Ahold Delhaize says it will use the insights gained at the Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence (ICAI), which launched at Amsterdam Science Park on April 26, to improve its businesses in both the U.S. and Europe.
In the joint ICAI-Ahold Delhaize industry lab—the AIRLab, the first lab within the ICAI—seven PhDs will conduct research into “socially responsible algorithms that can be used to make recommendations to consumers and into transparent AI technology for managing goods flows.”
The research will take place at Ahold Delhaize’s Albert Heijn and bol.com brands.
AIRLab also will focus on talent development tracks.
Frans Muller, deputy CEO Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, said, “Ahold Delhaize, Albert Heijn and bol.com look forward to working with ICAI. Artificial Intelligence offers countless possibilities for the retail industry, the consumer and society at large. With this partnership, we want to further develop our ongoing initiatives and learn how AI can be used to better serve the interests of our customers. For instance, we will look at how to further optimise Albert Heijn’s supply chain by, for example, improving the availability of goods by taking into account local weather conditions. Also, we will investigate ways to make the assortment of bol.com even more accessible to customers. These insights and knowledge can be applied to our brands in the United States and Europe.”
Maarten de Rijke, director of ICAI and professor of information retrieval at the University of Amsterdam, said, “The Netherlands has all the resources to take up a prominent position in the international AI landscape—top talent, innovation strength and research at world-class level. ICAI combines these strengths in a unique national initiative.”
De Rijke added, “AI will influence every sector of society. The partnership with Ahold Delhaize is of major importance because with it we are making a serious investment in the development of AI talent and AI technology outside of the traditional technology sector.”
The companies believe that “artificial intelligence is today’s foremost technological innovation and promises to bring about major changes in society. AI investment is taking flight worldwide. The Netherlands has a long tradition in AI education at all levels, from bachelor’s and master’s programmes up to the PhD level.”
ICAI is an open collaborative initiative between knowledge institutes that is aimed at AI innovation through public-private partnerships. The center was initiated by the University of Amsterdam and the VU University Amsterdam together with the business sector and government. The organization is built around industry labs—multi-year partnerships between academic and industrial partners aimed at technological and talent development. ICAI will be housed in a new co-development building where teaching, research and collaboration with the business sector and societal partners will come together.