The University of Warsaw is a partner of the international consortium which participates in the competition organized by the European Commission – FET Flagships. The Time Machine project is the only project at the intersection with the Humanities.

For Europe, the question is now about creating not just a collective cultural heritage, made up of the „big data of the past”, but also a technological heritage, which will guarantee that it continues to build this communal resource in a free and open manner.


The consortium of 60 European institutions, coming from 19 countries would like to create an ambitious European cultural project – the Time Machine. The project involves equipping Europe with the technology to structure, analyse and model data from the past, and realign it with the present to allow a glimpse into the future. The University of Warsaw is a partner of that consortium. It is represented by the Digital Humanities Laboratory.


Time Machine is anchored in the technologies and methodologies pioneered by the Venice Time Machine, an on-going 10-year seed project focusing on the city of Venice and its 1000 years of history and featuring EPFL, Università Ca’ Foscari, Archivio di Stato di Venezia, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, as well as an international board including scholars from Princeton, Stanford, Columbia and London Universities. Venice Time Machine provides a proof of concept of archival digitization and machine learning to reconstruct the shape of the city over its history, along with the evolution of its continental and Mediterranean Venetian networks over time. The project maps circulation of news, money, commercial goods, as well as migration of artistic patterns along the roads from Venice to the Netherlands and Germany or down to ports of the Black sea, reconstructing, through the history of Venice, a united story of the construction of Europe. Time Machine is a spatial and temporal extension of this ambition, the potential of which the Venice chapter already highlights.


Several national archives and libraries are supporting the project the Time Machine including the National Library of Spain, the National Library of Switzerland, National Archives of Finland, National Archives of Hungary, Federal Archives of Switzerland and Montenegro State Archives.


The Time Machine FET Flagship was competing against 24 other projects. Flagships are extremely large European initiatives that can receive financing between 500 million to 1 billion Euros.


On 15th December a roundtable of approximately 50 people met in Bruxelles to select 4 to 6 proposals among the 25 in competition. The Time Machine project, which is the only project at the intersection with the Humanities, was selected. The project can give Europe the technology to renew itself – a unique opportunity to build our future based on our collective heritage, and a unique opportunity to find ourselves.


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