform. »As a result of our research, we have published modules for document preparation, layout analysis or even text recognition in the AI.Lab. Companies can then combine these modules as they wish and, for instance, build applications which automatically extract data from invoices, reports, or forms,« says Dr. Joachim Köhler, head of the NetMedia department at Fraunhofer IAIS. Additional AI modules also allow the processing of other data types, such as audio or video. For illustration and inspiration, ready-made applications are stored in the Design Studio as so-called pipelines.
In order for the AI.Lab to become a vibrant space of technology transfer, those from NRW interested in AI are invited to take an active part in shaping it: »We would like to encourage small and medium-sized companies in particular to use the AI.Lab as an entry into the field of AI and to experiment with the options offered by our Design Studio. The platform is designed as a no-code environment, so technical understanding but no programming skills are required. It can also be used by non-computer scientists,« says Dr. Christian Temath, Managing Director of KI.NRW. »At the same time, we cordially invite all developers to integrate their AI modules into our open source library and thus provide solutions for potential customers.«
KI.NRW will periodically offer free webinars on the use of the AI.Lab. The next webinar will take place on May 12, 2023. Registrations are now open. The platform will be continuously developed in collaboration with the community. Suggestions for improvements and feature requests are welcome and can be submitted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The AI.Lab was funded by the »AI4EU« initiative created by the EU Commission and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Action and Energy (MWIKE) of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis
and Information Systems IAIS
Schloss Birlinghoven 1
53757 Sankt Augustin