Luxembourg researchers accelerate innovation with AI

LIST builds state-of-the-art platform to empower companies and researchers
by Brittany King
4-minute read
BC office building and University Library with abandoned blast furnaces in the background.

The application of data science has exponential value across numerous industries. Enterprises big and small are discovering insights from big data through analytics that aid businesses in making strategic decisions, optimizing the use of their resources and maximizing the outcomes. Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) is one organization that understands that data science is critical to research advancements in all fields.

Data presents an invaluable opportunity for organizations to innovate, but only if they know what to do with it — LIST does. Partly funded by its government, the research and technology organization must remain at the forefront of innovation. LIST focuses on applied research and technology transfer and the huge demand for data with its four domain-specifics:

  • Environment: biotechnologies, energy systems, agriculture and natural resources management
  • Informatics: industry 4.0, automotive, mobility and logistics, health techs, edutechs, finance
  • Materials: nanomaterials, nanotechnology, structural composites and functional polymers
  • Space: space resources for human and robotic exploration
  • The need to integrate a scalable platform that could handle complex and varied data sets became apparent to LIST. The organization needed digital tools to create a professional environment that enabled trust between data scientists and the private and public entities using the research.

    A young woman is surrounded by monitors with reflections displaying scrolling text and data.

    Researchers can focus on value-added activities and deliver

    faster

    data insights

    Productivity and professionalism of activities rapidly

    increases

    using AIDA

    The most important criterion for us choosing IBM was the openness of the platform.
    Eric Dubois
    Public Affairs and Digital Platform Chief Architect, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology

    “When you move on to big data sets, you’ll need additional resources and performance, and this is one of the important aspects that we need in a platform,” explains Eric Dubois, Public Affairs and Digital Platform Chief Architect at LIST. “A platform that can support all this activity, from early to mature prototypes with all the scalabilities.”

    Another dimension of the proposed platform came down to compliance, as security and privacy issues are extremely important for LIST and its partners. The research organization reports on multiple facets of its data — its usage, security, privacy and storage — and it was integral to have a centralized facility to host the information for researchers to access.

    Senior scientists working on a computer and microscope in modern laboratory
    Multi-ethnic engineers testing and record data of an industrial robot's accuracy and repeatability online.
    A secure professional environment is very important for privacy. We have to build trust with our private and public entities, and we have that with the AIDA platform.
    Eric Dubois
    Public Affairs and Digital Platform Chief Architect, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology
    High-impact innovation with AI
    A secure professional environment is very important for privacy. We have to build trust with our private and public entities, and we have that with the AIDA platform.
    Eric Dubois
    Public Affairs and Digital Platform Chief Architect, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology

    Working with IBM, LIST successfully developed and implemented the Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics (AIDA) hybrid platform using the IBM Cloud Pak® for Data, IBM Watson® Knowledge Studio solutions and complemented with an Hadoop cluster. AIDA supports the research and innovation (R&I) activities of internal departments and provides R&I services and assistance to external organizations.

    Up until now, LIST had most of its data sitting in silos. It was essential to the organization to harmonize its data into one extensive, interconnected repository that researchers could accesses for new projects — without hitting any blockers. The AIDA platform acts as a single point of entry for data management for research projects in a central and secure processing and storage infrastructure.

    “This platform alone is complex. We use data analytics and AI to support the research from all four departments, but we also need to manage it,” Dubois says. “All of the data coming from these departments needs to be managed at a corporate level, to be used by private companies and public entities collaborating with those departments.”

    The AIDA platform can support the development prototypes and minimum viable products and services, which can be transferred to LIST’s partners for operation in their execution platforms. Dubois explains: “The most important criterion for us was the openness of the platform. We develop new services and products, and we needed to transfer this process (a product prototype) to our clients and customers without exploiting the product and allowing just any vendor to look at it.”

    Dubois continues, describing the need to manage the integration of one open-source component with another. “This is where there was a clear benefit coming from the IBM Cloud Pak for Data solution, in the sense that it’s possible to easily integrate and combine different components to scale up,” he says. “It was important for us to monitor open-source components to help in the selection, integration and combining of these components.”

    Establishing trust and safeguarding data

    For researchers, the large-scale benefits of the AIDA platform are aiding innovation. They are now freed up from a lot of data cleaning and preparation, enabling them to concentrate more on value-added activities. Researchers are free to build new models or new data inside, accelerating the delivery of data insights and supporting the elaboration of their models before transferring them to to the Hadoop cluster for further refinement and optimization.

    The AIDA platform delivers a top-notch professional environment that private and public entities can trust. It supports a collaborative design approach for continuous innovative projects.

    “To have this professional environment is one way to build trust with our partners because they know we are working with state-of-the-art tools,” Dubois says. “By using this platform, we can demonstrate that we have security management as each researcher is managing your data securely and they have the tools for managing privacy.”

    LIST met its objectives for AIDA in the following areas:

  • Improve productivity and professionalism of its activities and harmonize practices, including project management
  • Boost governance of data, moving from data silos to data spaces and managing security and privacy compliance
  • Manage knowledge and reuse components
  • Attract talent and community building
  • Fulfill its research and technology organization mission with private and public partners to advance data analytics and AI
  • As for LISTS’s next steps, Dubois explains that the AIDA platform will also serve a new ambition of LIST to build a digital twin of Luxembourg.

    LIST logo
    About Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology

    Founded in 2015, LISTExternal Link is a mission-driven research and technology organization out of Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg. Employing over 600 people, 75% of whom are researchers or innovation experts worldwide, LIST develops competitive and market-oriented product and service prototypes for public and private stakeholders.

    Solution components
    LIST logo
    About Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology

    Founded in 2015, LISTExternal Link is a mission-driven research and technology organization out of Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg. Employing over 600 people, 75% of whom are researchers or innovation experts worldwide, LIST develops competitive and market-oriented product and service prototypes for public and private stakeholders.

    Solution components