Recently researchers from all over the world gathered at Linköping University for a five-week focus period to network through seminars, organised activities and informal day-to-day interaction. All with the aim to collaborate and find new ways to conduct research in a huge area – hybrid AI.

One of the visiting scholars is Andrea Carron, senior lecturer at ETH Zürich, Switzerland. The focus period, which is a part of the strategic research environment ELLIIT, has been an opportunity for him to take a break from the everyday workload that comes with being a researcher.

– Usually, when I’m back in Zurich, I’m busy with all the things that I have to do – teaching, discussing projects with PhD and master’s students, and normal administration.

– Here, I basically emptied my calendar and I could focus on research 24/7.

Potential collaborators in hybrid AI

All visiting researchers have been matched with a host based on research area and background, who has, among other things, introduced the visitor to potential collaborators and research groups at LiU.

– It is nice to interact with like-minded people and people with the same background. And it’s great to meet professors who are willing to spend time and discuss new topics; it is extremely motivating. It’s not something that happens everywhere.

During his three-week stay, Andrea Carron participated in discussions, workshops and made progress towards new ideas in the field of control and AI.

– If we can keep the interest high in the coming months, this will become a positive result of the focus period.

“The focus period gives you opportunity to reflect”

Andrea Carron mentions the lack of in person meetings and gatherings during the past two years as reasons to apply for focus periods like the one at LiU. Another major advantage is the opportunity to enlarge your network and to get to know people from other universities, he points out.

– It’s a great place to establish new collaborations and to cross-fertilize different subfields. This is one positive result that is easy to achieve.

The focus period has given Andrea Carron fresh perspectives, as well as new connections and ideas.

– It’s nice not only to remember that you are a researcher, but also to reignite your curiosity and explore new fields and topics. Sometimes you don’t have time to reflect about how lucky you are, because your daily routine traps you. The focus period gives you opportunity to reflect.

– I have to say that it’s been a great experience; it’s been very enjoyable.

If you got the opportunity, would you visit again?

– Yes, definitely. I can highly recommend applying for coming focus periods; it has been a truly enriching experience.

16 visiting scholars and 17 invited speakers participated during the focus period 2022. Some of the invited speakers stayed on as visiting scholars. The focus period ran from October 18 to November 18.

More information about the ELLIIT Focus Period on Hybrid AI can be found here:

Text and photo:
Cissi Säfström, Linköping University
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