Nikolai Astrup was appointed Minister of Local Government and Modernization in January 2020. In the period January 2019 to January 2020, he was Minister of Digitalization. He is a member of the UN Secretary - General's High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation. From January 2018 to January 2019, Astrup was Minister for Development Aid.


As Minister of Digitalization and later Minister of Modernization, Nicolai Astrup has been instrumental in formulating a strategy for artificial intelligence in Norway. In the strategy, technology was described as a driving force that can have great significance for the development of society, which can give us completely new tools for solving societal challenges, improving public services and contributing to increased value creation in business and industry.


The Government's strategy for artificial intelligence was presented in January 2020, and constituted an important document for the later report to the Norwegian Storting in the spring of 2021 on data, «Data as a resource: data-driven economy and innovation». (Report St. 22)


Nikolai Astrup has a degree in political science, with a bachelor's degree in international politics from 2000 and a master's degree in European politics and governance from 2005, both from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He was elected to the Storting from 2009 and was the leader of the Oslo Conservative Party, Høyre from 2012 to 2018. In the Storting, Astrup has been a member of the Energy and the Environment Committee, the Transport and Communications Committee and the Finance and Economic Affairs Committee. Astrup was editor-in-chief of the magazine Minerva 2001–2008.

Nikolai Astrup
Minister of Local Government and Modernization
Speaking on October 20
Honorary Guest Keynote on Opening Session
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Virginia Dignum
Professor of Responsible Artificial Intelligense, Umeå University
Speaking on October 20
Session 3 Research Excellence

Virginia Dignum is Professor of Responsible Artificial Intelligence at Umeå University, Sweden and associated with the TU Delft in the Netherlands. She is the director of WASP-HS, the Wallenberg Program on  Humanities and Society for AI, Autonomous Systems and Software, the largest Swedish national research program on fundamental multidisciplinary research on the societal and human impact of AI. She is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, and a Fellow of the European Artificial Intelligence Association (EURAI).


Her current research focus is on the specification, verification and monitoring of ethical and societal principles for intelligent autonomous systems. She is committed to policy and awareness efforts towards the responsible development and use of AI, as member of the European Commission High Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence, the working group on Responsible AI of the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI), the World Economic Forum’s Global Artificial Intelligence Council, lead for UNICEF's guidance for AI and children, the Executive Committee of the IEEE Initiative on Ethically Aligned Design, and as founding member of ALLAI, the Dutch AI Alliance.

Her book “Responsible Artificial Intelligence: developing and using AI in a responsible way” was  published by Springer-Nature in 2019.

She studied at the university of Lisbon and the Free University of Amsterdam and has a PHD in Artificial Intelligence from Utrecht University in 2004. In 2006 she was awarded the prestigious Veni grant by the NWO (Dutch Organization for Scientific Research). She a well-known speaker on the social and ethical impacts of Artificial Intelligence, is member of the reviewing boards for all major journals and conferences in AI and has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers.

Jon Atle Gulla
Director of NorwAI & Professor NTNU
Speaking on October 21, 10:15-10:45

Professor Dr. Jon Atle Gulla is director of the Norwegian Research Center for AI Innovation (NorwAI) and professor of Information Systems at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway, since 2002.  


 Gulla received his MSc in 1988 and his PhD in 1993, both in Information Systems at the Norwegian Institute of Technology.  In his PhD thesis he used linguistic theories to generate user-tailored explanations of conceptual models and their executions.  Gulla also has a MSc in Linguistics from the University of Trondheim from 1995.  In 2003 he completed a MSc of Management (Sloan fellow) at London Business School with a thesis on strategic modeling and simulation of fast growing software companies.


Gulla has a multi-disciplinary research approach and works in close collaboration with industry. His research focuses on Semantics and Language Technology, as well as applications of these technologies in recommendation systems, information retrieval and text analysis. He is active in digitization and AI-based innovation and entrepreneurship, where he advises the industry on the use of artificial intelligence and explores new business opportunities in startup companies.


Gulla is responsible for courses on recommender systems, natural language processing, semantic web, project management, and information systems engineering.  He has close to 150 international publications and has supervised around 70 MSc students, 30 PhD students and 10 postdocs. He has served as an opponent / administrator for several PhD defenses and is a frequently invited speaker at both industrial and academic events.

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Gulla is a reviewer for many international journals, such as Data & Knowledge Engineering, Information Processing and Management and AI Magazine, and for international conferences such as ACL, EKAW and ECIL. He is also the co-founder and general chair of the annual workshop at the News Recommendation and Analytics (INRA) and the annual Big Data Symposium (NOBIDS).


As part of his business activities professor Gulla has worked closely with a number of start-up companies.  He was an early-stage manager of Fast Search & Transfer and a co-founder of computational linguistics company LingIT and data analysis company Mito/Strise. He cooperates with Norwegian and international companies in projects on the introduction of AI-driven Big Data technologies in industry.  


Jon Atle Gulla on the web:

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Trym Holter

Director, Norwegian Open AI Lab, NTNU

Speaking on October 20

Session 2 Industry Excellence


Trym Holter is the director of Norwegian Open AI Lab, and has been in this position since fall 2019. He holds a MSc (siv. ing.) from the Norwegian Institute of Technology (NTH) and a PhD (dr. ing.) from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Telecommunications from 1998. For more than 25 years, Trym has been working in research and product development in areas such as machine learning, signal processing, acoustics, and electronics. He came to Norwegian Open AI Lab from a position as research director in SINTEF Digital, and in addition to his background from research, he has held various positions in multinational companies (Honeywell and Motorola) as well as in a small start-up (Nacre AS). He is currently on the board of directors for start-up companies Minuendo and Nomono, as well as for Oslo Metropolitan University.

Robert Jenssen

Professor UiT and Director of SFI Visual Intelligence

Robert Jenssen (@jenssen_robert) is Director of SFI Visual Intelligence, a centre for research-based innovation funded by the Research Council of Norway and a range of private and public consortium partners.


Visual Intelligence (http://visual-intelligence.no; @SFI_VI) solves research challenges in deep learning to enable innovations across several application areas in modern society, all relying on value creation from synergistic analysis of complex imagery.


Jenssen is professor and head of the UiT Machine Learning Group (http://machine-learning.uit.no) at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. He is also an adjunct professor at Copenhagen University and at the Norwegian Computing Center. Jenssen has won several international research awards. He is a member of ELLIS and he publishes regularly in the top venues within the field. He is active in interdisciplinary and industry-oriented research. Jenssen has had long-term research stays at the University of Florida, the Technical University of Berlin, and the Technical University of Denmark. Jenssen is on the editorial board of the journal Pattern Recognition and has had several international leadership positions within the machine learning community. Jenssen is the general chair of the annual Northern Lights Deep Learning Conference (http://nldl.org).

Speaking on October 21, 9:15-9:45

John Markus Lervik
CEO and co-founder Cognite
Speaking on October 20
Session 2 Industry Excellence

John Markus Lervik is the Chief Executive Officer of Cognite, a company that became Norway’s first unicorn (a privately-owned startup with a valuation of over $1 billion) in 2021. He co-founded Cognite in January 2017, and under his leadership, the company has grown to a global industrial software company with locations in Europe, Asia, and the US.

Cognite serves as a strategic technology partner for energy companies such as Aker BP, OMV, Wintershall Dea, and Aramco, helping them scale their digital transformation efforts with data-driven solutions that increase production, revamp maintenance routines, and boost sustainability initiatives.


Throughout his career, John Markus has channeled his passion for liberating data and innovating with technology into companies that revolutionize the ways we work. He co-founded Fast Search & Transfer (FAST) in 1997 and served as chief technology officer until Microsoft acquired the company in 2008. He then took the position of Vice President of Enterprise Search at Microsoft before leaving in 2010 to found the software company Cxense, which was listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange in 2014. John Markus was in 2005 recognized by Forbes as a member of the E-gang for his pioneering work in the technology sector. He was named Technology Leader of the Year at the Norwegian Tech Awards 2019, chosen by representatives from Norwegian industry, universities, governmental organizations, and professional associations.

Ieva Martinkenaite

VP Telenor Research, Head of AI and Analytics |

Board Member Telenor Denmark A/S

Ieva Martinkenaite is among the key figures at Telenor Group contributing to building AI research and innovation ecosystem in Norway. She leads a team of data scientists and Machine Learning engineers in Telenor and several high profile regional and national appointments in AI.

As Vice President of Telenor Research and Head of Analytics and AI team, Ieva is responsible for advancing research and driving research-based innovation in Telenor within data analytics, AI and IoT. Her work also involves advisory to Telenor executives and business leaders on digital technologies and innovation strategy. Concurrently, Ieva leads a joint AI task force of Europe’s largest telecommunication operator association ETNO and GSMA Europe.

She has more than 15 years of experience in product development, business research and advisory, and holds several Board membership positions. During 2018-2020 Ieva represented Telenor in the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence that provided ethics guidelines for Trustworthy AI and recommendations on the implementation of European Strategy on AI.

Ieva holds a PhD in Strategic Management from BI Norwegian Business School.

Speaking on October 20
Conference Opening Keynote
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Edvard Moser

Professor of Neuroscience and Scientific Director of the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience at NTNU

Speaking on October 21
Final Joint Session

Edvard Moser is a Professor of Neuroscience and a Scientific Director of the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. He is interested in neural network coding in the cortex, with particular emphasis on neural-population codes for space, time and memory. His work, conducted with May-Britt Moser as a long-term collaborator, includes the discovery of grid cells in the entorhinal cortex, which provides clues to a mechanism for the metric of spatial mapping. Subsequent to this discovery the Mosers have identified additional space-representing cell types in the entorhinal cortex and they are beginning to unravel how the neural microcircuit is organized at the level of interactions between large numbers of diverse neurons with known functional identity – an endeavour that is significantly boosted by the recent development of Neuropixels probes and 2-photon miniscopes for simultaneous recording of thousands of neurons in freely-moving rats and mice. The discovery of grid cells and the underlying population dynamics have led to a revision of established views of how the brain calculates self-position, and how such information is stored in memory, and spatial mapping and is becoming one of the first non-sensory cognitive functions to be characterized at a mechanistic level in neural networks.


Edvard Moser received his initial training at the University of Oslo under the supervision of Dr. Per Andersen. He worked as a post-doc with Richard Morris and John O’Keefe in 1996, before he accepted a faculty position at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology the same year. In 2002 he became the Founding Director of the Centre for the Biology of Memory (2002-2012). In 2007 the Centre became a Kavli Institute. Edvard Moser is also Deputy Director of the Centre for Neural Computation at the same institution (2013-2022). Together with May-Britt Moser, he has received a number of awards, including the 2014 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology.

Photo: Bård Ivar Basmo / Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience

Maarten de Rijke
University Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Information Retrieval at the University of Amsterdam and the director of the National Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence in the Netherlands
Speaking on October 20
Session 3 Research Excellence

Maarten de Rijke is a University Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Information Retrieval at the University of Amsterdam and the director of the national Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence. He holds MSc degrees in Philosophy and Mathematics (both cum laude), and a PhD in Theoretical Computer Science. He worked as a postdoc at CWI, before becoming a Warwick Research Fellow at the University of Warwick, UK. He joined the University of Amsterdam in 1998, and was appointed full professor in 2004 and Distinguished University Professor in 2018.

At the University of Amsterdam, De Rijke is a member of the Information Retrieval Lab, one of the world’s leading academic research groups in the area. His research focus is at the interface of information retrieval and artificial intelligence, with projects on search, recommender systems, and conversational search.

De Rijke is a former VP Personalization and Relevance and Senior Research Fellow at Ahold Delhaize, and a former director of Amsterdam Data Science. He is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and an ELLIS Fellow.

With an h-index of 80 De Rijke has published over 900 papers, published or edited over a dozen books, is a former editor-in-chief of ACM Transactions on Information Systems, co-editor-in-chief of Foundations and Trends in Information Retrieval and of Springer’s Information Retrieval book series, (associate) editor for various journals and book series, and a former coordinator of retrieval evaluation tracks at TREC, CLEF and INEX. He has been general (co)chair or program (co)chair for SIGIR, WSDM, WWW, CIKM, ECIR, ICTIR.

De Rijke has helped to generate over 100MEuro in project funding. He is a recipient of a Pioneer Personal Innovation grant, a Gravitation grant (with colleagues from around the Netherlands), the Tony Kent Strix Award, the Bloomberg Data Science Research Award, the Criteo Faculty Research Award, the Google Faculty Research Award, the Microsoft PhD Research Fellowship Award, and the Yahoo Faculty and Research Engagement Program Award as well as a large number of NWO grants.

The retrieval technology developed by De Rijke’s and his team is being used by organizations around the Netherlands and beyond, and has given rise to various spin-off initiatives.

Pål-Christian Njølstad
Director Autodesk
Speaking on October 20
Session 2 Industry Excellence

Pål-Christian Njølstad is a Director at Autodesk - the S&P 500 software company that acquired Spacemaker in November 2020. Prior to the acquisition, Pål was Spacemaker's Chief Operating Officer and first commercial hire, responsible its business development, sales, customer success, and international expansion functions.


Pål was previously a consultant at McKinsey & Company and investment banker at ABG Sundal Collier. He holds a MSc and BSc ("Sivilingeniør") in Computer Science from NTNU and a BSc and MSc in Economics from NHH and UiO, respectively. He has also studied at the London School of Economics and Harvard University.


Knut Risvik is a Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft, leading the design and architecture for the company's core infrastructure for search and AI services. These services are integrated into Windows, Office and Bing experiences; with more than a billion active devices.

Knut has been at the forefront of search technology since he was part of founding Fast Search & Transfer in 1997, leading the development of the search technology. Knut has also served as Chief Architect of Overture, Chief Architect of Yahoo! and an engineering director at Google. In 2009, he joined Microsoft and has build new technology in products like Bing, Azure Data Lake, SQL Server, Cosmos DB and Microsoft Azure.

Knut has a PhD from NTNU in Computer Science, holds several patents related to search, storage and data processing infrastructure. He is an advisor to several venture alliances.

Knut Magne Risvik
Partner architect AI Core, Microsoft, USA
Speaking on October 20
Session 2 Industry Excellence
Sven Størmer Thaulow
Chief Data & Technology Officer and EVP in Schibsted Media Group
Speaking on October 21, 11:15-11:55 
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Sven Størmer Thaulow is Chief Data & Technology Officer and EVP in Schibsted Media Group. Schibsted has 5,000 employees in 5 countries in the Nordic region. This includes a product & technology environment of approximately 1200 with cutting-edge expertise in the development of consumer services and the processing of large amounts of data.


Sven is an experienced leader in the telecommunications and IT industry. He began his career at Telenor in 1999 and has held a number of leading positions such as COO / SVP at Telenor Digital, CEO of Telenor Comoyo and director of new business areas at Telenor, Norway where he led services ranging from Wimp, games, communications and streaming online, for mobile and IPTV.

Sven has also worked as director of product and marketing at Telenor Hungary and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Telenor Mobil in Norway. He joined Schibsted from Cisco Norway & Iceland where he served as CEO.


Sven has a master's degree in Industrial Economics and Technology Management from NTNU, and also has studies in statistics as well as media and communication.


Sven is passionate about exponential technology, change and digitalisation of business and society.


Sven is chairman of the board of NorwAI.

Elizabeth Traiger
Senior Researcher, Technologies in Assurance, Group Research & Development DNV
Speaking on October 20
Session 2 Industry Excellence

Elizabeth Ann Traiger is a Senior Researcher in the Digital Assurance Programme of the DNV Research and Development Unit. She leads a team of research scientists who explore emerging digital technologies, the integration of such novel technologies in industrial applications and the assurance such solutions. Her current work focuses on the ethical and societal challenges innovative digital technology poses in in safety critical contexts and how to support transparent reliable adoption. Her passion is technology transfer. Projects include the development of autonomous UAVs and image processing algorithms for the remote inspections of industrial assets, the verification of autonomous navigational systems in maritime applications and the creation of data driven surrogate models as high-fidelity alternatives for physics-based models of complex physical systems.


Elizabeth Traiger has over 10 years providing technical engineering advisory services working for WSP and DNV consulting firms. She provides data analytic expertise to external clients on issues relating to utility scale renewable power projects. Elizabeth has worked on wind project development, operational assessments, due diligence, and grid integration projects throughout her career with companies worldwide. She delivers technical data-driven solutions helping to increase the reliability of renewables in the energy mix.


Elizabeth Traiger holds a Ph.D. (DPhil) and M.Sc. from the University of Oxford, UK in the field of Statistics. Her research was in extreme value theory developing methodology for reduced uncertainty estimates from censored data having spatial dependencies. Her B.S. in Mathematics is from the University of Kansas, USA.