Professor’s portrait: Stefan Byttner wants more people to learn about AI
Stefan Byttner, newly appointed Professor of Information Technology, has been deep diving into the subject of intelligence and learning since childhood. In addition to building algorithms and increasing knowledge about artificial intelligence (AI) among small businesses, his research has led to two patents that AB Volvo now manages.
“It is rewarding and feels important to be part of developing the education so that Halmstad University can become more accessible and reach people throughout their lives for lifelong learning. We hope to raise the competence in AI among professionals who do not have the opportunity to follow traditional courses at a university.”
Stefan Byttner has been interested in understanding how intelligence and learning work ever since he was a child. What does it really mean that a machine can think?
“Computers offer many different ways to investigate this, and today’s great accessibility to data and computational power makes the situation even better for conducting research in the field”, says Stefan Byttner.
Stefan Byttner’s early interest determined his career choice. Today, a large part of his research is centred around building efficient algorithms based on data enabling us humans to understand more of the surrounding world. This may involve, for example, building algorithms to detect a leakage in a heat pump or for a system to itself detect a broken compressor in a bus.
“For instance, I have investigated how to achieve self-organised monitoring of large groups of heterogeneous systems, such as a fleet of tens of buses or a city with hundreds of district heating substations”, says Stefan Byttner and continues:
“In this context, self-organised monitoring means that a system can automatically find an appropriate representation of itself and detect if there are deviations compared to other systems in the group. It can then indicate that something is not right and can be linked to errors noted previously as a way to explain the deviation.”
Patented research results
Stefan Byttner’s research is closely linked to the industry. Such collaboration has, among other things, led to two patents on new methods of error detection. AB Volvo now manages the patents. He has also been involved in building a national data science portal for the energy industry.
“The goal of the portal was to develop an industry-wide work approach to show and spread examples of energy-related problems and how different algorithms can be used to find solutions to these problems. The idea is that different actors will be able to share information about problems that may arise in the energy systems and compare different algorithms that handle these problems in a good way as inspiration for the development of future tools for fault detection.”
In addition to doing research, Stefan Byttner leads a large educational project in artificial intelligence and service innovation for professionals called MAISTR. MAISTR contains 26 short courses that give credits at an advanced level. The courses are given together with the University of Skövde, RISE and Blekinge Institute of Technology.
“It is rewarding and feels important to be part of developing the education so that Halmstad University can become more accessible and reach people throughout their lives for lifelong learning. We hope to raise the competence in AI among professionals who do not have the opportunity to follow traditional courses at a university. I am also very proud that we have developed the podcast Eliza and the Beyond AI podcast, which opens up for the public to listen to different perspectives on the topics that the courses address without having to go through the process of being admitted to a course,” says Stefan Byttner.
Stefan Byttner also leads, together with colleagues at the University and the business incubator High Five, an innovation support called AI.m aimed at small and medium sized enterprises in Halland that want to develop AI-based services.
“We have recently received a new funding from the European Regional Development Fund for a researchproject called ‘Innovation Platform AI Halland’ as well as a large endorsement from Region Halland, which means that we will be able to continue to develop this work. It is great fun to support companies in Halland and to connect researchers with companies that usually have had no previous contact with the University. In the future, one of the goals is to develop a demonstrator on how generative AI can strengthen the competitiveness of businesses in the region”, says Stefan Byttner.
Footnote: Generative AI technology is about tools and applications that can generate lifelike content from texts or images using machine learning algorithms.
Text: Hilda Liberg
Translation: Anna-Frida Agardson
Photo (portrait): Dan Bergmark
Photo (AI-picture): iStock
About Stefan Byttner
Stefan Byttner earned his computer science bachelor’s degree at Blekinge University of Technology in 1998. He received his doctorate at Chalmers in 2005 with his thesis “Real-time control of an SI engine using ion current based algorithms”. In 2015, he became a docent in Information Technology at Halmstad University and was promoted to Professor of Information Technology in 2023. During his years at Halmstad University, Stefan Byttner held the position of Acting Head of School at the School of Information Technology from August 2022 to February 2023. He has been Head of the Department for Intelligent Systems and Digital Design since 2018.