In Belgium, AI has historically been part of a CS curriculum but only Katholieke Universiteit Leuven offers a one-year Masters programme focusing on AI. According to a recent analysis in Analytics India Magazine2, it is one of the world’s leading Masters programmes in AI. Belgian researchers have identified a number of future trends in AI research, including in particular, fair AI, understandable AI, robust/secure AI and scalable computing. The Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts has launched an initiative aimed at highlighting the need for structural support for AI research. It will soon publish a document entitled ‘AI: towards the 4th industrial revolution’.

Many groups in Belgium focus on topics related to machine learning (supervised and unsupervised learning, reinforcement learning, evolutionary and probabilistic learning, neural networks, etc.). Other topics include natural language processing, swarm intelligence, behavioural intelligence, vision and image processing, knowledge representation/ reasoning, constraint processing, recommender systems, big data / data science, text mining, etc.

Key initiatives

1. DELTA GENERAL HOSPITAL, ROESELARE

www.cegelec.be/en/ az-delta-roeselare/

Partnered with Microsoft and medical record specialist Lynxcare to create an AI tool improving cardiovascular disease treatment.  The data allows them to engage with health insurers about the reimbursement conditions for this expensive intervention. Specializing in heart valve disorders, the hospital wanted to compare the effectiveness of open-heart surgery with a less invasive alternative of implanting heart valves via the groin. AI method proved to be a less invasive procedure and showed a prolonged lifespan.

2. CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF LEUVEN

med.kuleuven.be/eng

Research has shown that AI was twice as accurate as pulmonologists in interpreting the results of respiratory tests, correctly diagnosing the primary disease in 82% of 1,430 Belgian patients versus the doctors’ 45%

3. ANTWERP UNIVERSITY

www.uantwerpen.be/en/ research-groups/egami/ equipment/radiology/

The radiology department has incorporated an Aidoc tool that uses AI to help radiologists make faster diagnoses from CT scans. Radiologists have adopted Aidoc’s neuro solution into their clinical workflows in an effort to better detect cervical spine (C-spine) fractures and intracranial hyperintensities (ICH) from CT images. Aidoc is an Israel-based medical imaging business.

4.  RADIX.AI

radix.ai

A Belgium-based machine learning company.  Helping big companies such as Atlas Copco and Brussels Airport, research institutes like Imec and public companies such as VDAB to accelerate the pace at which ML innovations are implemented.

5. UGENTEC

www.ugentec.com/index

FastFinder software allows Real Time PCR data analysis independent of the PCR assay or real time device used.  With a user-friendly interface and patient specific output, the lab’s data analysis efficiency will be significantly increased. Company’s goal is to provide a standardized objective analysis tool which returns a full data interpretation linked to the patients’ data in minimal time.

6. WAYLAY

www.waylay.io

Developed a cloud-based PaaS platform for IoT that supports advanced decision-making, automation, notification, proactive maintenance and troubleshooting use cases. Waylay’s graphical modelling technology is based on Bayesian Networks. Enables smarter real-time decisions, proactive monitoring and automation based on integration with existing line-of-business applications. Waylay’s technology increases operational efficiency and leads to improved customer service.