Major Topics

  Major Topics in ICT and links to other Profile Areas Caroline Rordorf

In a first step, the Steering Committee has identified on the basis of a RWTH-wide survey ICT core subjects in which the university is particularly strong in research. As a result, eleven key areas of research have been formulated:


Another focus was the development of links and overlaps with other profile areas. Information and Communication Technologies as one of the key technologies of the 21st century are advancing into almost all research fields of the existing profile areas. Innovations in the areas of algorithms, communication networks, knowledge processing, electronics and microelectronics are used in a variety of applications and decisively determine the technical progress today. In particular, the demand for smart technologies and systems is constantly growing and conquering ever new application areas.
Various tools and machines are increasingly equipped with functions (sensors, actuators, and software) that allow them to gather, analyze and exchange information, in order to trigger specific actions independently or to activate other systems. Smart technologies offer high potential for optimizing the efficiency, effectiveness, reliability and safety in processes. Thus, they are forming the basis for sustainable and economic success in virtually all industries, including in particular medical devices, energy, chemical and process engineering, production engineering, as well as mobility and transport.
Innovations in the field of intelligent systems make huge demands on research and development, since a large number of components with different technologies and materials have to be harmonized. In addition to the technical aspects social criteria such as acceptance, usability and protection of privacy have to be considered equally. Therefore a high degree of interdisciplinary cooperation is necessary – even above and beyond the individual disciplines of each profile area [see below]. An example for cooperative research initiatives is the joint establishment of a competence center for Mobility and Transport at RWTH Aachen University. Here the use of modern communication techniques (e.g. LTE, DSRC, Car2Car) provides broad opportunities in the design of sustainable mobility. Particularly in the development of driver assistance systems, communication-based infrastructures are crucial for self-control functions and adaptive security systems (e.g. AEB = Autonomous Emergency Brake Systems, VRU = Vulnerable Road Users).

Furthermore, a series of specific workshops was organized to deepen and bundle the research activities of the ICT profile area. In April 2014 at the initiative of Prof. Sabina Jeschke a strategy-workshop was held on the subject of the intersection of computing and the disciplines of the humanities and social sciences. About 30 heads of RWTH Aachen University institutes and chairs of all research areas discussed in particular the classification of the terminologies "digital humanities"/"eHumanities" in a narrower sense up to a wider understanding as "digital societies"/"eSocieties". In addition to the humanities the term digital societies also contains the research fields of the social and human sciences respectively their applications in the context of the planning, medical and engineering sciences. For the further interdisciplinary collaboration a process has been initiated to identify already existing substantial and conceptual intersections in this field and to start new concerted activities.

The following workshops will address key issues such as Visual Computing, Multimedia (Prof. Ohm), Quantum Computing (Prof. DiVicenzo), Cyber-Physical Systems (UMIC, Prof. Kowalewski). From the results of the workshops a strategic roadmap will be developed in order to open up new, future-oriented research projects and cooperations of the profile area ​​ICT.