Prof. Dr. Andreas Birk
With respect to my research interests I am a split-personality . On the one hand, I am interested in a scientific question which is purely basic research, namely the constructive understanding of intelligence. On the other hand, I have got a strong interest in engineering, especially in robotics linked to AI, and I am interested in research that leads to concrete applications. I do not think that these two things contradict each other. In contrary, generating in the long term a machine with human-like intelligence is in my humble opinion to a large extent an engineering challenge. More specific information on my research interests and activities can be found on the Constructor robotics website.
Andreas Birk received his doctorate in form of a "Dr. rer. nat." for research on Machine Learning (ML) of eye-hand-coordination with a robot-arm in November 1995 from the Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken, Germany. He studied before Computer Science at the same institution from Fall 1989 to Spring 1993, receiving his "Vordiplom" (cf. BSc) in Spring 1991 and his "Diplom" (cf. MSc) in Spring 1993. He moved in 1996 after his PhD to the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Brussels, Belgium as postdoc in the VUB AI-lab.
From 1998 to 2001, Andreas Birk had a research fellowship of the Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT), Belgium. He received the Faulhaber University Project Award in 2008. In the same year, he got the Ernst-Lange-Prize for Innovative Cooperation-Projects with Universität Bremen together with Prof. Dr. Heidi Schelhowe. He received the Award for the Most Active Technical Committee (TC) from the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) for the TC on Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics (SSRR) as chair of the TC together with Hideyuki Tsukagoshi and Julie Adams. Andreas Birk led multiple teams that successfully participated in robotics competitions. Awards include a 1st place in the Autonomous Planetary Exploration Challenge at the IEEE Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), a 2nd place at the Solutions in Perception Challenge at IEEE ICRA, a 1st place at the European Land Robot Trials, five 1st places in the rescue league at the RoboCup German Open, one 1st place at the RoboCup US Open, and two RoboCup Vice-World-Championships.
Andreas Birk started his activities in research and teaching in Spring 1991 as TA for multiple lectures at Universität Saarbrücken, Germany where he also worked from 1993 on as research assistant.
After his move to the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in Brussels, Belgium as postdoc in Spring 1996, he became visiting-professor (docent) in the joined MSc program in Business Administration / Management Information Systems (MBA/MIS) of the VUB and the University of Ghana, in which he was teaching until 1999. Also in 1996, he started in Fall as group leader in the AI-lab of the VUB. Andreas Birk got a visiting appointment at the same institution as professor (docent) in Computer Science in Fall 1997 that he kept until Fall 2001.
In Winter 1999, he had a visiting-professorship (C3) at the University Koblenz-Landau, Germany and an offer for a professorship (C3) from Universität Rostock, Germany in Spring 2001. He worked from Fall 2001 on at Constructor University as professor (associate) with a promotion (full) in Fall 2011.
Funding sources for the research of Andreas Birk include the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and the European Union (EU). An overview of the different projects is provided here.