The new degree is promoted by the UPC with the support of the Generalitat de Catalunya and within the framework of the Catalonia.AI strategy.
On 19 November, the presentation of the first official degree in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Catalonia took place in the Manuel Martí Recober Lecture Hall of the Barcelona School of Informatics (FIB), a degree that will begin the academic year 2021/2022. Hence, the UPC becomes the first university in the entire state to offer complete training in AI, with bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees.
The Bachelor Degree in Artificial Intelligence (GIA) is the result of an agreement signed between the Ministry for Digital Policy and Public Administration, the UPC and the Secretariat for Universities and Research of the Ministry of Business and Knowledge. It establishes the contribution of 600,000 euros by Digital Policies (at a rate of 200,000 euros per year from 2021 to 2023) for the creation and implementation of this new university degree.
The minister of Digital Policy and Public Administration, Jordi Puigneró, the rector of the UPC, Francesc Torres, the secretary of Universities and Research, Francesc Xavier Grau, and the dean of the FIB, Josep Fernandez, chaired the event, broadcast live on the YouTube mediafib video channel. The presentation began with the video "What impact will artificial intelligence have on our daily lives?”, and it was followed by the intervention of the dean of the FIB, who welcomed the attendees and made an introduction to the studies in artificial intelligence and its history.
Fernandez stated, “the Barcelona School of Informatics has a human team and a track record that make it the ideal place to start this project. The degree in Artificial Intelligence completes the current training offer consisting of the Bachelor Degree in Informatics Engineering, the Bachelor Degree in Data Science and Engineering and the Bachelor Degree in Bioinformatics, responding to the wide range of applications that computer science has today, and to the needs of companies and institutions”.
The projection of the video "Artificial intelligence finds explanations wherever there is data" has given way to the intervention of the Secretary of Universities and Research, Francesc Xavier Grau, who has shown his support as well as his Department of Business and Knowledge for the establishment of this new degree.
The new degree is added to the specific doctoral program and official master's degree in AI that the UPC has offered since 1985 and 2005, respectively, which means that the university has thus become a pioneer in Catalonia and Europe in specialised training in AI in the ICT field.
In this regard, the minister Jordi Puigneró has stressed that “launching this first degree in artificial intelligence in Catalonia is strategic for the future development of the Catalan technology sector and, consequently, for the economy as a whole”. Puigneró also recalled the fact that "the ICT sector is currently the most powerful engine of the Catalan economy, a sector of opportunities and key to the country's economic reactivation". He also asserted the need "to continue with our commitment to the generation, attraction and retention of digital talent with initiatives such as the one we present today, so that this talent turns into many jobs that the digital economy demands and allows maintaining and maximizing the growth of the sector”.
The rector of the UPC, Francesc Torres, who highlighted the commitment to the future and the transversal value that this degree represents, closed the event. Torres has also commented on how technologies linked to AI "are stimulating the detection of models, behaviour patterns or vaccines" in the context of a pandemic. Finally, the rector of the UPC mentioned the 50th anniversary of the UPC happening the present year, with its motto 'the UPC without limits', stating that “promoting this new degree positively expands our limits, places us at the teaching vanguard of the country and allows us to approach challenges resolution that society faces nowadays”.
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