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Meet the people behind knowlEdge: Miquel Sànchez-Marrè

What is your personal background?

I received a B.Sc. in Computer Science and a M.Sc. in Computer Science both from Barcelona School of Informatics (FIB), and a Ph.D. in Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence) from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). I am Associate Professor in the Computer Science (CS) Dept. of UPC. I am member of the Intelligent Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Research Centre (IDEAI-UPC), and member of the Knowledge Engineering and Machine Learning Group (KEMLG-UPC). Currently, I am the Head of the Postgraduate Studies of the Computer Science Dept.

In 2003, I co-founded the spin-off company Sanejament Intel·ligent S.L. (SISLtech, 2003-2017), devoted to Intelligent Wastewater Treatment Systems, which received the Energy Excellence Award 2013 and the Bioenergy Silver Award 2012. I am a pioneer member of ACIA (Catalan Association of Artificial Intelligence) and in 1994-1998 I was member of its board of directors. I am a Fellow of the International Environmental Modelling and Software Society (iEMSs) since 2005. I co-organized the first Environment and AI Workshop in Europe: Binding Environmental Sciences and Artificial Intelligence (BESAI 98) at ECAI conference in 1998, and mentioned for that as a contributor to the “Timeline of Artificial Intelligence” in the Wikipedia.

I am member of some Editorial Boards of international journals, and I have been researching in more than 30 research projects granted by the EU, the Catalonian government and the Spanish council. I have authored 212 peer-reviewed publications including 10 books. I have organised some international events in the AI & Environment field (BESAI-ECAI, AAAI, iEMSs).

My research topics are Case-Based Reasoning, Intelligent Decision Support Systems, Recommender Systems, Machine Learning, Data Science, Knowledge Engineering, Integrated AI architectures, and AI applied to Environmental, Industrial and Health systems.

What is your organization’s role in knowlEdge?

The KEMLG group at UPC has a wide experience in the application of AI techniques to many real-world problems. Especially, it has experience related to Recommender Systems, Intelligent Decision Support Systems, Machine Learning, Data Science and Case-Based Reasoning approaches. UPC plays the role of technology/research provider, contributing with its experience and expertise in recommender systems and intelligent decision support systems mostly in the development of the Decision Support Framework for the knowlEdge project. Furthermore, as member of the AI4EU Consortium, UPC has also the role of exploring the evolving landscape of AI technologies related with the industry and manufacturing sector while establishing collaboration bridges with the AI4EU community, specially related to the AI-on-demand platform.

What fascinates you about Artificial Intelligence for manufacturing?

AI holds the transformative potential to revolutionize the way products are designed, engineered, and produced. By leveraging AI capabilities, manufacturers can analyze large amounts of data to identify patterns and insights that can help them to improve their efficiency, reduce waste, and increase their productivity. Moreover, AI can help manufacturers to better understand their customers and their needs, ultimately leading to the development of products that are better aligned with market demands. The considerable potential of AI to enhance companies’ competitive advantage, coupled with the inherent challenges it presents, renders it an intellectually captivating field.

What are your expectations in knowlEdge?

I expect to provide a technological tool that can help European manufacturers to close the gap for AI deployment in their business. The application of the knowlEdge solution in three different real industrial use cases will provide valuable insights to improve the product and to show its potential. Hopefully knowlEdge is a step forward contributing to demolish some of the adoption barriers that are slowing down the AI deployment in manufacturing landscape.

Which target groups can benefit from knowlEdge?

I have already highlighted the importance that AI has for the manufacturers, but we can also emphasize the potential benefits it can leverage for customers and society at large.

From a consumer perspective, AI-enabled manufacturing can provide for instance more reliable products with enhanced quality controls, personalized products with novel customization techniques that improve satisfaction or loyalty, or novel products brought more swiftly to the market due to having more efficient processes. In a broader societal context, AI-empowered manufacturing can minimize waste thanks to enhanced operational efficiency reducing environmental impact. Furthermore, the automation enabled by AI has the potential to mitigate risks associated with hazardous or repetitive tasks, thereby enhancing workplace safety and promoting the well-being of employees.

The integration of AI in manufacturing represents a promising avenue for advancement and progress in various domains, underlining the transformative potential of AI in this sector.

What is your vision beyond knowlEdge?

Beyond the immediate project results, my vision entails the continued advancement and integration of AI technologies in the manufacturing sector. This vision encompasses scalability in the diverse European manufacturing environments, collaboration and interoperability within the different systems leveraging synergistic opportunities, ethical considerations by design guaranteeing robust and trustworthy products, and the harmonious collaboration between humans and AI which is pretty in line with the upcoming Industry 5.0. By striving towards these goals, we can contribute unlocking the potential of AI in manufacturing sector, driving sustainable growth, innovation, and societal benefits.