VU, UvA and Huawei Launch DREAMS Lab

The DREAMS Lab, a collaboration between Huawei, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam, aims to provide the next generation in search technology, taking into account different languages and cultures in Europe.

Search engines are currently limited in terms of how well they are able to understand what the user is looking for. Research into better search technology is necessary to improve the existing systems: make them multilingual so that searching in one language does not exclude results in another language. Making the search more conversational will also help users find what they are looking for more quickly and easily.

The DREAMS Lab (Dialogues, REAsoning and Multi-linguality for Search) is a collaboration between the Knowledge Representation and Reasoning group (KRR, Prof. dr. Frank van Harmelen) and the Computational Lexicology & Terminology Lab (CLTL, Prof. dr. Piek Vossen), both at VU Amsterdam; the Information and Language Processing Systems at the UVA (Prof. dr. Maarten de Rijke) and the Huawei Consumer Business Group, a world leading provider of cloud services for customers.

The mission of the lab is to ensure that the next generation of search technology should be ubiquitousaccurate, flexiblerelevant, intelligenthumane and safe.

  • Ubiquitous – ambient, anytime and anywhere
  • Accurate – maximally correct & complete
  • Flexible – take more than one type of modality as a query to retrieve relevant data in any type of modality
  • Relevant – provide the most relevant information to the user, learn to adapt to user behavior, to understand the user search intents
  • Intelligent – generate well-formed and meaningful responses based on retrieved information and context
  • Humane – leverage human-curated knowledge bases, present human-readable results, adopt linguistically and culturally appropriate dialogue patterns
  • Safe –preserve privacy, prevent undesirable or harmful content

€3.5 million Invested Over Four Years

With the €3.5 million invested by Huawei, up to nine post-docs and PhD students will be employed to research this field over the next four years.

Frank van Harmelen, professor of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning at the VU and the DREAM Lab director, said of the partnership, “Huawei is a natural and long-term partner in this research. They are an important player in the international AI community and we are delighted that they have chosen to fund a research lab in Amsterdam.

“Security concerns regarding Huawei have been highlighted in the news recently, but we feel confident we have taken the necessary measures to ensure the academic integrity in this partnership. We have full academic freedom to publish our results – good or bad. Everyone working in the lab will be employed by the universities and will thus work according to the Netherlands Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. Furthermore, all data is stored on UvA or VU servers meaning that no Huawei employee has access.

“We are excited to start this collaboration and attracting new talent to the excellent Amsterdam ecosystem.”

More information on the vacancies for the DREAMS Lab.

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