Pressemittleilung 86/22 - 14.10.2022

Bavarian Order of Merit for Augsburg computer scientist

Prof. Dr. Elisabeth André honoured with Bavarian Order of Merit

Prof. Dr Elisabeth André, Chair for Human-Centred Artificial Intelligence at the Faculty of Applied Computer Science at the University of Augsburg, was presented with the Bavarian Order of Merit by Minister-President Dr Markus Söder on Thursday the 13th of October in the Antiquarium of the Munich Residence. With this award, the Free State of Bavaria honours outstanding service to the Free State.

 

© Bayerische Staatskanzlei

Elisabeth André researches and teaches Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the Faculty of Applied Computer Science. Her area of expertise is the interaction and communication between humans and robots. “I warmly congratulate Professor André on this award from the Free State of Bavaria. This demonstrates not least the outstanding value of research being carried out at the University of Augsburg as well as, more personally, that of a highly committed computer scientist,” says Prof. Dr. Sabine Doering-Manteuffel, president of the University of Augsburg.

Elisabeth André, who in 2021 was awarded the highly renowned Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz-Prize of the German Research Foundation (DFG), said in response to the award: “I am very pleased to receive this award, which honours not only my work, but also that of the entire chair.”

Interaction between humans and computers

Elisabeth André’s research focuses on the interaction between humans and computers. She began working on the topic in the 1990s, distinguishing herself from the computer science mainstream of the time. She was one of the first researchers worldwide to analyse both linguistic and non-verbal communication algorithmically. Her goal was to make computers recognise emotional and social signals in order to make human-machine communication seem more natural. Today, she is one of the world’s most renowned experts in the field.

In this respect, it is important to her that Artificial Intelligence processes are more strongly orientated towards people. In order to mitigate the increasing complexity of computer systems while also making it easier for everyday users to access digital technologies, she advocates for a human-centred development process. Her research shows how AI technologies can be used to break down communication barriers between people through, for example, the automated translation of text into sign language and its rendering in 3D avatar animations. The speech honouring her work highlighted her ability to “bridge the gap between pure research of the highest level and the needs of everyday practice.”

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