Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP) is Sweden's largest individual research program ever, and provides a platform for academic research and education, fostering interaction with Sweden's leading technology companies. The program addresses research on autonomous systems acting in collaboration with humans, adapting to their environment through sensors, information and knowledge, and forming intelligent systems-of-systems. Software is the main enabler in autonomous systems, and is an integrated research theme of the program. WASP's key values are research excellence and industrial relevance.

The graduate school within WASP is dedicated to provide the skills needed to analyze, develop, and contribute to the interdisciplinary area of autonomous systems and software. The curriculum provides the foundations, perspectives, and state-of-the-art knowledge in the different disciplines taught by leading researchers in the field. Through an ambitious program with research visits, partner universities, and visiting lecturers, the graduate school actively supports forming a strong multi-disciplinary and international professional network between PhD-students, researchers and industry.

The graduate school provides added value on top of the existing PhD programs at the partner universities, providing unique opportunities for students who are dedicated to achieving international research excellence with industrial relevance.

WASP involves five Swedish universities: Chalmers, KTH, Linköping University, Lund University, and Umeå University together with numerous Swedish industries. At Lund University the following four departments participate: Department of Automatic Control, Department of Computer Science, Department of Electrical and Information Technology, and the Matematical Imaging Group at the Department of Matematics.

In November 2017 the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation granted an additional billion Swedish kronor to extend WASP with a broad investment into artificial intelligence.

The initiative in artificial intelligence will follow two pathways. The larger of these involves an investment into machine learning, deep learning and the next generation of AI. The latter involves asking the system how it reached a particular answer, whereby the system can justify its answers and use them in a general situation. The second pathway deals with increasing our understanding of fundamental mathematical principles behind AI.

The two pathways have resources to recruit 14 senior researchers each, and in total 120 research students, where the research students will become members of graduate schools and take specialist courses in relevant fields. In addition to this there will be 30 industrial PhD students, with the total aim of 150 PhD students in WASP-AI. The two new graduate schools will coordinate with the
existing WASP graduate school, where over 100 research students are currently studying.

The program director for WASP is Professor Lars Nielsen, Linköping University. The chairs of the three program management groups of WASP are

  • Professor Karl-Erik Årzén, Lund University - WASP-AS (Autonomous Systems and Software)
  • Professor Danica Kragic, Royal Institute of Technology - WASP-AI/MLX (Machine Leraning, Deep Learning and Explainable AI)
  • Professor Johan Håstad, Royal Institute of Technology - WASP-AI/MATH (Matematical foundations of AI)


WASP is currently divided into 10 clusters:

  • Software Engineering for Smart Systems
  • Autonomous Clouds and Networks
  • Perception and Learning in Interactive Autonomous Systems
  • Interaction and Communication with Sensor-Rich Autonomous Agents
  • Smart Localization Systems
  • Automated Transport Systems
  • Large Scale Optimization and Control
  • Security for Autonomous Systems
  • Software Technology for Autonomous Systems
  • AI and Machine Learning


Lund University currently has 12 university PhD students in WASP, 8 industrial PhD students and three afflilated PhD students, and participates in all the ten  clusters above. In addition Lund University has one newly recruited WASP Associated Professor - Christoph Reichenbach - and one Full Professor in Software and Robotics on the way in, both at the Computer Science department.

The Department of Automatic Control has 5 university PhD students, two industrial PhD students, and two affliated PhD students; and participates in the projects Autonomous Cloud, Large Scale Optimization and Control, and Smart Localization Systems.

More information about WASP is available here.