RWTH received first funding for launching an AI Service Center in collaboration with 5 other partners


The project WestAI is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and will focus on the provisioning of technologies and services to support research organizations and companies in transferring multimodal AI models to their specific domains. To this end, methods and infrastructure for large-scale multi-modal training of transferable AI models and their efficient transfer to a large variety of applications will be developed.


The WestAI service center is a collaboration of 6 partner institutions (RWTH Aachen, University of Bonn, Forschungszentrum Juelich, Fraunhofer IAIS and FIT, TU Dortmund, und Paderborn University) and is led by University of Bonn. The RWTH AI Center will contribute with expertise in High-Performance-Computing as well as Computer Vision, and, through its affiliated institutes, will provide services in stakeholder management and transfer to the industry.

WestAI will mainly provide services in the area of large-scale multi-modal transferable learning of complex AI models to mitigate the competitive disadvantage of German AI technologies. Additionally, it will also provide a larger scope of AI services. This approach will ensure the broad leverage of the WestAI service center to fulfill the needs and requirements of a broad user community. Therefore, WestAI sees itself as AI hub to process and route the diverse service requests in the area of AI to its large network. This double strategy to provide a strong competence in large-scale AI models and to serve as universal hub of AI services – supported by a network of partners – will ensure the leverage of WestAI. Specifically, the WestAI service centre will:

  1. Provide access to scalable computational hardware resources for using AI
  2. Cutting-edge research on large-scale multi-modal transferable learning
  3. Comprehensive AI services catalogue to transfer AI technologies
  4. Visibility and networking of the service center with relevant AI initiatives
  5. Sustainability of the service center

WestAI will complement what is already there in research and marketplace while acting as a key enabler for the currently missing next generation large-model AI. WestAI's computing facilities will allow to tackle more challenging research problems, and its application services will allow industry to achieve better solutions at lower cost.
At the same time, the WestAI service center will benefit from existing and ongoing external investments in hardware and research. In addition to its own services, it will act as a hub that facilitates user access to other parts of the ecosystem, in particular to existing or to be founded startups and companies around the service center.

Beyond its general AI services, the focus of WestAI is the provisioning of technologies and services to support research organizations and companies in transferring multi-modal AI models to their specific domains and use those efficiently for their problem application scenario. Users will be able to access the models and run their own machine learning pipelines using the infrastructure of the service center. The expertise of the researchers from project partners will be available for consulting and support services.

With our service, we seek to enable our partners to become AI experts themselves, leading to a sustainable development. It will fill the gap between the cutting-edge basic research on AI and the needs of industry and SMEs to apply results from AI research in their respective domains and is hence, an important strategic project for the RWTH. As a result, it will give the industry and SMEs access to AI expertise, fund research on transferable learning of complex AI models to support various applications, and provide the computational resources to develop and stage proof-of-concept implementations.

More information about the funding of the AI service centers can be found on the Federal Ministry of Education and Research web page (in German).