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Time Machine : Big Data of the Past for the Future of Europe

Project description

Technology brings history to life

Technology can turn history and cultural heritage into a living resource. The EU-funded Time Machine project will digitise an enormous volume of historical, geographical, museum and library archives. Digitisation and computing infrastructure will push artificial intelligence and ICT to a new level with revolutionary interpretative models. Open access to innumerable sources and ongoing research will greatly boost education, businesses, tourism and many more fields creating new jobs.


Europe urgently needs to restore and intensify its engagement with its past. Time Machine will give Europe the technology to strengthen its identity against globalisation, populism and increased social exclusion, by turning its history and cultural heritage into a living resource for co-creating its future.
The Large Scale Research Initiative (LSRI) will develop a large-scale digitisation and computing infrastructure mapping millennia of European historical and geographical evolution, transforming kilometres of archives, large collections from museums and libraries, and geohistorical datasets into a distributed digital information system. To succeed, a series of fundamental breakthroughs are targeted in Artificial Intelligence and ICT, making Europe the leader in the extraction and analysis of Big Data of the Past. Time Machine will drive Social Sciences and Humanities toward larger problems, allowing new interpretative models to be built on a superior scale. It will bring a new era of open access to sources, where past and on-going research are open science. This constant flux of knowledge will have a profound effect on education, encouraging reflection on long trends and sharpening critical thinking, and will act as an economic motor for new professions, services and products, impacting key sectors of European economy, including ICT, creative industries and tourism, the development of Smart Cities and land use.
The CSA will develop a full LSRI proposal around the Time Machine vision. Detailed roadmaps will be prepared, organised around science and technology, operational principles and infrastructure, exploitation avenues and framework conditions. A dissemination programme aims to further strengthen the rapidly growing ecosystem, currently counting 95 research institutions, most prestigious European cultural heritage associations, large enterprises and innovative SMEs, influential business and civil society associations, and international and national institutional bodies.

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 137 202,98
Batiment ce 3316 station 1
1015 Lausanne

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Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Région lémanique Vaud
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 56 468,90

Participants (35)