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Hybrid intelligence: where AI systems and humans meet

Artificial Intelligence

Specialisation phase

Understand the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and human behaviour

AI’s applications are highly diverse, ranging from optimising internet searches to supporting elderly people with dementia.  The VU’s Artificial Intelligence programme allows you to analyse, develop and apply new AI techniques to come up with solutions that make sense within their social context. 

In your first year, you’ll take a number of compulsory courses that cover the key concepts of AI. You’ll learn how human behaviour can be interpreted based on sensor data and computational models of physiological and cognitive processes. You’ll gain experience in integrating such models in dedicated, intelligent applications that support humans in their daily lives. And you’ll work with these systems to make sure they’re truly aware of the way humans operate.

In your second year, you’ll specialise. And there are lots of possibilities and opportunities to do so. You can continue to study AI techniques in more depth, building on the core topics. And you can choose advanced elective courses in these or more specific AI topics like Deep Learning.

In the specialisation phase, you can also study a particular area of application – such as supporting people in following a healthy lifestyle or caring for the elderly. Or you can focus on a relevant scientific discipline: psychology, sociology, movement sciences, or biomedical sciences, for example.

Another option is to continue in the specialised Cognitive Science track, during which you’ll gain an in-depth understanding of the cognitive aspects of AI.

The VU’s AI programme is a pioneer in the development of intelligent systems. As a Master's student, you’ll get the opportunity to work on advanced information systems at a wide range of companies and institutions. Some recent examples include:

  • Semantic navigation on overheid.nl (the Dutch government website)
  • A personal “quit assistant” to help people give up smoking 
  • Adaptive personal music choices during sports training, in collaboration with Philips
  • New forms of online publication for Elsevier
  • A knowledge system to predict problems with Amsterdam's trams and other public transport
  • An intelligent opponent that’s able to anticipate a player's actions in a real-time action game

The start date of this programme is September 1st.

New track in 2021-2022: AI for Health

AI for Health is a new track in collaboration with Medical Informatics (Amsterdam UMC, UvA) that will start in the academic year 2021-2022. In this track you'll learn about Medical Informatics basics, Medical AI (with a focus on imaging techniques in medicine and natural language processing techniques in medicine), and how to combine machine learning and reasoning for health applications. Two courses will take place at Amsterdam UMC, location AMC.

First year

One of AI’s goals is to develop agent systems that can make decisions and complete tasks without human supervision. In the Multi-agent Systems course, you’ll examine how agents can collaborate and communicate with each other to behave intelligently.
During the Socially Intelligent Robotics course, you’ll get the chance to create interaction designs for a robot in a real-world context with genuine potential users. 

In the Knowledge Representation course, you’ll use logic as a mathematical tool to answer questions like: Which logics are suited for reasoning about space and time? How can we deal with uncertainty and vagueness? And how to cope with changes in the world around us? 

During the Natural Language Processing Technology course, you’ll study state-of-the-art statistical models for complex language processing tasks such as parsing, language modelling and machine translation.

Plus, we’ll put AI into the social context. In the AI and Society course, you’ll discuss the consequences of AI for the labour market and inequality, ethical considerations, risks of bias and misuse of algorithms, legal issues and questions about control over AI systems.
In addition, you’ll have the chance to take a few electives during your first year. For example, the Data Mining course will give you an overview of basic data mining techniques and how to use them to solve real-life problems.

If you elect to take the course on Cognitive Psychology and Its Application, you’ll learn how to apply the central principles of cognitive psychology to the design of modern man-machine systems. Mental workload, driving behaviour, route finding, medical decision-making, display design – these are all examples you’ll cover. 

Second year

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Summary

In your second year, you can expect one or two compulsory courses plus far more specialisation in your own area of interest. All students take a core course on Evolutionary Computing, which examines various algorithms based on the Darwinian theory of natural selection – or survival of the fittest. Solutions to a problem are selectively “bred” and applications are optimised.  In addition, you’ll start to specialise during year two of your Master’s. You’ll dive deeper into either a specific area of application or a relevant scientific discipline that particularly piques your interest. 

Elective course topics could include: 

  • Social Robotics
  • Health Sciences
  • Bioinformatics
  • Human Movement Sciences
  • Cognitive Science
  • Language Technology 
  • Deepening AI
  • Criminology 

Alternatively, you may wish to take the specialised Cognitive Science track, which will give you an in-depth understanding of the cognitive aspects of AI. 

See also the study guide for a complete overview of the study programme. Or download the year schedule directly. 

Summary

Cognitive Science: immerse yourself in the multidisciplinary world of the cognitive mind 

Deepen your research in the multidisciplinary study of mind and cognition. Researchers in cognitive science come from a wide range of backgrounds, including psychology, computer science, artificial intelligence, philosophy, mathematics and neuroscience. But they all share a common goal: to gain a deeper understanding of the human mind, not just from an academic perspective but also from a practical one.

The track focuses on the processes that underlie human functioning from two different research perspectives: empirical work and computational modelling. For example, empirical work may suggest a functional layout for computational models. But the reverse is also true: results of simulations with computational models can provide suggestions for setting up empirical experiments. The underlying philosophy of this track at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is to challenge students to build their knowledge in a wide variety of fields and techniques, all of which are related to cognitive psychology.

The Cognitive Science track is jointly organised by the Department of Cognitive Psychology of the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, and the Department of Artificial Intelligence of the Faculty of Sciences.

  • Specialisation phase

    Summary

    In your second year, you can expect one or two compulsory courses plus far more specialisation in your own area of interest. All students take a core course on Evolutionary Computing, which examines various algorithms based on the Darwinian theory of natural selection – or survival of the fittest. Solutions to a problem are selectively “bred” and applications are optimised.  In addition, you’ll start to specialise during year two of your Master’s. You’ll dive deeper into either a specific area of application or a relevant scientific discipline that particularly piques your interest. 

    Elective course topics could include: 

    • Social Robotics
    • Health Sciences
    • Bioinformatics
    • Human Movement Sciences
    • Cognitive Science
    • Language Technology 
    • Deepening AI
    • Criminology 

    Alternatively, you may wish to take the specialised Cognitive Science track, which will give you an in-depth understanding of the cognitive aspects of AI. 

    See also the study guide for a complete overview of the study programme. Or download the year schedule directly. 

  • Cognitive Science Track

    Summary

    Cognitive Science: immerse yourself in the multidisciplinary world of the cognitive mind 

    Deepen your research in the multidisciplinary study of mind and cognition. Researchers in cognitive science come from a wide range of backgrounds, including psychology, computer science, artificial intelligence, philosophy, mathematics and neuroscience. But they all share a common goal: to gain a deeper understanding of the human mind, not just from an academic perspective but also from a practical one.

    The track focuses on the processes that underlie human functioning from two different research perspectives: empirical work and computational modelling. For example, empirical work may suggest a functional layout for computational models. But the reverse is also true: results of simulations with computational models can provide suggestions for setting up empirical experiments. The underlying philosophy of this track at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is to challenge students to build their knowledge in a wide variety of fields and techniques, all of which are related to cognitive psychology.

    The Cognitive Science track is jointly organised by the Department of Cognitive Psychology of the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, and the Department of Artificial Intelligence of the Faculty of Sciences.

Internships and scholarships

The AI Master’s programme culminates in an individual graduation project. An internship is a great potential alternative, so long as it’s approved in advance by a member of staff who is also involved in supervising the project.

Scholarships
There are several ways to obtain funding to study for your Master’s. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Dutch government and other organisations all offer scholarships, fellowships and grants.

The VU’s AI programme is a pioneer in the development of intelligent systems

As a Master's student, you’ll get the opportunity to work on advanced information systems at a wide range of companies and institutions. Some recent examples include:

  • Semantic navigation on overheid.nl (the Dutch government website)
  • A personal “quit assistant” to help people give up smoking 
  • Adaptive personal music choices during sports training, in collaboration with Philips
  • New forms of online publication for Elsevier
  • A knowledge system to predict problems with Amsterdam's trams and other public transport
  • An intelligent opponent that’s able to anticipate a player's actions in a real-time action game

VU staff in the AI department are currently researching a number of pioneering topics: 

  • Structuring information
    How can you bring structure to the information on the internet? Is it possible to make the internet smarter and more personal?  
  • Turning information into knowledge
    What turns information into knowledge? How do you generate the right knowledge? And how do you make sure the computer knows what to do with the information presented? 
  • Learning from data
    There are millions of hard disks full of information reflecting our world. What can you learn about the real world from that mass of digital information?   
  • Supporting humans in an intelligent way with awareness of the human’s state
    How can you make intelligent support systems (or agents) that are aware of the current functioning of the human state? How can you provide dedicated support based on this state?

Change your future with the Artificial Intelligence programme

Change your future with the Artificial Intelligence programme

In a nutshell: career prospects are good – with the majority of AI alumni finding a job within three months of completing their Master’s.

Your skills are in high demand: all organisations benefit from intelligent use of technology, as well as an understanding of the human and social context in which that technology functions. These organisations include everything from large corporations and consultancies to small start-ups.

Explore your future prospects
Robot washes hair from a human

Want to know more about the curriculum of this programme?

Please contact the programme coordinator

Dr. Jakub Tomczak
NU-building, room 10A-85
j.m.tomczak@vu.nl 
+31 (0) 20 59 87772