The Georg Nemetschek Institute

Funding by Nemetschek Innovation Foundation

The Georg Nemetschek Institute is funded trough a generous donation by the Nemetschek Innovation Foundation. The foundation supports the institute with initial funding of 20 million euros over the next ten years. In addition, the non-profit foundation is providing approximately 30 million euros in project funding. All details have been defined in a comprehensive funding agreement („Fördervereinbarung”) between the Nemetschek Innovationsstiftung and TUM, signed on November 10, 2020.

Mission of the Georg Nemetschek Institute

The Georg Nemetschek Institute Artificial Intelligence for the Built World (GNI-AIBW) at the Technical University of Munich serves as a flagship for academic research, teaching and knowledge transfer to the society on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Centered Engineering and related data and knowledge based technologies, with special dedication to applications in architecture, engineering, construction, operate & manage in built environment (AECOM). The built world (also denoted as built environment), meaning the complete life cycle of buildings and built infrastructure, is the focus of the Institute. The Nemetschek Innovation Foundation strongly supports the Institute, and TUM embeds it in its large network of data centered sciences. The Institute thus develops and promotes a new generation of technologies with strategic importance for digital sciences in general and AECOM industries in particular. It contributes to the solution of the grand societal challenges environment, climate, information & communications, mobility & infrastructure. Taking advantage of big data, extracting information by data analytics, creating insight from machine learning, AI for the Built World will be a key technology for designing, planning, constructing, operating and managing systems of buildings and built infrastructure.

Civil Engineering and especially structural engineering has always been a prominent field of application of computational methods. Moreover, it was very often a driving force for the development of new digital technologies. Konrad Zuse, civil engineer and a father of computer sciences invented the first digital computer to automatically perform engineering computations. Numerous important methods for numerical simulation were developed by civil engineers, and applications in architecture have played a central role e.g. for computer-based design, visualization and human-machine interface technologies, in particular in the context of CAD technologies. Again, today AECOM can be a driving force and at the same time profiteer of what is often called the latest instance of digital revolution - Data Sciences, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine learning (ML). While none of these terms is precisely defined, Data Science stands for the data-centered and data-driven path to understanding. The already classical term Artificial Intelligence and the more recently favored expression Machine Learning refer to the use of mathematical, statistical, and informatical methods to extract information from data of all kind – images, sensor data, measurements, simulation data, etc. and use these informations for supporting decision.

Structure of the Georg Nemetschek Institute

The Institute is based on three columns:

·       The Chair for AI in Construction

·       The Members of the Institute

·       The multidisciplinary network of research projects on AI in Construction

The International Board of Trustees advises the Director of the Georg Nemetschek Institute on general scientific, organizational and technical issues. The Board also defines the general strategy and standards of the Institute.

The Chair AI for the Built World constitutes the core of the Institute. The Holder of the Chair serves as Director of the Georg Nemetschek Institute AI for the Built World. The Chair is responsible for the academic organization of research and teaching, acts as spearhead for scientific developments on machine learning and data science in Built Environment.  and represents the Institute to its partners in collaborating disciplines in and beyond TUM. The Chair is a member of the TUM School of Engineering and Design. It is strongly connected to the Departments of Architecture, Civil Engineering, Physics & Computation and Computer Science as well as to the Leonhard Obermeyer Center of Digital Methods for the Built Environment of TUM. The Chair will be hosted at Galileo on TUM Garching Campus, where it is associated to the Munich Data Science Institute (MDSI). The Chair plays a central role in establishing national and international collaborations with institutes of similar scientific dedication.

A body of up to four researchers of TUM will constitute the Members of the Institute. They will support the Chair in its academic activities and represent the major involved disciplines Architecture, Civil Engineering, Computational Sciences and Informatics.  These structural links reflect the transdisciplinary nature of Chair and Institute.

The third column of the Institute is the network of multidisciplinary research projects, flexible in the composition of its members and the precise research topics, yet always collaborative in the structure of each project. The Institute supports the network through funding of PhD researchers and their infrastructure. Projects are proposed by at least two TUM Principle Investigators (PIs), which are selected based on a suggestion of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institute. The competitive selection process builds on the experience of the TUM International Graduate School of Science and Engineering (IGSSE). IGSSE is a two-times winner of the German Excellence Initiative (2006 and 2012) and now acts as the hub for innovative research across TUM departments and their international research partners. As a Thematic Graduate Center, IGSSE is also part of the TUM Graduate School.

Projects in the Georg Nemetschek Institute can have different size, yet always bring together domain specific researchers from architecture, engineering, construction and operate and manage oriented sciences with mathematics-/informatics-oriented researchers with focus on core scientific questions on Data Science and Machine Learning. Projects can have different size ranging from IGSSE-like smaller collaboration projects (2PIs, 2 directly funded PhD researchers, further associated PhD researchers) to the larger format of the newly developed TUM Innovation Networks (up to 6 Principle Investigators, 6 directly funded PhD researchers, further associated PhD researchers). Every year a cohort of projects with up to 6 funded PhD researchers can be initiated and funded for up to 4 years. Annual calls for proposal can alternate between a call for  larger network projects (up to 6 PIs) and  smaller projects (at least 2 PIs).  

The research profile of the Georg Nemetschek Institute is not only relevant for basic and applied research but also for cooperation with and transfer to industrial or public partners.  All projects in the Georg Nemetschek Institute are therefore strongly encouraged to collaborate with relevant industries and/or private and public institutions. These collaborations can range from third-party supported extensions of the projects to own entrepreneurial initiatives of the members of the projects.

All project proposals are subject to an evaluation procedure performed by the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institute and external referees.

Collaborating with top-level scientists from all over the world and being able to draw on their outstanding topical or methodological expertise is a unique asset of the international visiting program of the Georg Nemetschek AI for the Built World.  A core enabling platform for such collaborations will be formed by adopting the successful Hans Fischer (Senior) Fellowship program of the TUM Institute for Advanced Study (TUM-IAS), established as a flagship component of TUM’s institutional strategy “TUM. The Entrepreneurial University” within the Excellence Initiative. Aiming to explore new scientific areas and to establish or extend long-term collaborations, Hans Fischer (for early-career researchers) and Hans Fischer Senior Fellowships offer outstanding guest scientists optimal conditions for working together with their Munich partners. In addition to personal support for the fellow, the fellowship includes the funding of a doctoral researcher position for three years, jointly advised by the fellow and their host. While in general fellowships at TUM-IAS are thematically open, the Nemetschek Institute will collaborate synergistically with TUM-IAS and call for applications for topical Hans Fischer (Senior) Fellowships. While the Georg Nemetschek Institute is responsible for the definition of specific research fields for these fellowships and provides their funding, the IAS administers, together with the Scientific Advisory Board, the application and evaluation procedure and connects fellows with its large and multidisciplinary scholarly community, offering comprehensive professional support services during the fellowship.