5 Reasons Why Prague Is the Next AI Hub

by Barbora Fuksa Business Development Manager

The field of artificial intelligence is traditionally connected to places like Silicon Valley, Seattle, London and Singapore. Nevertheless, the list of locations on the map is gradually expanding. Prague is already recognized as an important technology hub in the CEE region. And that is just the starting line.

Here are five reasons why Prague is going to become one of the most significant places for AI in the near future.

1 ) Location

Praga mater urbium or“Prague, the mother of all cities” are the words written on the city crest, referring to its ancient roots. Prague is a city in the heart of Europe with more than just a rich history. The city is known for its beautiful architecture and a spirit that lures travellers from all over the world.

In past decades, Prague has also become a centre of business and industry for the whole CEE region, especially in the domain of IT. Nowadays, it is a very attractive destination for specialists from all around the world.

Its unique location provides a perfect opportunity for networking and business expansion. A city bridging Western and Eastern Europe, home to a culture that is very close to that of German-speaking regions and passionate Slavic nature.

2) Academic and applied research

Prague is a traditional centre for education and academic life within the region. For instance, the Czech Technical University (CTU) was founded as one of the first polytechnic universities in the 18th century, and the medieval Charles University was founded in 1348.

Since those times, Prague has emerged as a home for 9 public and more than 20 private universities. Most of them are focused on science, engineering and economics. This means that tens of thousands of students from the Czech Republic and other countries are living in the city.

Moreover, the trend in the past few decades has been to connect the academic field and applied research to industry. Many research programmes and fertile cooperations currently exist between universities and local companies.

One of the many examples is the amazing research done by the CTU Faculty of Information Technology, especially in the emerging fields of data science, big data and artificial intelligence. Moreover, these topics are the subject of close cooperation between Profinit and Charles University at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics. Their joint research into complex pseudo-social networks got a grant from the Czech government.

3) Community

Many local hubs and meet-up groups are being launched in Prague. Since 2016, ML—the largest machine learning conference in Central Europe—takes place annually with more than 1000 participants and dozens of top-tier speakers every year.

Prague and the CEE region offer a critical mass of highly educated scientific and technical talent. Prague also attracts young engineers and researchers from all over the world with its vibrant and dynamic environment. These people come to collaborate in hopes of making a difference.

They come to become part of the varied and colourful start-up scene as well as the international corporate R&D centres and Czech-based companies that keep expanding.

4) Industry leaders

Like anywhere around the globe, the industry is the main force driving technical expansion and research. While the automotive industry is dominant across the whole country with an eminent focus on AI for e-mobility and autonomous cars, the city of Prague has become a research and development centre for major international companies in telecommunications (Deutsche Telecom), IT security (Avast) and the pharmaceutical industry (MSD).

Additionally, Prague houses many companies affiliated with the world’s largest banking organizations (such as Erste, Société Générale, Barclays, Raiffeisen Bank International and Vienna Insurance Group). They are seeking big data and data science solutions for risk departments, propensity modelling and anti-fraud systems as well as improved customer experience and data governance

5) Government support

We want to make Prague a world-class centre of Artificial Intelligence”, said the mayor of Prague in May 2019.

The local government is very supportive of academic and industrial AI projects through grant programmes that connect the best local and international specialists and facilitate the development of up-to-date tools and solutions with high added value.