Volker Tresp

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU Munich)

E-mail (email): volker.tresp at lmu dot de

Prospective students:  We are looking for students who are looking for master's thesis projects and who have a strong mathematical background!

Current Research Interests:

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Research Interests

Our team has a long tradition in machine learning for relational structured domains. Currently our focus is on learning with (temporal) knowledge graphs, where we also explore quantum computing solutions.   Our interest in cognitive AI was the reason that we are increasingly exploring multimodal data, such as texts, images, and videos.  Foundation models are becoming important for our work.  Our ultimate goal is to understand human level intelligence.  

More research interests: 


Volker Tresp is a professor at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU). He received his Diploma degree in physics from the University of Göttingen in 1984 and M.Sc., M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University in 1986 and 1989, respectively. During his Ph.D., he worked in Yale’s Image Processing and Analysis Group (IPAG). In 1990, he joined Siemens where he has been heading various research teams in machine learning. In 1997, he became Siemens Inventor of the Year for his innovations in neural networks research  and in 2018 became the first Siemens Distinguished Research Scientist. He revolutionized steel processing by pioneering a novel Bayesian neural network approach that cleverly integrated real-world data with simulated data from a prior solution.*** Renowned AI researcher, Geoff Hinton, aptly termed this amalgamation of prior data as "Priors without Prejudice."  In 1994 he was a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Center for Biological and Computational Learning, working with the teams of Tomaso Poggio and Michael I. Jordan. He was co-editor of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 13.  In 2011, he was appointed professor in informatics at the LMU, where he teaches a course on machine learning and where he is leading a second research team. He is known for his work on Bayesian machine learning, in particular the Bayesian Committee Machine and his work on hierarchical learning with Gaussian processes. The IHRM, the SRM SUNS, and RESCAL are milestones in representation learning for multi-relational graphs. His team has been doing pioneering work on machine learning with knowledge graphs, temporal knowledge graphs, and scene graph analysis.  The work on the Tensor Brain reflects his interest in mathematical models for cognition and neuroscience. In 2020, he became a Fellow of the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS). As co-director (with Kristian Kersting and Paolo Frasconi), he leads the ELLIS program "Semantic, Symbolic and Interpretable Machine Learning".

***Subsequently, Siemens engineers adeptly tackled the challenges of concept drift and covariate shift, ensuring the model's adaptability to changing conditions and environments. As a result, the project achieved remarkable success, propelling the business unit to become a global leader in the process industry. To this day, it stands as one of the most significant achievements in machine learning for the process industry.


Former Ph.D. Students

Selected Former Team Members and Collaborators

More Friends that Crossed my Path

Companies Founded by Former Team Members

Awards and Honors:







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"Bad talks make you want to die and good talks mess up your brain" (why one should avoid talks)   more

Origin of the name Tresp (my best guess). Tresp is related to the Saxon (mittelniederdeutsch) word "dreist", which means audacious.  The name would really stand for  someone who comes from the village where one can cross over the bubbling ("dreisten") brook. The brook is called Dreisbach, the village Drespe (earlier form: Dreispe). The term is related to the  Celtic term for “bubbling spring”. Then the "e" was droppped and in East Prussia, to where some people of that name had immigrated (first records around 1650), the "D" changed to a "T". 
Then there is also: trespe, f. , ein unter dem getreide wachsendes unkraut (Deutsches Wörterbuch von Jacob Grimm und Wilhelm Grimm) and  Triesch (Brache: unused farmland)

Scientific Genealogy shows that my  academic ancestors are three Nobel prize winners (W. K. Heisenberg, P. Debye, F. Bloch). Via advisors and co-advisors, my academic lineage goes back to  C. F. Gauß, and  G. W. Leibniz. Around 1983, my diploma co-advisors (Udo Kaatze) organized a workshop together with Erwin Neher who later wrote a recommendation letter for me for applying for a stipend to attend a university in the U.S.  In 1991,  Neher was awarded, along with Bert Sakmann, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for "their discoveries concerning the function of single ion channels in cells" ( the patch-clamp technique). Around 1985,  Eric Kandel came to our flat after his talk at Yale discussing neuroscience.  Kandel won the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on the physiological basis of memory storage in neurons. Reinhard Pottel and Udo Kaatze were my diploma thesis advisors. My diploma thesis was a follow-up project of the amazing PhD project of Eberhard Asselborn. In addition to physics, Eberhard studied medicine and became an Ophthalmologist. His reasoning for turning to medicine was that he did not think his purpose in life was to build smart refrigerators. My PhD advisors were Art Gmitro and Gene Gindi.