About the Cluster of Excellence

on "Multimodal Computing and Interaction"

The Excellence Initiative of the German Research Foundation (DFG) seeks to establish internationally visible, top-level research facilities that foster scientific collaboration among institutions and provide excellent training and career support for young researchers. Established within this framework in November 2007, the Cluster of Excellence on Multimodal Computing and Interaction is now in its second funding phase. It brings together researchers from the Computer Science and Computational Linguistics and Phonetics departments of Saarland University, the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, and the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems.

Mission

The past three decades have brought dramatic changes in the way we live and work. This phenomenon is widely characterized as the advent of the Information Society. It is driven by the power of information technology to acquire, store, process, and transmit data compactly, inexpensively, and at greater speeds than ever before. This means that more and more digital information is constantly being collected, produced, and made available, in a variety of forms and contexts, all over the world. Meanwhile, our society is becoming increasingly reliant on access to and interpretation of this information.

These trends bring about new challenges and opportunities: to organize, understand, search, and interface this multimodal information in a robust, efficient and intelligent way, to address new security and privacy concerns, and to create dependable systems that support natural and intuitive multimodal interaction.

Since the promotion of young researchers is an integral goal of our cluster, we have committed the majority of our allocated funds to the establishment of several independent research groups. Each of these groups has its own budget, and group leaders independently supervise their own doctoral and master's students. All such positions are advertised internationally, and we welcome international students and postdocs as well.

Structure

Formally, the cluster is structured into nine research areas and coordinated by seventeen principal investigators (PIs). Four of these research areas (Text and Speech Processing, Visual Computing, Algorithmic Foundations, Security, Privacy, and Accountability) focus on basic research, while the remaining five research areas (Knowledge Management, Information  Processing in the Life Sciences, Large-Scale Virtual Environments, Synthetic Virtual Characters, Multimodal Dialog Systems) are of a more applied nature. Our Software Integration Platform, along with three other demonstrators (Multimodal In-Car Dialog, Open-Science-Web, Virtual Environments), integrates our research and serves to showcase it to the public.

Video Documentary