RWTH Receives 8.8 Million Euros for Two New Research Training Groups


The two Research Training Groups study the uncertainty of data and nonlinear partial differential equations, respectively. 


The German Research Foundation, DFG, has granted two of RWTH Aachen's proposals. The University will establish the research training groups "UnRAVeL – Uncertainty and Randomness in Algorithms, Verification, and Logic" and "Energy, Entropy, and Dissipative Dynamics" in October 2017. The purpose of a Research Training Group is to promote particularly qualified doctoral candidates in their research. RWTH will receive a total of 8.8 million euros in the next four and a half years.


UnRAVeL – Uncertainty and Randomness in Algorithms, Verification, and Logic

Uncertainties, which, for example, occur in large datasets, vague measurements, or imprecise models, are the key focus of this research training group. Adequately treating these uncertainties is one of the greatest challenges in computer science. The aim is to apply theoretical computer science and optimization techniques to practical problems, with a clear focus on uncertainty and imprecision – such as those that nowadays arise in big data. A combined effort using computer science, mathematics, economics, and engineering enables to investigate these questions with complementary approaches while obtaining a fruitful cross-fertilization between theory and practice.

The DFG will fund the training of 15 doctoral candidates with 5.4 million euros. 12 RWTH professors are part of the research training group. The speaker is Professor Joost-Pieter Katoen, heading the Chair on Software Modeling and Verification.

"The amount of data that is generated on a daily basis consists of almost an octillion bits," explains Professor Katoen. "They originate everywhere, but are frequently highly uncertain. Uncertainty is becoming ubiquitous in computer science. How exact is the data from the internet and from sensor observations? Immense research questions include how one can reliably plan trains despite uncertain data, how to reliably implement industry robots surrounded by humans – who behave unexpectedly –, and how to ensure the confidentiality of data. These questions require the development of new theories, rapid algorithms, and automated verification techniques. UnRAVeL's focus is on modeling uncertainty with probabilistic models. Computer scientists, mathematicians, business experts, and rail experts will apply new methods to concrete problems in the areas of security (protocols), planning (robotics, railroad engineering), and operational safety."


Energy, Entropy, and Dissipative Dynamics

Mathematics is a key discipline for today’s research landscape. It provides a language that makes it possible to describe and quantify complex processes in the natural and engineering sciences. Many achievements and amenities of modern life would not have been possible without mathematics. The mathematical analysis of applied models not only drives progress within the discipline itself, but also has the potential to impact applications in ways that cannot be predicted a priori.

The Research Training Group "Energy, Entropy, and Dissipative Dynamics" combines analysis, modeling, and numerics of nonlinear partial differential equations coming from physics, materials science, and geometry. A common theme among the research projects is the use of energy and entropy functionals and their dissipation mechanisms as a tool for the investigation of the qualitative and quantitative behavior of solutions.

Important topics include energy minimization, properties of energy landscapes, maximization of energy dissipation, and entropy production as a selection criterion in time-dependent situations. The research projects focus on different applied models such as moment models in gas dynamics, hyperbolic conservation laws, kinetic partial differential equations, flows on networks, Landau-Lifshitz equations, and the models of geometric knot theory.

Eight RWTH professors will contribute to the Research Training Group. Ten doctoral candidates are financed by the German Research Foundation, DFG for short, which will provide a total of 3.4 million euros. Spokesperson for the Research Training Group is Professor Michael Westdickenberg from the Chair for Mathematics (Analysis) at RWTH Aachen University.

Source: Press and Communications