AI series: Machine learning drives industrial projects forward

Dr. Christopher Mutschler is an expert in machine learning. It’s his mission to bring scientists and industrial partners together.

Dr. Christopher Mutschler
© Fraunhofer IIS/Valentin Schilling
Dr. Christopher Mutschler: one of the AI experts at Fraunhofer IIS.
Dr. Christopher Mutschler
© Fraunhofer IIS/Manuela Wamser
Mutschler in the Test and Application Center L.I.N.K. in Nuremberg, where localization technologies are researched and tested.

He speaks quickly, he thinks quickly and his career path quickly led him straight to a key position at Fraunhofer IIS. “The most important things are curiosity, ambition, focus and the ability to work in a team; everything else will come,” says Christopher Mutschler, making it clear that he enjoys his work. “It’s fun when it serves a purpose,” the 33-year-old says. It was exactly this purpose – machine learning (ML) and its research and transfer into application – that he identified back in 2010 when he held his first ML seminar at the university.

 

Recognizing patterns with Machine Learning

 

Machine learning is a sub-field of artificial intelligence that seeks to move away from explicitly programming computers toward enabling them to learn independently from existing data. To draw the right conclusions from the flood of information available. “Using data analysis methods such as machine learning, we can identify essential laws the data follows with a view to using those laws to provide better products and more effective sensor systems that ultimately optimize business processes,” Mutschler explains.

That’s exactly what brought him to Fraunhofer IIS after he’d graduated. He started here as a research fellow in 2014, was promoted to chief scientist in 2015 and became coordinator for the Data Analytics and Machine Learning business field in 2017. Since the beginning of 2020 he is head of the department Precise Positioning and Analytics at Fraunhofer IIS in Nuremberg.Throughout that time, he was often involved in lectures and seminars at the university.

At Fraunhofer IIS, he also switches between strictly scientific work and conducting exciting industrial projects: “It’s good to have variety!” Mutschler says. “Fraunhofer’s HR policy of enabling me to develop in the way I want to and switch back and forth between a specialist and a management career path suits me to a tee.” He continues, “I don’t feel like I’m being held back in any way.” In fact, it’s quite the opposite: there is strong appreciation for people who are willing to take on responsibility.

 

Exchange and networking at the Machine Learning Forum

 

It’s no surprise, then, that he implemented one of his new ideas for the first time in 2018. The Machine Learning Forum he organized is a platform for efficient connections between the university, Fraunhofer IIS and industry. “Interdisciplinary exchange between science and industry is extremely important for our institute,” Mutschler says. “The event is a great help in achieving an in-depth understanding of machine learning and in developing projects for the future.”  The forum offers students and developers from industry a wide range of training opportunities, while SMEs benefit from the ML experts’ know-how. “The forum is fertile ground for joint collaborative funding projects,” Mutschler says. Examples include the development of embedded signal processing and the optimization of logistics processes using machine learning and data analytics.

 

Article written by Ilona Hörath.

Machine Learning Forum 2019

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Dr. Christopher Mutschler and Prof. Björn Eskofier (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg) provide insights about the event.

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