In April 2021, our former group leader Nihat Ay was appointed professor at the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) and Head of the Institute for Data Science Foundations as part of the Hamburg Innovation Port.
We live in an age in which data is generated constantly and everywhere. With his research, Nihat Ay wants to contribute to gaining insights from this flood of data and provide information that supports individual as well as global and socio-political decision-making processes.
The institute will pursue a holistic approach in which central aspects of learning intelligent systems are unified. In particular, concepts and methods of machine learning, the deep neuronal networks and embodied intelligence will be integrated. In a planned robotics lab, mathematical theory building will be supported and guided by experimental work.
Nihat Ay studied mathematics and physics at the Ruhr University Bochum and received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Leipzig in 2001. In 2003 and 2004, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Santa Fe Institute, New Mexico, USA and the Redwood Neuroscience Institute (now the Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience at UC Berkeley). After his postdoctoral stay in the USA, Nihat became an assistant professor at the Mathematical Institute of the Friedrich Alexander University in Erlangen, where he also completed his habilitation in mathematics.
Since 2005, Nihat Ay headed the Information Theory of Cognitive Systems group at our MPI as Max Planck Research Group Leader. He also holds a professorship at the Santa Fe Institute where he is involved in research on complexity and robustness theory. Since 2013, he is affiliated with the University of Leipzig as Honorary Professor.
You can also read our latest 25 years of MiS column featuring an article on self-learning robots by Nihat Ay and Ralf Der in the journal Max Planck Research. It is complemented by insights into the life and work of Nihat Ay in an interview conducted by TUHH on the occasion of his inauguration in Hamburg.