ELLIS Unit at the LIT AI Laboratory

The LIT AI Lab headed by Prof. Sepp Hochreiter was founded as a permanent research center of the Linz Institute of Technology (LIT). In the unique environment offered by the Johannes Kepler University (JKU) Linz, the LIT AI Lab bundles JKU’s world-class expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) for shaping and advancing AI research and its industrial applications.

The LIT Lab is committed to scientific excellence. Our focus is on theoretical and experimental research in machine learning, logical reasoning, and computational perception. We train the next generations of AI researchers and educate engineers at various academic levels in AI technology.

Created in 2017 as a permanent research institution, the LIT AI Lab started with three seed groups conducting core AI research:

  • Deep Learning (Sepp Hochreiter)
  • Logical Reasoning (Armin Biere)
  • Computational Perception (Gerhard Widmer)

The ELLIS Unit Linz comprises nine ELLIS faculty members; such as Martina Seidl and Theresa Roland, of which two ELLIS members such as Bernhard Nessler and Johannes Brandstetter, four are ELLIS fellows; Sepp Hochreiter, Armin Biere, Gerhard Widmer and Johannes Fürnkranz, as well as one ELLIS scholar; Günter Klambauer. 

ELLIS Unit Linz


Johannes Kepler University Linz
Altenberger Straße 69
A-4040 Linz/Austria


Computer Science Building, Room S0309

Faculty members of ELLIS Unit Linz

At the Graduate School of Artificial Intelligence the doctoral program benefits from the synergies of six different research groups, focusing on interdisciplinary research to advance AI. In order to broaden the application areas of our AI research in the LIT AI Lab, we collaborate closely with other JKU institutes that conduct related research as well as with international companies.

In December 2019 the LIT AI Laboratory was chosen as one unit of the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS). Prof. Hochreiter is the director of the ELLIS unit at the LIT AI Laboratory, while Prof. Biere, Prof. Widmer and Prof. Fürnkranz are deputy directors.


Name Position Telephone number
Mag. Doris Kaiserreiner ELLIS Manager +43 732 2468 9391
Jenny Joana Knauth, MA ELLIS Administration +43 732 2468 9390

Open Positions

The European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems offers an interdisciplinary PhD program. The ELLIS PhD program is a key element of the ELLIS initiative and its goal is to foster and educate the best talent in machine learning related research areas by pairing outstanding students with leading academic and industrial researchers in Europe.

The program supports excellent PhDs across Europe by giving them access to leading research through boot camps, summer schools and workshops of the ELLIS programs. Every PhD student is supervised by one ELLIS fellow/scholar and one ELLIS member from a different country and conducts a 1 year exchange at the other location.

Research areas include (but are not limited to) the following ML driven reseach areas:

  • Machine Learning Algorithms
  • Machine Learning Theory
  • Optimization
  • Deep Learning
  • Interactive and Online Learning
  • Reinforcement Learning and Control
  • Computer Vision
  • Computer Graphics
  • Robotics
  • Human Computer Interaction
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Causality
  • Interpretability and Fairness
  • Robust and Trustworthy ML
  • Quantum and Physics based ML
  • Symbolic Machine Learning 
  • Computational Neuroscience
  • Earth and Climate Sciences
  • Bioinformatics
  • Health

ELLIS seeks to increase diversity and the number of women in areas where they are underrepresented and we explicitly encourage women to apply. We are committed to employing more handicapped individuals and especially encourage them to apply.

The call for applications for the ELLIS PhD Program closed on December 1, 2020. In its first recruitment round, the ELLIS PhD program attracted more than 1,300 registered applicants. After an initial pre-screen, 850 eligible candidates from nearly 70 different countries were released to ELLIS faculty for further review. These numbers clearly show that the program has generated a significant buzz among young scientists well beyond Europe. More than 200 students were interviewed in the course of February and have now been notified whether they have been matched for the final stage of the selection procedure.

The next chance for new students to apply is in Fall 2021; nomination to the program (for students who already started their PhD with ELLIS faculty) is possible year-round.

At NeurIPS 2019 in Vancouver from left to right: Turing award winner Yoshua Bengio, Bernhard Schoelkopf, Nuria Olivier, Matthias Bethge, Max Welling, Sami Kaski, Sepp Hochreiter and Turing award winner Yann LeCun. ©https://ellis.eu/de/news/17-ellis-units-across-10-european-countries-and-israel-established

More about ELLIS

The European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent systems (ELLIS) is a pan-European effort initiated in 2018 to foster European research excellence in machine learning and related fields. It aims to offer European researchers outstanding opportunities to carry out their research in Europe, and to nurture the next generation of European young researchers in this field of strategic importance. Its goal is to enable Europe to be competitive in modern AI and benefit from positive economic and societal impact.

ELLIS´ mission ist to benefit Europe in two ways:

  • We want the best basic research to be performed in Europe, to enable Europe to shape how machine learning and modern AI change the world.
  • We want to have economic impact and create jobs in Europe, and believe this is achieved by outstanding and free basic research, independent of industry interests.

On December 11th 2019 at the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), the leading international conference on machine learning, ELLIS announced the establishment of the first 17 ELLIS units across 10 European countries and Israel. Built around outstanding AI researchers, the newly established research units are devoted to tackling fundamental challenges in AI with a focus on research excellence and societal impact. An open call resulted in 28 proposals from 13 countries, each of which committed local funding of at least 1.5 Mio € per year for at least five years, 20% thereof reserved for ELLIS network activities such as student and faculty exchanges and the organization of joint ELLIS research programs and workshops. Proposals from Alicante, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Darmstadt, Delft, Freiburg, Helsinki, Linz (LIT AI Laboratory), Lausanne, Leuven, Oxford, Prague, Saarbrücken, Tel Aviv, Tübingen, Vienna (IST Austria) and Zürich (ETH Zürich) were selected by an international evaluation committee, based on proven scientific excellence and the implementation of measures to foster the ELLIS mission. To avoid conflicts of interest, all the reviews were done by scientists of countries different from the units being evaluated. The list of directors of ELLIS units includes European researchers such as Wolfram Burgard, Sepp Hochreiter, Thomas Hofmann, Sami Kaski, Nuria Oliver, Bernhard Schölkopf, Yee Whye Teh, Luc van Gool and Max Welling.

Geoffrey Hinton, Turing Award winner, Emeritus Professor of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, an engineering Fellow at Google and one of the leading scientists in AI, says: "Deep learning is at the core of the staggering progress we are witnessing in AI today. Companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft are investing billions in developing this technology. If Europe wants to keep up with North America and China, it needs to focus its major AI investments on deep learning."

A number of European companies have already stated their support of this initiative, including Audi, AVL, Bayer, Bosch, DeepMind, Greiner, Porsche, Siemens as well as US companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, NVIDIA, Qualcomm and the Canadian startup Element AI.

Research - ELLIS against Covid-19


Large-scale ligand-based virtual screening for potential SARS-Cov-2 inhibitors using a deep neural network


  • Markus Hofmarcher
  • Andreas Mayr
  • Elisabeth Rumetshofer
  • Peter Ruch
  • Philipp Renz
  • Johannes Schimunek
  • Philipp Seidl
  • Andreu Vall
  • Michael Widrich
  • Sepp Hochreiter
  • Guenter Klambauer

News & Events



Trusted Artificial Intelligence: Towards Certification of Machine Learning Applications


New paper

In our new paper, we identify and counter domain shifts in machine learning models for COVID-19 diagnosis from blood tests:


ELLIS Health online workshops

ELLIS Health online workshops


Deep Learning Workshop

Workshop für Studierende aller Fachrichtungen

Traunkirchen / OÖ

Inauguration of the ELLIS Units


Advanced Machine Learning for Innovative Drug Discovery-Projekt (AIDD)

The dramatic increase in using of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning methods in different fields of science becomes an essential asset...


6th ELLIS Online Workshop on Covid19

This online workshop will present projects on how to tackle Covid-19 using methods of machine learning and AI.


5th ELLIS Online Workshop on Covid19

This online workshop will present projects on how to tackle Covid-19 using methods of machine learning and AI.


4th ELLIS Online Workshop on Covid19

This online workshop will present projects on how to tackle Covid-19 using methods of machine learning and AI.


On failure modes of molecule generators and optimizer

On Failure Modes of Molecule Generators and Optimizers by Philipp Renz, Dries Van Rompaey, Jörg Kurt Wegner, Sepp Hochreiter, Günter Klambauer.



Modern Hopfield Networks and Attention for Immune Repertoire Classification

Publication by Institute for Machine Learning and LIT AI Lab in cooperation with Department of Immunology and Department of Informatic, University of...


3rd ELLIS Online Workshop on Covid19

This online workshop will present projects on how to tackle Covid-19 using methods of machine learning and AI.


2nd ELLIS Online Workshop on Covid19

This online workshop will present projects on how to tackle Covid-19 using methods of machine learning and AI.


1st ELLIS Online Workshop on Covid19

This online workshop will present projects on how to tackle Covid-19 using methods of machine learning and AI.