BSC is granted one of the seven projects “Connecting Europe Facility” with the AI proposal “Saint George on a bike”

27 May 2019

“Saint George on a bike”, from the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), has been chosen as one of the seven projects of the Telecom category that will get CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) funding, a European tool to facilitate international interaction between administrations, companies and citizens through the development of digital service infrastructures. The goal of “Saint George on a bike” is to endow AI of knowledge regarding European cultural patrimony.

Let us imagine that one wants a machine to describe a picture of Saint George about to slay the dragon. The answer one is likely to get could be curious: it would depict a man on a bike (horse) beside a dog (dragon). The reason is that AI motors are usually trained to describe current pictures only; hence, it is very difficult for them to correctly associate elements from other historical-cultural contexts. The name “Saint George on a bike” comes precisely from having tested a picture of Saint George slaying the dragon to an AI tool.

Coordinated by the BSC, this project’s goal is to generate descriptions of pieces from the European cultural heritage. In order to carry it out, the center will jointly work with Europeana, the non-profit organization that centralizes digital access to Europe’s cultural funds, and it will allow BSC the exploration of its collections of artistic resources for their analysis.

In order for the description of each picture to be coherent with all the contained elements and with the temporal context in which it belongs, BSC will apply deep learning methods and other semantic and statistic techniques to generate automatic textual explanations of an image with natural language.

As the volume of the images for the correct training of the automatic descriptors is huge and the data analysis is quite complex, the use of big supercomputing resources is needed. The final descriptions will be filed, following international standards, and they will help to enrich the metadata of the European cultural repository collected by Europeana. In addition, they will be accessible for all citizens.


  • Caption: St George Fighting the Dragon by Rafael Sanzio