Process Science and Data Science: A Match Made in Heaven!


RWTH Professor Wil van der Aalst to deliver public inaugural lecture on June 8


RWTH Professor Wil van der Aalst is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of process mining, business process management, workflow management systems, and data science. The 51 year-old Dutch computer scientist, who was appointed Humboldt Professor at RWTH Aachen University earlier this year, is one of the most widely cited researchers in his areas of expertise.

Professor van der Aalst will hold his inaugural lecture during the summer fest of the Department of Computer Science on Friday, June 8, between 3:30 and 4:45pm in Aula 2, Ahornstraße 55. The lecture is titled “Process Science and Data Science: A Match Made in Heaven!” The public lecture is hosted in collaboration with the Department of Computer Science, the Regionalgruppe Informatik Aachen, RIA for short, and Regina e.V., the Regional Industry Club Informatics Aachen.

Process Mining

The talk will introduce Process Mining as a novel way to turn event data into valuable insights, predictions, and decisions. Events refer to activities executed by resources at particular times and for particular cases. Such event data are collected everywhere; in logistics, manufacturing, finance, healthcare, customer relationship management, e-learning, e-government, and many other domains. Process Mining can be used to discover the real processes, to detect deviations from normative processes, and to analyze bottlenecks and waste.

The interplay between Process Science and Data Science generates many interesting research problems. For example, how to deal with terabytes of event data scattered over dozens of database tables? How to use process mining responsibly, to ensure fairness and confidentiality, for instance? Another question is how to amalgamate Process Mining with Operations Research approaches, such as optimization, simulation, and others. These questions are scientifically interesting and practically relevant. This is illustrated by the 25+ commercial Process Mining tools based on the ideas developed by Professor van der Aalst and his colleagues. His talk will show different tools and their use in a variety of domains.

Process and Data Science Group

The Process and Data Science group (PADS) headed by Wil van der Aalst is a new research unit in RWTH’s Department of Computer Science. The scope of PADS includes all activities where discrete processes are analyzed, reengineered, and/or supported in a data-driven manner. Process-centricity is combined with an array of Data Science techniques, such as machine learning, data mining, visualization, and Big Data infrastructures.