Apply for the Journalist Award for Computer Science by 15 September

While the social network Facebook is working on introducing its own money currency, the scientific journal Nature reports that an artificial intelligence can now compete with several poker players. Last week's headlines show how IT applications permeate everyday life. This is why the Saarland State Chancellery and the Competence Center Computer Science Saarland are awarding journalistic, German-language articles in the three categories "Text", "Audio" and "Video and Multimedia" with the Journalist Prize for Computer Science and 5000 euros. The closing date for entries is 15 September 2019.




Blood samples from the zoo help predict diseases in humans

Penguins, Asian elephants and many other animal species live in the zoos of Saarbrücken and Neunkirchen. As they come from different continents, blood is regularly taken from the animals to check their health. These blood samples have now been used by bioinformaticians and human geneticists at Saarland University to search for biomarkers with which diseases can be detected at an early stage. The researchers want to use similar genetic patterns, which have been present in the blood of humans and animals for thousands of years, to improve computer-assisted disease prognosis.




Informatics anniversary celebrated nationwide

Yesterday a Germany-wide anniversary celebration of computer science took place. Organized by the Technische Universität Dresden (TUD), five universities, including Saarland University, celebrated 50 years of computer science education together but also locally. Each of the five universities contributed to the program with local lectures, which were broadcast to the other universities in Dresden, Darmstadt, Munich and Saarbrücken by livestream.




Computer scientists predict lightning and thunder with the help of artificial intelligence

At the beginning of June, the German Weather Service counted 177,000 lightning bolts in the night sky within a few days. The natural spectacle had consequences:  Several people were injured by gusts of wind, hail and rain. Together with Germany’s National Meteorological Service, the Deutscher Wetterdienst, computer science professor Jens Dittrich and his doctoral student Christian Schön from Saarland University are now working on a system that is supposed to predict local thunderstorms more precisely than before. It is based on satellite images and artificial intelligence. In order to investigate this approach in more detail, the researchers will receive 270,000 euros from the Federal Ministry of Transport.




Saarland University: Department of Computer Science celebrated 50th anniversary

The Department of Computer Science at Saarland University turned 50 years old as of a few days ago. While Günter Hotz was the first professor of computer science in 1969, there are now 1900 students enrolled in computer science, and around 800 scientists conduct research at the six world-renowned research institutes, which jointly operate as the "Saarland Informatics Campus" (SIC). During the last weekend in May, the Department of Computer Science celebrated its birthday with several events.




Founding father of the computer science department becomes honorary senator

Günter Hotz, retired computer science professor of Saarland University, has been appointed honorary senator of Saarland University at the symposium marking the 50th anniversary of the Department of Computer Science. Hotz, born 1931 in Rommelshausen, is considered a pioneer of German computer science. Among other things, he wrote standard works in the fields of formal languages, circuit theory and complexity theory.   




Prime Minister of Saarland congratulates on the 50th anniversary of the computer science department

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Department of Computer Science at Saarland University, Prime Minister Tobias Hans expressed his congratulations. During the ceremony in the evening Hans said: “The roots of today's performance and importance of the computer science department began to grow five decades ago. They are the result of fruitful teamwork within the university as well as excellent cooperation with non-university research institutions and the IT industry, but also of a continuous sharpening of research programs. This special anniversary provides inspiration and impetus to further advance the visions for a digital future. I wish the Department of Computer Science a successful future and that its further development will be in no way inferior to that of the past", said Tobias Hans, Minister President of Saarland.



A thorough characterization of structural variants in human genomes

Human genomes vary quite a bit from individual to individual. These differences include single nucleotide change in the DNA sequence, but even more variation comes from structural variants, which include additions, deletions and rearrangements of large segments of DNA. A recent study done by Professor Tobias Marschall and international colleagues used multiple advanced technologies to dive deeper than ever before to comprehensively characterize the structural variants present in three families, and what their functional consequences might be.




In the fight against Alzheimer's disease: Saarbrücken bioinformatics professor to begin a one-year research stay at prestigious Stanford University in the US

Professor Andreas Keller from the Center for Bioinformatics at Saarland University is leading a research project at Stanford University in Silicon Valley for one year. The aim is to gain a better understanding of how diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's develop in the human body at the single-cell level. The aim is to identify such widespread diseases earlier and open up new therapeutic options. The Schaller-Nikolich Foundation in Heidelberg is financing the stay with one million US dollars.




Film series "Artificial Intelligence in Cinema": When the Care Robot Becomes an Accomplice

"Robot & Frank" is the second film in the film series "Artificial Intelligence in Cinema" and will be shown on April 1 at 6:30 p.m. at the cinema in the Filmhaus Saarbrücken. The story recounts the special friendship between a demented jewel thief and his care robot. Afterwards Jan Alexandersson, head of the Competence Center for Ambient Assisted Living (CCAAL) at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, will comment on the American independent film from 2012. Admission is free. The film series is organized by the Filmhaus together with the Competence Center for Computer Science Saarland and the German-American Institute.




IT incubator at Saarland University offers nationwide start-up program

“IT Inkubator GmbH“ at Saarland University is offering a new, nationwide start-up program to ensure that start-ups can be established more quickly and successfully. The aim is not only to transform the ideas and inventions developed on the Saarland Informatics Campus into products, services and spin-offs. Students and researchers from other universities and research institutes can also use the new program to set up companies or advance their technology to such an extent that established industrial companies will acquire licenses for it. However, they have to come to Saarland to do so.




Around 90 people attended the opening of the film series "Artificial Intelligence in Cinema"



Film series "Artificial Intelligence in Cinema": Researchers comment on the perceptions of the dream factory

Artificial intelligence (AI) serves people as a digital assistant, monitors faces and checks creditworthiness. The potential of this technology has fascinated filmmakers since 1927. In recent months, progress has been so tremendous that the question is whether reality has overtaken fiction on the big screen. Starting March 13, the Filmhaus in Saarbrücken, together with the Competence Center for Computer Science and the German-American Institute, will therefore be organizing the film series "KI im Kino". After each film, a researcher will provide information on the extent to which the film corresponds to current research. Admission is free.




The Academy Award goes to... Markus Gross!



Federal Minister of Education and Research visits SIC



Awarded the “University Pearl”

The Future Skills “university pearl”, an award of the Stifterverband (Donors’ Association), will go to Saarland University in January 2019. Teachers of computer science and philosophy have jointly developed the lecture “Ethics for Nerds”, which teaches students of computer science and related courses basic ethical skills and sensitizes them to the social responsibility of computer science. In this way, the lecture raises students’ awareness of possible undesirable developments and enables them to develop morally desirable solutions themselves.




Interregional Science Award for Diagnostic Research on Parkinson's Disease

How can Parkinson's disease be detected early? A research team from the University of Luxembourg and Saarland University is looking for answers to this question and was awarded a prize sponsored by SaarLB in the "Networks of Excellence in the Greater Region" competition. The jury of the interregional science prize thus honors a cross-border research project in which so-called biomarkers are developed that indicate Parkinson's disease at an early stage. The prize is endowed with 10,000 euros and was presented in Luxembourg.




Journalist Prize for Computer Science 2018 awarded at Saarland University

This evening, State Secretary Jürgen Lennartz will present the Journalist Prize for Computer Science awarded by the Saarland State Chancellery. The main prizes in the categories print, radio and television will go to editors of the Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, the Hessischer Rundfunk and the Westdeutscher Rundfunk. The three main prizes are each endowed with 5,000 euros. The Helmholtz Center for Information Security (CISPA) is funding a special prize worth 1,000 euros to Thomas Reintjes for a contribution to Deutschlandfunk.




PhD student at SIC awarded with German Developer Prize for computer game

Felix Klein, PhD student at the Chair of Computer Graphics at Saarland University, was honored with the German Developer Award in the category "Best Indie Game" on December 5th in Cologne for the game "Crosscode" which he conceived and developed. "Indie games", also known as "independent video games", are computer games that were launched on the market without the help of a financially powerful distributor. The German Developer Award is regarded as "the most important award for outstanding achievements in the development of video games from German-speaking countries", according to the organizers of the competition.




Saarbrücken computer science professor did preparatory work for quantum leap in computer graphics

NVIDIA is a leader in the manufacture of graphics processors and computer chips for personal computers and game consoles. Speaking to 1,200 experts at the SIGGRAPH Conference in Vancouver, Canada in August 2018, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang announced a fundamental improvement in computer graphics. NVIDIA was the first company to sell a graphics processor for what is known as ray tracing, a computing process that renders virtual worlds in a photorealistic quality. NVIDIA has realized a vision that Saarbrücken computer scientists had already described in a research paper and presented at a conference in 2005.




Statue for the Helmholtz Center for Information Security (CISPA)



SIC start-up collaborates with Villeroy & Boch

Specialists who evaluate data for companies using mathematical methods and thus secure a lead in the race for customers and profits are desperately sought after. The data science start-up "d:AI:mond " from the Saarbrücken Informatics Campus at Saarland University responds to this need and offers companies expertise in the form of two professors and two other internationally renowned experts. After a successful incubation phase in the IT incubator at Saarland University, one thing is certain: the concept will work. Since mid-October, d:AI:mond has been registered as a GmbH in the commercial register and can already boast well-known customers. 



Master's students at Saarland University give the subjects of mathematics and computer science top grades

According to the CHE ranking of master's degree programs published today, Saarland University is the leader in both subjects. The ranking is based on the evaluations of the local students. The Centre for Higher Education Development (CHE) assesses these and divides the results into more than 20 criteria in order to enable students in particular to make a nationwide comparison when searching for a suitable degree program. Indicators such as number of students and international orientation are also listed. The current rankings have now been published exclusively in the Zeit-Verlag publications "Zeit Campus" and "Zeit Online". 



New Collaborative Research Center: Software systems should explain their own behavior

Even experts have less and less of an understanding of the behavior of complex software systems nowadays. Meanwhile, these systems are increasingly involved in our daily lives, whether as intelligent home automation, in autonomous vehicles or in industrial production. Scientists from Saarland University, two Max Planck Institutes and the Dresden University of Technology now want to develop mechanisms in a new Collaborative Research Center to better communicate the behavior of complex software systems not only to experts but also to the general public. The German Research Foundation is funding this major project with eleven million euros over four years.



Jilles Vreeken wins prestigious junior research award for data mining

Jilles Vreeken, leading the group "Exploratory Data Analysis" at the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security, was awarded the Tao Li Prize in Singapore at the IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM).


State Chancellery receives computer scientists from Saarland University

Last week the State Chancellery of Saarland invited nine computer scientists to a reception in order to thank them for their commitment to the competition "Landmarks in the Land of Ideas". Three Saarbrücken computer science projects in the areas of dependable systems, bioinformatics and cybersecurity were able to prevail among almost 1500 applications. Thus, the Saarland Informatics Campus received the title "Excellent Place in the Land of Ideas" three times this year.



Advertisement of the Saarland Informatics Campus honored with the ZEIT Career Award

The weekly magazine DIE ZEIT presented the "ZEIT Karriere Award" for the fourth time in a row on October 18 in Berlin. An advertisement of the Saarland Informatics Campus is one of the winners. Together with its print and online job markets the magazine honors both job advertisements and image ads, i.e. advertisements that express emotions in a special way towards a product, a brand or a company.



Excellent teaching at SIC



Nominally nominated for the ZEIT Career Award 2018

An advertisement from the Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science is a contender for the ZEIT Career Award 2018 in the category "Best Image Advertisement for Science".



Bitcoin: How users betray the security secrets of their virtual purse

Software systems are prone to attacks if users do not use them properly. This also applies to so-called cryptocurrencies, experts say. For the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, two computer scientists at the CISPA Helmholtz Center are now providing scientific proof. Over several months, they searched publicly available information for disclosed security details. Their conclusion: Cybercriminals could have stolen virtual coins worth about 3.3 million US dollars with the help of the search hits. The two researchers are now presenting their approach at the international symposium RAID 2018 in Heraklion, the capital of Crete.




GandALF held in Saarbrücken for the first time

GandALF 2018, the Ninth International Symposium on Games, Automata, Logics, and Formal Verification, will be held September 26–28 in Saarbrücken.




Automating attacks against the second largest cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are increasingly attracting millions of users, but also cybercriminals, as a successful attack means maximum profit with little risk. This also applies to "ether," the most widely used cryptocurrency after Bitcoin. As a precautionary measure, researchers at the CISPA Helmholtz Center i.G. at Saarland University have developed a methodology for this cryptocurrency that not only finds security vulnerabilities, but also uses them to automatically develop attacks. The result: they found 815 security holes that allow 1564 attacks. The Saarbrucken computer scientists present their approach on Wednesday at the international USENIX Security Symposium in Baltimore, USA.



1,5 million euros EU funding for Andreas Bulling and Björn Brandenburg

The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded its 2018 Starting Grants. In this year's funding round, two researchers from Saarland Informatics Campus (SIC) were successful.



Who controls the internet?

The internet has developed over time and is able to function because of the interplay between various services that are, in turn, operated by a range of different institutions. Frequently, IT security does not play a significant role and, as shown by the latest attacks, we are now paying the price. Institutions are becoming both victims and perpetrators. Researchers at the CISPA Helmholtz Centre in Saarbrücken are consequently investigating the global security status of the internet using formal methods.



New computer system recognizes a person's personality by analyzing eye movements

People recognize gestures and interpret glances very quickly and almost automatically. Computers and robots cannot do this. That is why scientists around the world are working on ways to make human-computer collaboration more social, efficient and flexible. Computer scientists from Saarbrücken and Stuttgart have now reached an important milestone together with psychologists from Australia. The software system they developed processes a person's eye movements to calculate whether they are vulnerable, sociable, tolerant, conscientious or curious.




Artificial intelligence warns of photos that show more than desired

Every minute, users upload tens of thousands of images to the internet. In the case of online platform Facebook, this figure increases to over one hundred thousand. In doing so, users frequently reveal much more than intended. To prevent this, computer scientists at the CISPA Helmholtz Centre (i.G.), and the Max Planck Institute for Computer Science in Saarbrücken, have developed a digital assistant to help users. Using machine learning and neural networks, the researchers have given their "Visual Privacy Advisor" tool the necessary knowledge to warn users before they post images that pose a risk.



DFG funding ranking: Saar-Uni takes 36th place

In order to assess the quality of research, third-party funds received, in particular from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), are a readily chosen benchmark. Together with the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft (Donors' Association for the Promotion of Humanities and Sciences in Germany), the DFG has now presented its current funding ranking. Saarland University is improving and has now climbed to 36th place



Saarland University computer science students win national preliminary round in international programming competition

In the German preliminary round of the international programming competition known as the International Collegiate Programming Contest, 123 teams from eleven German universities competed. The challenge of the German Collegiate Programming Contest (GCPC) consisted of solving 13 complex programming tasks in just five hours. Julian Dörfler and Jasper Slusallek from Saarland University were the only participants to complete twelve tasks, and thus secured first place. Hence, the two Saarbrücken computer science students have secured a place in the next higher elimination competition, the Northwestern European Regional Contest (NWERC). The location for the World Final will be announced in August.



On the trail of Alzheimer’s and neurodegeneration: Saarland University cooperates with leading Chinese genomics organization BGI

Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s are considered the new mass diseases. According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, there were 46.8 million people with dementia worldwide in 2015, expected to reach 131.5 million in 2050. In order to be able to detect neurodegeneration in time and to pave the way for curing dementia in the future, scientists are exploring the potential of small non-coding RNAs, parts of the genome that regulate the gene expression. One way to analyze these RNAs is to use so-called high-throughput sequencers, which have become more powerful in recent years. Saarland University is working together with Chinese genomics organization BGI – one of the largest genomics centers worldwide – to decipher the relevance of such RNAs in neurodegeneration and aging and to establish a lab in Saarbrücken. 



Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science enables successful doctoral studies

From novel methods for data analysis, to artificial intelligence, to IT security – on the Saarland Informatics Campus of Saarland University, junior scientists work on a large number of research projects. They are supported by the Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science. This offers a structured program for the smoothest possible path to a doctorate. In addition to scholarships, it enables particularly talented students to work towards graduation starting from the bachelor's degree. Further details are given by the Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science during the Cebit computer fair at booth G75 in hall 27.



600 Experts in Artificial Intelligence Sign a Letter Calling for European Action

Today, 600 leading experts in artificial intelligence released a letter calling on European and national leaders to drastically ramp up their support for research excellence and innovation in artificial intelligence (AI). They argue that artificial intelligence will fundamentally change the way we live and work in the future. Professor Philipp Slusallek is one of the signatories.



A webcam is enough to produce a real-time 3D model of a moving hand

Capturing hand and finger movements within milliseconds is becoming increasingly important for many applications, from virtual reality to human-machine interaction and Industry 4.0. So far, it has required enormous technical effort, which in turn has limited the possible applications. Computer scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics have now developed a software system that requires only the built-in camera of a laptop, due to the interaction of various neural networks. For the first time, the researchers will be presenting the program at stand G75 in hall 27 of the computer fair Cebit, which will take place in Hannover from June 11th onward. 



Cebit 2018: Digital assistant teaches runners healthier running style

Running over long distances often causes knee injuries. Reasons include the powerful forces that act on the knee when the runner strikes the ground with the heel first. Using the middle or forefoot instead is not only healthier, but also ensures a more efficient running style. Scientists at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the Research Center for Digital Education (FoBiD) have therefore developed a wearable assistant that trains the runner to move properly. Visitors to the computer fair Cebit will be able to try it out on June 11 at booth G75 in hall 27.



Cebit 2018: Molecular fitness test for amateur athletes

One third of Germans are wearing a fitness tracker on their arm, according to a survey by the industry association Bitkom. The Saarbrücken start-up "InFit" goes even further. By analyzing novel biomarkers in collaboration with researchers from the Center for Bioinformatics at Saarland University, they provide a molecular fitness test that only top athletes have enjoyed so far. The corresponding app not only shows the molecular results, but also suggests training plans. 1000 samples from 300 subjects form the basis for this. As of June 11, the founders will present their app for the first time at the international computer trade fair Cebit in G75, Hall 27.



Cebit 2018: Saarbrücken start-up offers data analysis with scientific expertise

Digital data is considered the "new oil" in business and industry as it promises the same profits as the oil business. An entire industry is already based on "data science" and computational methods that promise even better analysis to outperform competitors and to find future business opportunities. So that the "new oil" does not turn out to be a false promise for customers, four renowned computer science experts of Saarland University are now founding the consulting firm "D:AI:MOND". Their "Data Science Consulting" is based on the latest research findings. In this way, the scientists want to provide their customers with sound advice.



Cebit 2018: Computer scientists provide fifth dimension for videos

With its almost infinite depth of field, so-called light field photography has been fascinating amateur photographers since commercial cameras have been on the market. It offers the possibility to change the focus range of the selected image section after it is taken, and to produce three-dimensional images. For video, light field photography is used only sporadically so far, in part because the necessary camera systems exist only at a handful of institutions. For a few days, Saarland University is one of them. Researchers will be presenting images and details of their self-developed system at stand G75 in hall 27 of the computer fair Cebit, which will take place in Hannover from the 11th to the 15th of June.



Cebit 2018: Legal Informatics Experts From Saarbrücken Develop Secure Data Spaces for Lawyers and SMEs

The exchange of information between lawyers and clients is protected by law. Whenever unencrypted e-mails are sent, however, this protection is undermined. And even with encryption in place, it is still possible to draw conclusions about who is communicating with whom, which should also be confidential, of course. Christoph Sorge, juris Endowed Professor for Legal Informatics at the Saarland University, has been examining the matter. His team recently developed a web-based software system that protects the communication of lawyers and enterprises from third parties. The Saarbrücken researchers will be presenting their software, “MavoRA”, at the computer fair Cebit, taking place in Hannover from June 11 to 15 (Hall 27, Stand G75).



Cebit 2018: Saarbrücken Start-up Combines Tinkering and Programming for Elementary School Kids

More than 725,000 German children started school in the past year. It is already obvious that they will need computer science skills to prevail in the professional world and in everyday life later on. Experts are therefore calling for children to be introduced to algorithms and programming languages early on. The available tools are usually rather expensive, however, and do not necessarily satisfy the children's play instincts. The start-up Fold-IO uses a combination of inexpensive craft paper cut-outs and minicomputers. Fold-IO is supported by the IT Incubator at Saarland University and funded by the German federal funding programme EXIST.




CHE Ranking: Saarland University computer science once again at top position

According to the latest ranking by the Center for Higher Education Development (CHE), Saarland University computer science is among the four best computer science departments in all of Germany. In the computer science field, Saarland University shares first place with the computer science departments at RWTH Aachen, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Technical University of Munich. The Saarbrücken students gave top marks in particular to the overall study conditions and especially the support they receive during their studies. For the computer science ranking published in the ZEIT study guide, the CHE examined 57 German universities and compared a total of over 30 subjects. 



Global market leader goes for CISPA



Scientists of a Saarbrücken Max Planck Institute honored by the International World Wide Web Conference for a longtime-pioneering paper

Three, then Saarbrücken-based, scientists were awarded for a publication issued 11 years ago. The committee acknowledged with the SEOUL Test of Time Award the long-lasting and sustainable influence of the ontology “YAGO”. Since a decade, this semantic and formal representing data base extracts and links text-based entries from Wikipedia and other internet sources.



Sensor stickers transform the human body into a multi-touch surface

Computer scientists at Saarland University have now developed sensors that even laypeople can produce with a little effort. The special feature: the sensors make it possible, for the first time, to capture touches on the body very precisesly, even from multiple fingers. The researchers have successfully tested their prototypes in four different applications.



Prestigious prize for research on software technology goes to Germany for the first time

If software errors go undetected, this can not only reduce sales significantly. In the worst case, people die. Finding errors before launching the software also costs a lot of money. According to a study by Cambridge University, software developers spend half of their programming time finding and repairing bugs. Andreas Zeller, professor of software engineering Saarland University and researcher at the CISPA – Helmholtz-Center in Gründung, has therefore already developed several techniques that automate the testing of software. He is now the first German computer scientist to receive the award for outstanding research in the field of software engineering from the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).



Girls’ Day 2018: Career education at Google in Paris

This Girls’ Day Verena Wolf, professor of computer science at Saarland University, is visiting the Google office in Paris with a handpicked group of female high school students. In this way, the girls will get a firsthand account by female software engineers of what the profession looks like. According to the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, more than half of girls consider only ten different professions for their career choice. The nationwide Girls’ Day wants to change that.



Teacher Award awarded to high school teacher from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Tino Hempel, teacher of mathematics, physics and computer science at the Richard-Wossido-Gymnasium in the city of Ribnitz-Damgarten in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, has been awarded the teacher prize of the Saarbrücken computer science in Munich. Hempel accepted the prize endowed with 2,500 euros at the 109th Federal Congress of the "Verbandes zur Förderung des MINT-Unterricht", MNU for short.



Full house at the IT theme evening on robotic vehicles

The US multinational corporation General Motors has already announced the first self-driving car for the coming year; Saarland's scientists are also researching this new vehicle type. Hence, "Autonomous driving in the region and beyond" was the title of the IT theme evening, which attracted more than 60 people on March 15 to the visualization center of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI).



Data Science with scientific expertise: IT Incubator supports Saarbrücken start-up

Expertise in data science is in demand in every industry now. To hold their own against competitors, companies need to draw the right conclusions from their digital data and evaluate them carefully. Four renowned informatics experts from Saarland University want to support such companies. Hence they are in the process of founding the consulting company “D:AI:MOND”. In their “Data Science Consulting” service they want to incorporate the latest research findings in order to provide more evidence-based advice to their customers. Now, the IT Incubator of Saarland University and the Max Planck Society is supporting their idea.



On the way to the product: InFit launches third round of blood testing



Computer scientists and materials researchers collaborate to optimize steel classification process

Steel is used to build cars, wind turbines and bridges and there are currently about 5000 different types of steel available on the market. But how can steel producers guarantee that a particular steel will always exhibit the same high quality? Up until now experienced experts analyzed material samples under the microscope and carefully compared the results against reference images. But classifying materials in this way is not free from errors. Using machine learning techniques, computer scientists and materials scientists in Saarbrücken have now developed a method that is much more accurate and objective than conventional quality control procedures. Their results have just been published in Scientific Reports, the open-access mega-journal associated with the highly respected scientific journal Nature.



Opinion: “Digital disempowerment on and off the road”

Driving bans on German roads, the worst-case scenario for owners of diesel cars, may come, according to German jurisdiction. This is despite the fact that experts agree that a diesel engine can be operated in a more environmentally friendly way than a gasoline engine. For this, the right components need to be on board, i.e. the hardware for exhaust gas recirculation and exhaust after-treatment. And these components have to be orchestrated so that the diesel does not stifle us. This is achieved by software; at least it can be achieved by software. The core of the problem, however, is the question of whether the software does so.



Molecular fitness test: Start-up of IT Incubator presents at the "Gründer-Stammtisch"

Artur Suleymanov, software engineer at "InFit - your molecular fitness company", presented the latest developments of the newly founded start-up supported by the IT Incubator.



3D Photography with Standard Cameras: Start-up develops special lens for photography and film

Until now, photographers and filmmakers had to use special equipment if they wanted to change the focus area in post-processing or reproduce an object three-dimensionally. The start-up K-Lens has now developed a special lens that can turn any standard camera into a 3D camera. What began as a research project of the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and Saarland University, and was developed further with the help of the IT Inkubator, is expected to become available as a commercial product starting in 2019. 



First Pitch Competition of SWSaar and SWLuxembourg winning teams

The six winning teams of Startup Weekend Luxembourg and Startup Weekend Saar met in the Center for Bioinformatics at Saarland University to compete against each other within a pitch competition.



CISPA – Helmholtz Center i.G. officially opened

Last week, the CISPA Helmholtz Center i.G. in Saarbrücken was officially opened. It will transform into the new "Helmholtz Center for Information Security CISPA", located in the city forest of Saarbrücken.



Journalist Prize for Informatics 2017 goes to Stern, Bayerischer Rundfunk and Arte

State Secretary Jürgen Lennartz awarded the Saarland State Chancellery-sponsored Journalist Prize for Informatics. The main prizes in the print, radio, and television categories went to the reporter Florian Güßgen for a report in the weekly magazine “Stern,” to the editor Alexandra Distler for a radio report on the Bayerischer Rundfunk and to the director Jan Tenhaven for a documentary on Arte. The awards each include €5,000 in prize money. This is the eleventh such award ceremony to take place in Saarbrücken.



Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent

In the analysis of the human genome, one question researchers have so far left unanswered is how to differentiate the variants of a gene inherited from the mother and father. Such information would increase the likelihood of treating certain diseases successfully. The so-called third generation of sequencing technologies is now making this possible. One of the most important tools for solving this complex puzzle is special software developed by scientists at the Center for Bioinformatics at Saarland University. The renowned journal “Nature Communications” has reported twice on their research.



Professor Philipp Slusallek inducted into prestigious scientific academy

Philipp Slusallek, Professor of Computer Graphics at Saarland University, has been elected as a full member of the German National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech). In the academy, he will advise representatives from politics and business on future issues of computer graphics and artificial intelligence. The academy admits researchers on the basis of their outstanding scientific achievements. The scientists – currently around 500 – advise representatives from politics and business on future issues from the world of technology.



Christian Theobalt awarded Karl Heinz Beckurts-Preis 2017

One of Germany's most prestigious awards for basic research with high practical relevance goes to Professor Dr. Christian Theobalt. The computer scientist receives the Beckurts Prize 2017 for his trend-setting insights and developments to efficiently capture human movements, poses, gestures, and facial expressions from videos and transfer them into 3D models. His methods are characterized by the fact that he does not use markers on clothing or bodies to capture people in real environments in real time, sometimes even with just one camera. The methods allow for new applications, including virtual and augmented reality, telepresence, and motion analysis in sports and medicine.



ERC Consolidator Grant for MMCI investigator

Currently, it takes a great deal of effort to transfer real scenes into virtual three-dimensional worlds. The Saarbrücken computer science professor Christian Theobalt hopes to simplify and considerably accelerate this process. With the help of just one camera, in the future computers should be able to independently develop computational methods and continually optimize them in order to capture scenes realistically, both spatially and temporally. For this, Theobalt has now been awarded a two million euro “ERC Consolidator Grant” from the European Union’s Research Council. Thus, he is honored by the ERC for the second time, having already won an ERC Starting Grant in 2013. His research will benefit not only autonomous systems and robots, but also virtual and augmented reality applications, medicine and engineering.



Saarbrücken computer scientists internationally recognized for ca. 20-year-old research

Since the beginnings of informatics, computer scientists have also brought the art of deduction to computers, so that they can support humans in thinking and even prove statements that can be formulated mathematically. Hence, researchers delve into mathematical logic and develop formal systems, based on and evaluated by deductive principles. For their nearly 20-year-old research, three Saarbrücken computer scientists have now received the internationally renowned Thoralf Skolem Award.



Mobile on-body devices can be precisely and discreetly controlled using a tiny sensor

The Saarbrücken researchers’ prototypes can be controlled precisely and discreetly using minimal movements.

Mobile end-user devices, such as the new version of the “Apple Watch”, have a drawback: their small screen size makes them difficult to use. Computer scientists at Saarland University have now developed an alternative, which they call “DeformWear”. A tiny switch, no larger than the head of a pin, is built into a ring for example, and worn on the body. It can be moved in all directions, pressed, pinched, and pushed toward the right, left, up, and down.



New teaching concept: Machine learning expertise for students and industry

Machine learning helps computers to recognize traffic signs, translate texts into other languages, and understand the spoken word. The complex computation methods can also be used in physics, chemistry, medicine, and materials science. Saarbrücken computer scientists now want to convey the fine points of machine learning to non-specialist students as well as industry employees. For this new training concept, Saarland University is now being supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). 



DISTRO: Saarbrücken researchers create digital objects from incomplete 3D data

Using special cameras, it is now possible to capture real objects digitally. Nonetheless, they run into trouble if for example some parts are hidden by others. Computer scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, together with colleagues from the US semiconductor manufacturer Intel and the Intel Visual Computing Institute at Saarland University, have developed a method that can reconstruct a digital object even from incomplete images. 



IAA 2017: Scientists at Saarland University prevent hacker attacks on cars

Today, many cars are offering a digital gateway which hackers can misuse. Scientists at the Competence Center for IT Security at Saarland University (CISPA) and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence have therefore developed a technology that can prevent such attacks. With the freely available software "vatiCAN" car manufacturers can retrofit their programs. The new technology is presented at the International Motor Exhibition (IAA) in Frankfurt am Main (Saarland Stand, Hall 4.0, Stand A26).



IAA 2017: Saarbrücken researchers show that speech information is more distracting for elderly drivers

The navigation system announces a detour, radio programs are selected by voice command: For many, in-car voice control is an everyday occurrence. Companies also have seniors in mind as customers. In research, however, it has been unclear whether complex language information distracts seniors from a second activity any more than it does younger people. Scientists from Saarbrücken have now examined this question for what may well be the most dangerous scenario, steering a vehicle. They will be presenting their results at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt am Main from the 14th to the 24th of September (at the Saarland stand, Hall 4.0, Stand A26).



Source code of award-winning knowledge base is now available for everyone

On the internet almost every word has more than one meaning. Modern search engines solve this problem using knowledge bases containing information on films, companies, people and products. Yago was one of the first knowledge bases, developed by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken and the Télécom ParisTech in Paris. Since its development, it has been available free of charge. Last week, the researchers received an award for their work on Yago from the most important scientific journal in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Today, they are releasing Yago’s source code so that anyone can adapt and expand the knowledge base.



Novel software can recognize eye contact in everyday situations

Human eye contact is an important information source in the areas of outdoor advertising and marketing, assistive systems such those as in cars, or interactions between humans and robots. Nonetheless, so far, possibilities to recognize eye contact in everyday situations have been very limited. Together with a colleague from Osaka University, computer scientists of the Excellence Cluster at Saarland University and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics have now developed a method by the aid of which it is possible to detect eye contact, independent of the type and size of the target object, the position of the camera, or the environment.



Tracking Humans in 3D with Off-the-shelf Webcams

Whether it’s for computer games, motion analysis in sports, or even medical examinations, many applications require that people and their movements are captured digitally in 3D in real-time. Until now, this was possible only with expensive systems of several cameras, or by having people wear special suits. Computer scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Computer Science have now developed a system that requires only a single video camera. It can even estimate the 3D pose of a person acting in a pre-recorded video, for instance a YouTube video. Hence, it offers new applications in character control, virtual reality and ubiquitous motion capture with smartphones.



Distinguished as an "Innovator under 35": Former IRG head researches cyberattacks

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is among the prizewinners, as well as Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who made Google an international software concern. "Innovators under 35", or TR35 for short, is a global competition of the best technology talents, initiated more than ten years ago by the American magazine MIT Technology Review. The winners of the German edition of the competition now also include Christian Rossow, Professor of Computer Science at Saarland University. At the CISPA IT security research center, the 32-year-old computer scientist develops novel methods to unmask cybercriminals and provide early warning of their attacks.



Electronic tattoos: Using distinctive body locations to control mobile devices intuitively

Computer scientists from Saarland University and the US company Google are giving wrinkles, knuckles and birthmarks a whole new meaning. Similarly to temporary tattoos for children, the researchers are placing ultra-thin, electronic tattoos on distinctive body locations. The user can touch, squeeze or pull them, and thereby intuitively control mobile devices such as a music player, or make indicators light up.



Professor Hans-Peter Seidel Awarded the Gold Medal from Eurographics

Professor Hans-Peter Seidel, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken and spokesman for the Cluster of Excellence “Multimodal Computing and Interaction,” has been bestowed with the Eurographics Medal in Gold by the European Association for Computergraphics (Eurographics, EG).



Operating smart devices from the space on and above the back of your hand

Together with colleagues from Finland and Denmark, researchers at Saarland Informatics Campus have developed a novel input method that expands the input space to the back of the hand and the 3D space above the back of the hand wearing the watch.



CLUSTERWEEK: Digital journalism in the age of mobile devices and social media

In his talk, Paul Cheung will point out the importance of visual journalism, regarding data visualizations, graphical explainers and 360 Journalism. Dealing with virtual reality and augmented reality, he will discuss the question “What’s next?”



CLUSTERWOCHE: „Erweiterte Realität – Mehr als ein Spiel“

Im Rahmen der bundesweiten Clusterwoche veranstaltet das Exzellenzcluster MMCI in Zusammenarbeit mit lokalen Institutionen den IT-Themenabend „Erweiterte Realität – Mehr als ein Spiel“ am 26. April 2017, ab 17:30 Uhr, im Visualisierungszentrum des Deutschen Forschungszentrums für Künstliche Intelligenz (DFKI) auf dem Campus der Universität des Saarlandes.



Cebit 2017: CISPA Researchers Present Early Warning System for Mass Cyber Attacks

Caption: For science: Christian Rossow is undermining cyber-criminals' online networks

Mass attacks from the Internet are a common fear: Millions of requests in a short time span overload online services, grinding them to a standstill for hours and bringing Internet companies to their knees. The operators of the site under attack can often only react by redirecting the wave of requests, or by countering it with an exceptionally powerful server. This has to happen very quickly, however. Researchers from the Competence Center for IT Security, CISPA, at the Saarland University have developed a kind of early warning system for this purpose. Details and first results will be presented by the scientists at the computer fair Cebit in Hannover.



Cebit 2017: Jump Into Your Favorite Movie Scenes With Multi-View Video Streaming

Researching multi-view video streaming: Tobias Lange and Thorsten Herfet, Chair of the Telecommunications Lab at Saarland University.

With modern transmission technology, so much more is possible than has made it into our private living rooms so far. Multi-View Video Streaming for instance lets users move into a recorded scene and view it from different perspectives. Possible applications range from consumer electronics, computer games and virtual worlds to realistic video conferences and autonomous driving. Until now, there was no overall functioning system for this technology. Now computer scientists from Saarland University will be presenting their solution at this year’s Cebit computer fair.



Cebit 2017: Alumni of the Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science in Demand all over the World

Gilles Nies and his supervisor Holger Hermanns with the satellite whose missions they are  securing with new computational models.

Whether they are developing computational procedures for higher-quality medication, studying IT security or planning future space missions – the young scientists of the Saarland Informatics Campus at Saarland University are working on a variety of research projects. Students are supported and supervised by the Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science, which offers a well-structured graduate program for candidates pursuing a PhD. The Graduate School provides scholarships, and also allows exceptionally talented students to start working on their doctorate directly from a Bachelor's degree level onwards. For further information, visit the Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science at the Cebit computer fair at Stand E28, Hall 6. 



Cebit 2017: Computational Biologists Predict Antibiotic Resistances Using Biotech

Every year, some 25,000 people die in the European Union from antibiotic-resistant, hard to treat bacteria. Although there are diagnostic methods in place to recognize such resistances in advance, these are typically very time-consuming. Researchers from the Center for Bioinformatics at Saarland University, in cooperation with the molecular diagnostics company Curetis, are developing techniques to uncover these dangerous resistances a lot faster. Their secret weapons: a comprehensive gene database, and powerful algorithms. The researchers will be presenting their rapid test procedures, and their outlook for the future, at Stand E28 at the Cebit computer trade show in Hannover, Germany.



Cebit 2017: Saarbrücken Computer Linguists Are Developing An Intelligent System Aid For Air Traffic Controllers

With a simulated air traffic controller station, Marc Schulder and Dietrich Klakow are testing their intelligent system aid.

Human lives depend on their decisions, and psychological stress levels are high. An average radio contact takes 3.5 to 11.3 seconds, during which the air traffic controller checks in with the pilot, examines the radar screens and gives out new instructions. The current technical support systems typically lack the ability to understand and process these brief radio exchanges. Together with the German Aerospace Center (DLR), computer scientists from Saarland University have now developed a new system that listens in to these conversations and engages with the controllers. The scientists are presenting their prototype at the Cebit computer fair in Hannover, Germany (Hall 6, Stand E28).



Cebit 2017: Post-print customization of 3D Prints

Computer scientists at Saarland University enable end-users to physically customize 3D objects after they are printed.

3-D printing makes all conceivable varieties of layered, three-dimensional objects possible, a benefit appreciated by industry and private users alike. However, once an object is printed, any freedom of design is a thing of the past and the workpiece can no longer be modified. To address this restriction, computer scientists at Saarland University are working on the integration of specifically developed components at predefined points within such 3-D objects, a technique that makes alterations to the object possible even after printing. Their novel procedure is being presented at the CeBIT computer fair from March 20 to 24 in Hannover, Germany (Hall 6, Stand E28).



Ötzi the Iceman: Researchers validate the stability of genetic markers

Biomarkers are biological attributes that can give doctors or researchers clues about the health status or illnesses of a patient. Scientists are placing great hope in a new type of biomarker, so-called microRNAs. These short ribonucleic acid molecules are notable for their very high level of stability. Researchers at Saarland University, the University of Luxembourg and the Eurac Research center in Bozen have now established that such microRNAs can remain stable even after 5300 years. They have found the molecules in the well-known glacier mummy "Ötzi".



InteractiveSkin project receives prestigious grant from the EU

Smartwatches and fitness trackers show that more and more people are using wearable information technology. Therefore, Professor Jürgen Steimle and other computer scientists at Saarland University are working to develop interactive computing devices that can be worn like a second skin. In addition, users can design and tailor them as they wish. In the future the interactive skin should not only be able to control mobile end-user devices, but also support patients in the healing process. The European Research Council has now awarded Jürgen Steimle the renowned ERC Starting Grant and will sponsor his research over the next five years with about 1.5 million Euro.



Professor Kurt Mehlhorn appointed to the European Research Council’s Scientific Council

Professor Kurt Mehlhorn, founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and Professor of Algorithms and Complexity at Saarland University, will serve for the next four years on the Scientific Council of the European Research Council (ERC), as announced in an ERC press release.



Software creates lifelike animated 3D figures from animal videos

Whether it’s King Kong for Hollywood’s dream factory or monkeys in a computer game: creating digital three-dimensional animals and animating them in a lifelike way requires great effort. Often this is done by experts who work with special computer programs. Even they generally need multiple days. Now, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics have developed software that allows even laypeople to create these 3D figures in a few minutes—as long as there is a video that shows the animal in motion. The user need only mark the head, body, and limbs; all the rest is done by the software from Saarbrucken.



Professor Hans-Peter Seidel is a “Solid Modeling Pioneer”

During the Symposium on Solid and Physical Modeling in Berlin the Solid Modeling Association has awarded Professor Hans-Peter Seidel with the title “Solid Modeling Pioneer”.




International IT security competition: Saarland University provides best European team

At the IT security competition “ruCTF” in Yekaterinburg, Russia, students from Saarland University have given an impressive demonstration of their skills by attacking and defending a so-called smart home environment. Among the 150 participants, only one Russian student group did better. Hence, Saarland University was the best European team. They are coached by Christian Rossow, head of the Junior Research Group "System Security" within the Cluster of Excellence since June 2014.

head of the Junior Research Group "System Security" within the Cluster of Excellence since June 2014. - See more at:
head of the Junior Research Group "System Security" within the Cluster of Excellence since June 2014. - See more at:
Junior Research Group "System Security" within the Cluster of Excellence since June 2014. - See more at:


Professor from Saarland University receives prestigious french research award

Joachim Weickert, professor of mathematics and computer science at Saarland University, is to receive the Jean Kuntzmann Prize 2016. Jean Kuntzmann, a mathematician who died in 1992, was not only a pioneer of computer science, but he also transformed the Université Grenoble Alpes and the city of Grenoble into prestigious locations of applied mathematics and information technology. Therefore, research institutes PERSYVAL-Lab and Laboratoire Jean Kuntzmann have awarded an internationally renowned, interdisciplinary research-based mathematician and computer scientist with the Jean Kuntzmann Prize every year since 2014. Joachim Weickert is considered as one of the world's leading experts on math-based image analysis.



Cebit 2016: Android smartphone data spies exposed like bank robbers

When a bank is robbed, the loot will often contain a wad of manipulated banknotes. These will explode en route and release a colorful dye, marking the money as stolen. Researchers use a similar principle to identify spyware on smartphones. Computer scientists from the Center for IT Security, Privacy and Accountability (CISPA) have now developed a matching application for the current version of the Android smartphone operating system, allowing for a more precise monitoring of malicious apps. The researchers will present their app for the first time at the Cebit computer fair in Hannover from March 14 to 18 (Hall 6, Stand D 28).



Computer animation: models for facial expression

Computer scientists in Saarbruecken can produce realistic face models, for example for animated films, just from video recordings.

Today’s film industry no longer relies solely on the skill of actors: in the latest movies, their faces are often edited on a computer after the shoot has finished. To do so, computer animation specialists need three-dimensional models of their faces (face rigs), which until now they have created using complex measuring techniques and then manually inserted into film scenes. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and the media company Technicolor have now shown how this can be accomplished more easily and much faster. All they need is a standard video and some computing power to produce extremely detailed face models. The computer scientists have developed new methods which enable them to reconstruct surfaces from videos and then alter them on the computer.

The scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and Saarland University will present the new technology at the Cebit Computer Fair in Hannover from 14 to 18 March (Hall 6, Stand D 28).



Cebit 2016: Big Data for Text: Next-Generation Text Understanding and Analysis

News portals and social media are rich information sources, for example for predicting stock market trends. Today, numerous service providers allow for searching large text collections by feeding their search engines with descriptive keywords. Keywords tend to be highly ambiguous, though, and quickly show the limits of current search technologies. Computer scientists from Saarbrücken developed a novel text analysis technology that considerably improves searching very large text collections by means of artificial intelligence.  Beyond search, this technology also assists authors in researching and even in writing texts by automatically providing background information and suggesting links to relevant web sites.

Ambiverse, a spin-off company from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken, will be presenting this novel technology during CeBIT 2016 in Hannover from 14 to 18 March at  Saarland’s research booth.



With Boxmate malicious programs have no place left to hide

By preventing unexpected behavior changes, the “Boxmate” approach defends existing embedded systems, mobile devices, and even servers against known and as-yet unknown forms of attack.  Computer scientists from the Center for IT Security, Privacy and Accountability (CISPA) at Saarland University will present their method for the first time at the Cebit computer fair in Hannover between March 14 and 18 (Hall 6, Stand D 28).



More than just a flexible doctoral program: Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science

Whether it is developing more secure smartphones, improving medical procedures or finding new imaging methods for Hollywood, the computer science department in Saarbrücken provides a space for young scientists to tackle a broad range of research topics. The Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science supports a selected number of students on their way to a doctorate with a structured program. Particularly talented students can even pursue their goal of a PhD from a Bachelor’s degree level onwards. For further information, visit the Saarbrücken Graduate School for Computer Science at the CeBIT computer fair in Hannover between March 14 and 18 (Hall 6, Stand D 28).



Cebit 2016: Saarland University startup presents innovative visualization platform for online media

Not only private users, but also many company employees today simultaneously communicate on various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Youtube. Uvibo, a startup funded by the Saarbrücken IT Incubator, addresses this with a customized visualization platform. The newly developed software automatically rates all new posts in terms of relevance to the user, and rearranges them in an overview so that the most important contributions are immediately visible. The founders are presenting their prototype and matching business model for companies for the first time at the Cebit computer fair in Hannover from March 14 to 18 (Hall 6, Stand D 28).



MMCI Researcher belongs to „Young Elite 2015“

Professor Christian Theobalt is in charge of the group “Graphics, Vision & Video” at the Max-Planck-Institute for Informatics in Saabruecken and teaches computer sciecne at Saarland University. He was awarded as one of the top innovation leaders under 40 in Germany by the German business magazine “Capital”. He was elected into the "top 40 under 40" for his outstanding work on the boundary between computer vision and computer graphics enabling new ways for computers to see and perceive models of the real world.



“International Engineering”: Saarland University and regional companies lead refugees in engineering studies

In the morning German classes, in the afternoon “Programming for Engineers”: Saarland University and regional companies are teaming up to integrate refugees and to prepare them for engineering studies. Themed “International Engineering”, the program combines German classes with engineering lectures in English to develop and stimulate the refugees’ language and technical skills. IHK Saarland and regional companies like Dialogika, Dillinger Hütte, Saarstahl AG, Scheer GmbH and Sirrix AG plus Werner Zeh Foundation are supporting the initiative.


CISPA Researchers Support Europol in the Area of Cybercrime

The CISPA Director professor Michael Backes, Minister-President Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and the Deputy Director Operations of Europol Wil van Gemert (left to right) at the signing of the cooperation agreement in Den Haag.

Last Friday, Europol's EC3 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Center for IT-Security, Privacy and Accountability (CISPA) in order to promote cooperation in the fight against cybercrime. The MoU was signed by Ms Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Prime Minister of the German Federal State of Saarland, Europol’s Deputy Director of Operations, Wil van Gemert, and the Director of CISPA, Professor Michael Backes, during a visit to Europol’s headquarters in The Hague. Given CISPA being located in the German Federal State of Saarland, the conclusion of the MoU by the competency centre has been supported by the Government of Saarland.



Cluster of Excellence wins national innovation contest

The method “PrintScreen”, developed by scientists from the Cluster of Excellence “Multimodal Computing and Interaction” was awarded as one of the hundred best projects at the national contest “Urban Space. Rural Space. Cyberspace!”. The contest was launched by the initiative “Germany – Land of Ideas” and searched for innovative projects that deal with the challenges presented by the digital revolution. “PrintScreen” enables even laypeople to print displays on various materials. The award show will take place on the day of the Saarland University open house, July 4th. 

Further information: 



Computer Science at Saarland University presents new research projects

Detecting malicious apps on the smartphone, forecasting flu epidemics in the same way as the weather and capturing human gestures on the computer – these are novel research results, and just a few computer science projects of the many to be exhibited on the 29th of April from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. on the campus of Saarland University (Building E1.5). The fair is addressed towards entrepreneurs, industry representatives, technology scouts, investors and inventors but is also open to the interested general public. 



Cebit 2015: Mobile quarantine station for malicious android apps

Philipp von Styp-Rekowsky and his new app help inexperienced users to protect their privacy on smartphones with minimal effort. Credit: Oliver Dietze

It is turning into a widespread problem that malicious apps, designed for mobile phones with an Android operating system, compromise user data. In order to protect yourself, you need to be very familiar with your device, something that is often daunting for consumers. Computer scientists from the Saarland University have developed a new kind of application that enables even inexperienced users to protect their smartphone with minimal effort. Additionally, the software lets business users install professional profiles on employees’ private mobile devices, and facilitates the management of these employee profiles.



Cebit 2015: Saarland computer scientists present guarantees for online anonymity

When performing an online search for sensitive topics, one may wish to remain unobserved. Millions of people use the Tor network for that purpose, even though it does not provide perfect anonymity. Computer scientists from the Saarland University have now developed a program that can measure the anonymity of a user's connection within the Tor network. The scientists used real-time data from the Tor network, and examined a wide range of possible attackers (Hall 9, Booth E13).



Cebit 2015: Computer scientists from Saarland University simplify parallel programming

Modern software takes computational speed for granted. But modern microprocessors can only speed up by increasing the number of cores. To take full advantage of multiple cores, software developers have to arrange their code in such a way that it is executable in parallel – an error-prone and expensive task. Computer scientists from Saarland University have developed a tool that parallelizes the necessary code sections automatically, and also gives developers programming advice. In the long term, they are planning to extend their “Sambamba” system to automatically parallelize any given program. 



Professor Julie Berndsen from University College Dublin visits Saarland University as guest professor

Julie Berndsen is a professor at the University College Dublin

Julie Berndsen, professor at the University College Dublin, School of Computer Science and Informatics, is visiting the Phonetics Group at the Deptartment of Computational Linguistics and Phonetics and the Cluster of Excellence "Multimodal Computing and Interaction" as a guest professor until the end of April 2015. Berndsen's research group at the University College Dublin has been developing speech recognition and synthesis systems which use fine-grained linguistic information. If you are interested in her research, please approach her in the Phonetics lab in building C7.2, room 4.08.



Cebit 2015: Find out what your apps are really doing

The software from Saarland University uncovers data theft on mobile devices. Credit: Oliver Dietze

These tiny programs on Internet-connected mobile phones are increasingly becoming entryways for surveillance and fraud. Computer scientists from the center for IT-Security, Privacy and Privacy, CISPA, have developed a program that can show users whether the apps on their smartphone are accessing private information, and what they do with that data. This year, the researchers will present an improved version of their system again at the CeBIT computer fair in Hanover (Hall 9, Booth E13).



Cebit 2015: Biomechanical simulations show how using tablets and smartphones puts stress on joints and muscles

Computer scientists in Saarbrücken have developed a procedure that simulates in a lifelike manner which muscles and joints are put under particular strain when using IT devices. Foto/Credit: Oliver Dietze

Spending hours on a computer or sending lots of text messages on a mobile phone can result in a stiff neck and sometimes even a strained thumb. Computer scientists in Saarbrücken have developed a procedure that simulates in a lifelike manner which muscles and joints are put under particular strain when using IT devices. It also demonstrates the speed and accuracy with which a user can operate a device. The method developed by the researchers uses cameras to capture the motion of a test subject and then projects these movements onto a model of the human body. The technique is of potential interest to product designers and occupational physicians.



Cebit 2015: DIY Printing Custom Touch-Sensitive Displays

Computer scientists from Saarland University have developed a technique that could enable virtually anyone to print out customized displays of their own. Credit: Embodied Interaction Group

Computer scientists from Saarbrücken have developed a technique that could enable virtually anyone to print out customized displays of their own in future – in all shapes and sizes and onto various materials. A regular home printer could be used to print wafer-thin displays onto paper, so these printed displays might present custom-designed icons or even respond to touch. The researchers are presenting their award-winning approach at the computer trade show Cebit in Hanover from March 16th to March 20th. 




Cebit 2015: Flexible sensors turn skin into a touch-sensitive interaction space for mobile devices

Computer scientists have developed stickers with pressure-sensitive sensors that fit snugly to the skin. By operating the touch input stickers, users can use their own body to control mobile devices. Credit: Oliver Dietze

If a mobile phone rings during a meeting, its owner often has to dig it out before it can be muted. A more discreet method would be to decline the incoming call by pressing on one of your fingers. Computer scientists at Saarland University are studying the potential use of the human body as a touch sensitive surface for controlling mobile devices. They have developed flexible silicone rubber stickers with pressure-sensitive sensors that fit snugly to the skin. By operating these touch input stickers, users can use their own body to control mobile devices. Because of the flexible material used, the sensors can be manufactured in a variety of shapes, sizes and personalized designs. 



Cybersecurity students from Saarbrücken discover security gaps in 39,890 online databases

Kai Greshake, Eric Petryka and Jens Heyens discovered 39,890 unprotected Internet databases.

Anyone could call up or modify several million pieces of customer data online including names, addresses and e-mails. According to the Center for IT-Security, Privacy and Accountability (CISPA) in Saarbrücken, Germany, three of its students were able to show this for 40,000 online databases in both Germany and France. The cause is a misconfigured open source database upon which millions of online stores and platforms from all over the world base their services. If the operators blindly stick to the defaults in the installation process and do not consider crucial details, the data is available online, completely unprotected. CISPA has already contacted the vendor and data protection authorities. 



Vom Flugdinosaurier zum Vogel: Software verbessert das Erstellen von Stammbäumen

Marc Hellmuth und seine Forscherkollegen haben ein Verfahren entwickelt, mit dem sie genauere Stammbäume erstellen können. Foto: Saar-Uni

Ob Dinosaurier oder Eintagsfliegen – die Evolution hat im Laufe von Jahrmillionen viele Lebewesen hervorgebracht. Um zu untersuchen, in welchem verwandtschaftlichen Verhältnis sie zueinander stehen, erstellen Forscher Stammbäume. Bioinformatiker aus Saarbrücken, Leipzig und Marburg haben nun ein Rechenverfahren entwickelt, das hierfür deutlich mehr Daten heranzieht, als dies bislang der Fall war. Die Methode zeigt exaktere Verwandtschaftsverhältnisse zwischen den Arten auf. Die Forschungsarbeit wurde in der renommierten Fachzeitschrift „Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences“ veröffentlicht.



Saarbrücker Max-Planck Direktor Thomas Lengauer erhält Hector Wissenschaftspreis

Thomas Lengauer ist Direktor am Max-Planck-Institut für Informatik in Saarbrücken sowie Honorarprofessor an der Universität des Saarlandes und der Universität Bonn.

Thomas Lengauer, Direktor am Max-Planck-Institut für Informatik in Saarbrücken, ist mit dem Hector Wissen¬schafts¬preis ausgezeichnet worden. Die Hector Stiftung II würdigt damit seine Leistungen auf dem Gebiet der Bioinformatik und sein Engagement in der Hochschullehre. Der Preis wird jährlich an herausragende Forscher deutscher Universitäten vergeben und ist mit je 150.000 Euro dotiert. 



Professor der Saar-Uni ist jüngstes Mitglied der Deutschen Akademie der Technikwissenschaften

Michael Backes, Professor für Informationssicherheit und Kryptographie an der Universität des Saarlandes, wurde vor kurzem als ordentliches Mitglied in die Deutsche Akademie der Technikwissenschaften (acatech) gewählt. Backes ist damit das jüngste Mitglied der Akademie, die Forscher aufgrund ihrer herausragenden wissenschaftlichen Leistungen aufnimmt. In der Akademie wird er Vertreter aus Politik und Wirtschaft über zukünftige Fragestellungen der IT-Sicherheit beraten.



Computer scientists from Saarland University improve the privacy of the Internet currency Bitcoin

It is traded on special stock exchanges and is accepted not only by various online shops, but also by thousands of brick-and-mortar stores across the globe: the virtual currency Bitcoin. The users benefit from its advantages: Since it does not require a central bank, the transactions can be concluded more quickly and with reduced charges. Moreover, many Bitcoin users appreciate more anonymity while paying. Nevertheless, its popularity is also resulting in thefts with increasing frequency. Computer scientists in Saarbrücken have now presented an approach that enhances anonymity and can be applied without long waits.



Saar-Uni bildet internationale Informatik-Studenten zu Sicherheitsexperten aus

Sie spüren Sicherheitsprobleme im Internet auf und können Hackerangriffe abwehren – die Studenten des Masterstudiengangs Security and Privacy. Das Konsortium „EIT ICT Labs“ des Europäischen Innovations- und Technologieinstituts hat diesen Studiengang ins Leben gerufen. Daran beteiligt ist auch das Center for IT-Security, Privacy and Accountability (CISPA) der Universität des Saarlandes. Während vier Semestern lernen die Studenten an zwei europäischen Hochschulen wichtige Grundlagen der Cybersicherheit kennen. Derzeit suchen die Masterstudenten in Saarbrücken Projekte für ihre Abschlussarbeiten. Neben Forschungsinstituten kommen auch Unternehmen dafür in Frage. Die Studenten können für diese zum Beispiel ein passendes Sicherheitskonzept entwerfen.



Studenten-Serie mit Apple-Gründer über IT-Sicherheit gewinnt ersten Preis im bundesweiten Wettbewerb

nformatiker der Universität des Saarlandes haben mit ihrer Online-Serie "Dr. Security" den ersten Platz im Hochschulwettbewerb 2014 belegt. Im Bild: Gordon Bolduan und Stefan Nürnberger (rechts)

Die von Doktoranden und Studenten produzierte Serie will auf Sicherheitsrisiken des digitalen Alltags aufmerksam machen und diese auch erklären. Dafür konnten die Informatiker der Universität des Saarlandes sogar Apple-Gründer Steve Wozniak gewinnen. Die Jury des Hochschulwettbewerbs 2014 „Mehr als Bits und Bytes – Nachwuchswissenschaftler kommunizieren ihre Arbeit“ hat das Projekt nun als beste Umsetzung mit dem ersten Preis ausgezeichnet. Damit setzte es sich gegen 14 weitere Projekte durch. Johanna Wanka, Bundesministerin für Bildung und Forschung, gratulierte den beiden Preisträgern persönlich. Das Projekt war zuvor im Rahmen des Hochschulwettbewerbs 2014 „Mehr als Bits & Bytes – Nachwuchswissenschaftler kommunizieren ihre Arbeit“ mit einem Preisgeld von 10.000 Euro zur Umsetzung prämiert worden.



Apple-Gründer Steve Wozniak tritt in Saarbrücker Studenten-Serie zu IT-Sicherheit auf

Das Team von Dr. Security während den Dreharbeiten
Informatiker der Universität des Saarlandes wagen sich an ein für sie ungewohntes Genre heran. Sie produzieren eine Videoserie, die unterhält und dabei über Datenschutz und Sicherheitslücken informiert. Die erste Folge von „Dr. Security“ haben sie nun im Internet veröffentlicht. In der zweiten Episode feiert mit Steve Wozniak eine international bekannte Technologie-Größe ihren Auftritt. Wozniak hat das US-amerikanische Unternehmen Apple mitgegründet. Das Projekt wurde im Rahmen des Hochschulwettbewerbs 2014 „Mehr als Bits & Bytes – Nachwuchswissenschaftler kommunizieren ihre Arbeit“ mit einem Preisgeld von 10.000 Euro zur Umsetzung prämiert. 


Printing in the hobby room: paper- thin and touch-sensitive displays on various materials

Until now, if you want to print a greeting card for a loved one, you can use colorful graphics, fancy typefaces or special paper to enhance it. But what if you could integrate paper-thin displays into the cards, which could be printed at home and which would be able to depict self-created symbols or even react to touch? Those only some of the options computer scientists in Saarbrücken can offer. They developed an approach that in the future will enable laypeople to print displays in any desired shape on various materials and therefore could change everyday life completely.


Database Cracking: Saarbrücker Informatiker verbessern aktuelle Datenbank-Technologie

Datenbanken sind Systeme, mit denen sich Datenmengen durchsuchen, abspeichern und aufrufen lassen. In der heutigen Arbeitswelt sind sie eines der wichtigsten Werkzeuge. Damit sie in Datenbeständen in kürzester Zeit die gewünschten Datensätze finden, brüten Informatiker weltweit an Strategien, um die Suchgeschwindigkeit zu beschleunigen. Saarbrücker Informatiker haben dazu den neuen Ansatz des Database Cracking systematisch überprüft und Vorschläge zur Verbesserung gemacht. Ihre Studie wurde nun auf der international bedeutenden Konferenz „Very Large Data Bases“ im chinesischen Hangzhou ausgezeichnet.



Angriff auf illegales Computernetz: FBI zeichnet Informatiker der Universität des Saarlandes aus

Das Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) verlieh einem Wissenschaftler der Saar-Uni einen Preis für seine Expertise und seinen Einsatz, mit denen er das FBI im Kampf gegen Botnetze unterstützte.

Eine Bande von Cyberkriminellen hatte über Jahre hinweg bis zu einer Million Rechner manipuliert. Diese durchforsteten sie nicht nur nach Finanz- und Privatdaten, sondern schlossen sie auch zu einem Netzwerk zusammen, mit dem sie Unternehmen erpressten und Spam verbreiteten. Dieses Netzwerk war technologisch so fortschrittlich, dass der US-Inlandsgeheimdienst FBI, Europol und die britische National Crime Agency eine Handvoll von Wissenschaftlern um Hilfe baten. Diese forschten mehrere Monate an einem Angriff. Ende Mai fochten sie ihn über zwei Wochen hinweg aus. Für seine Expertise und seinen Einsatz hat das FBI nun einen Informatiker der Universität des Saarlandes ausgezeichnet.



Humboldt research awardee wants to push the boundaries of photography

His research ensures that TVs consume less energy but still display the play of light in a realistic way. Photographers are using his results to advance the boundaries of photography. By his aid, physicians can use computer tomography screens to detect bone fractures and tumors faster than before. In April, Professor Wolfgang Heidrich was honored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for his work. The award comes along with a prize of 60,000€ and a research stay in Germany. Heidrich chose the Max-Planck Institute for Informatics and the Cluster of Excellence on “Multimodal Computing and Interaction”, both located on campus at Saarland University in Germany.



Ausgezeichnete Bewegungsanalyse in Videos

Vor zehn Jahren haben Forscher um Joachim Weickert, Professor für Mathematik und Informatik an der Saar-Uni, ein Verfahren entwickelt, mit dem Computer Bewegungen in Videos doppelt so genau erkennen wie mit den besten bis dahin vorhandenen Ansätzen. Ihre Methode hat die Forschung in der computergestützten Bewegungsanalyse grundlegend beeinflusst. Auf der „European Conference on Computer Vision“ in Zürich wurden die Wissenschaftler nun für ihre Arbeit mit dem renommierten „Jan Koenderink Prize for Fundamental Contributions in Computer Vision“ ausgezeichnet. Der Ansatz der Saarbrücker Forscher ist in viele Anwendungen eingeflossen, etwa in Fahrerassistenzsysteme oder Diagnosetechniken in der Medizin.



Avatars make the Internet sign to deaf people

It is challenging for deaf people to learn a sound-based language, since they are physically not able to hear those sounds. Hence, most of them struggle with written language as well as with text reading and comprehension. Therefore, most website content remains inaccessible for them. Computer scientists from Saarbrücken, Germany, want to change the situation by means of a method they developed: animated online characters display content in sign language. In the long term, deaf people would be able to use the technique to communicate on online platforms via sign language. To realize the technique, users would only need readily available devices.



Journalistenpreis Informatik wieder ausgeschrieben

Ob das andauernde Abgreifen von Daten im Netz oder das Löschen von Suchanfragen bei Google – bei Themen wie diesen ist es wichtig, die breite Öffentlichkeit kompetent über die aktuelle Informationstechnologie aufzuklären. Daher prämiert der Journalistenpreis Informatik deutsche Medienbeiträge, die dies leisten, mit jeweils 5.000 Euro in den Kategorien Print, Radio und Fernsehen. Die saarländische Staatskanzlei und das Kompetenzzentrum Informatik Saarland schreiben den Journalistenpreis nun erneut aus.



Realistic computer graphics: Technology from Germany makes it to Walt Disney in minimal time

Creating a realistic computer simulation of how light suffuses a room is crucial not just for animated movies like “Toy Story” or “Cars”. Special computing methods should ensure this, but they require great effort. Computer scientists from Saarbrücken have now developed a novel approach that turned out to be so promising, that it was adopted by companies in record time — among others by Pixar, well-known in the movie industry for its computer animation, and now a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company.



Universität des Saarlandes startet Studiengang "Cybersicherheit" ab kommendem Wintersemester

Über die US-amerikanischen Überwachungsprogramme dringen immer mehr Details an die Öffentlichkeit. Doch nicht nur Geheimdienste, auch Unternehmen und Kriminelle betreiben Datenspionage. Wie man die eigenen Daten vor solchen Angriffen schützen kann, können Abiturienten ab Oktober im neuen Bachelor-Studiengang „Cybersicherheit“ an der Universität des Saarlandes studieren. Direkt vom ersten Vorlesungstag an erforschen die Studenten selbst die digitalen Bedrohungen im weltweiten Netz. Auf diese Weise lernen sie die notwendigen Fähigkeiten für den Ernstfall, verbunden mit einer soliden wissenschaftlichen Ausbildung. Ab August können sich Studieninteressierte einschreiben.




Computational biologists from Saarbrücken simplify diagnosis for hereditary diseases

In the case of a cough or a sore throat, the doctor can usually diagnose a common cold immediately. However, the diagnosis of hereditary illnesses like cystic fibrosis, which affects the metabolism, or Huntington’s disease, which leads to cognitive decline, is much more complex. A patient may suffer from a multitude of symptoms, pointing to several different diseases. This can now be remediated using a program developed by computational biology experts from Saarbrücken, which is now also available as an app. With the aid of this application, physicians can discover patients’ afflictions quickly and without great research effort. The computing method that the program is based on compares different patterns of hereditary diseases from an extensive online database and weights them by their likelihood.



Code review: Groundbreaking work on data mining version histories

Making changes within a complex software system is often error-prone – even the smallest mistake can endanger the entire system. Ten years ago, computer scientists from Saarbrücken around Professor Andreas Zeller developed a technique that automatically issues suggestions on how to manage changes in software, based on the program’s version history. Their work was now named the most influential contribution of the last ten years at the „International Conference on Software Engineering“.



Expert for Cybercrime leads new research group „System Security“ at MMCI

Christian Rossow spawned the Independent Research Group "System Security" within the Cluster of Excellence in June 2014.

Since a few days Christian Rossow is head of the independent research group „System Security“ at the Cluster of Excellence on Multimodal Computing and Interaction (MMCI).  The group explores essential aspects of system security, such as developing techniques to identify and analyze malware or to disrupt so called botnets. 



Forscher des Exzellenzclusters unterstützen Journalisten auf Schloss Dagstuhl

Schloss Dagstuhl in Wadern

Einen in Deutschland einzigartigen Workshop bietet die Saarbrücker Informatik vom 25. bis 28. Mai 2014 auf Schloss Dagstuhl, dem Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik. „Schreiben über Informatik“ richtet sich an junge Journalisten und an Redakteure, die ihren Themenschwerpunkt erweitern wollen. Der Clou: Die Teilnehmer schreiben über Forschungsprojekte, die ihnen Wissenschaftler vor Ort vorstellen. Die finalen Texte werden dann gemeinsam mit Trainern und Forschern besprochen.



Saarbrücken regarded as the best location for research on human-computer interaction

human computer interaction saarbrücken

This week the 2014 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems was held  held in Toronto, Canada. It is considered the premier international conference on human-computer interaction. Computer scientists from Saarbrücken presented 13 research projects. According to a conference ranking, this makes Saarbrücken the most successful German location for research on human-computer interaction.



Realistic shadows for digital worlds: Computer scientist from Cluster of Excellence honored with European research award

In computer games like Tomb Raider a player has to explore caves and search temples for precious antiques. But the fun at the computer is gone if light and shadow are not realistic in such virtual rooms and if the graphical display is too slow. A Saarbrücken computer scientist has solved both problems with his methods — even though he is only 35. Tobias Ritschel was honored at the Eurographics conference in Strasbourg with the most important computer graphics award in Europe.



Cebit 2014: Collecting digital user data without invading privacy

The statistical evaluation of digital user data is of vital importance for analyzing trends. But it can also undermine the privacy. Computer scientists from Saarbrücken have now developed a novel cryptographic method that makes it possible to collect data and protect the privacy of the user at the same time. They present their approach for the first time at the computer expo Cebit in Hannover at the Saarland University research booth (hall 9, booth E13).



Cebit 2014: The Chancellor of Germany or the soccer coach? Software maps ambiguous names in texts to the right person

Computer scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken have developed software that resolves the ambiguity of names within texts automatically. This mapping between mentions and actual entities like persons not only improves search engines, but also makes it possible to analyze huge amounts of text efficiently. The researchers will present their program for the first time at the computer expo Cebit at the research booth of Saarland University (hall 9, booth E13).



Cebit 2014: Talking in 3D: Discussing and administrating complex construction models via a web browser

There is a lack of software enabling it to track and visualize the progress on three-dimensional models. Computer scientists from Saarbruecken are presenting a new technique to document changes in 3D models that can be displayed in web browsers on all kinds of devices. They will demonstrate their software for the first time at the computer fair Cebit in Hannover between the 10th and the 14th of March (Hall 9, booth E13).



Cebit 2014: Computer arranges pictures based on their artistic aspects

Until now, it has been a time-consuming process for a program to arrange pictures in a consistent order. It is even more complex to order them on the basis of visual characteristics. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken have developed a system to arrange pictures into a consistent order. It requires no more than a small number of pre-sorted example pictures. Operators of online portals or museums could use this technique, for example, to arrange complex datasets. The computer scientists show their system at the computer expo Cebit from the 10th until the 14th of March in Hanover (hall 9, booth E13).



Printed Electronics: A Multi-Touch Sensor Customizable with Scissors

If a pair of trousers is too long, it is cut shorter. A board that does not fit into a bookcase is sawed to the right length. People often customize the size and shape of materials like textiles and wood without turning to specialists like tailors or carpenters. In the future this should be possible with electronics, according to the vision of computer scientists from Saarbrücken. Together with researchers from the MIT Media Lab, they developed a printable multi-touch sensor whose shape and size everybody can alter. A new circuit layout makes it robust against cuts, damage, and removed areas.



Computer program lets users learn keyboard shortcuts with minimal effort

A computer scientist from Saarbrucken has developed a software which assists users in identifying and learning shortcuts so that they can become as fast as expert users. This new interface mechanism is easy to integrate in programs using a toolbar, a menu or ribbons as a graphical user interface.



Moveable displays made of paper

With Flexpad, flexible materials become input devices and displays.

Recently at the 2013 IFA international trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances in Berlin, major electronics manufacturers displayed new types of displays that are thin, and even curved, but expensive. IT experts in Saarbrücken have gone a step further. Their more cost-effective approach, called Flexpad, allows a simple, standard sheet of paper to be transformed into a moveable, flexible display. Already today, this could help patients better review the results of a computer tomography, for example. In the long term, the IT experts want to discover what new applications are viable in future for ultra-thin, deformable, mobile end devices, and how they can best be operated.



Mining for meaning: Getting computers to understand natural language texts

Programs that can understand language and can identify meaningful links between the various parts of a text is the focus of work being carried out in Saarbrücken by researchers like Ivan Titov. The computer scientist is currently developing a procedure that will enable computers to learn to identify semantically relevant relationships within texts. This research could mean that in future we will be able to ask our computer specific questions about the content of a text. The computer would then analyse the text and supply the user with the right answers. Software giant Google has awarded the Saarbrücken computer scientist its Google Focused Research Award worth US$ 140,000.



Digitalizing reality: Computer Scientist from Saarbrücken receives highly endowed, prestigious EU research grant

Humans are able to capture their environment very accurately in a split second; they recognize motions and interpret them. To enable computers to do the same at high accuracy, it is necessary to review important foundations of computer graphics and computer vision. That is the approach of Christian Theobalt, head of a Max Planck research group and professor of computer science at Saarland University. In support of this effort, the European Union has awarded him with an ERC Starting Grant and 1.48 million Euro.



Computer scientists from Saarbrücken prevent data theft on smartphones and tablet computers

Some mobile applications on web-enabled mobile phones and tablet computers spy on personal data. Computer scientists from Saarbrücken prevent this through a new approach. Its chief attraction: For the protection to work, it is not necessary to identify the suspicious programs in advance, nor must the operating system be changed. Instead, the freely available app attacks the program code of the digital spies. The researchers present the app at Cebit 2013 in Hanover (Hall 9, booth F34).



Movie heroes are soon to be transferred to virtual worlds more easily and realistically

Hollywood devotes great effort to chasing monsters through realistic-looking environments. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken have now developed a technology that greatly simplifies the production of such scenes. Actors' movements are captured with a few cameras in a real scene and then transferred extremely realistically to virtual characters. This will not only simplify the work of cartoon makers, but also assist doctors and sportsmen with motion analysis. The new technology will soon be marketed by a newly-established business and presented at the computer trade show CeBIT in Hanover from March 5 to March 9 in Hall 9, Stand F34.



Automatic test procedures for apps on smart phones and tablets

For many so-called apps, developers and companies have not adequately ensured that the mini-programs are actually working the way they should. Therefore, computer scientists at Saarland University developed software which tests apps for the Android operating system automatically. From March 5th at the computer expo Cebit in Hannover, the researchers will present how they discover failures even in popular and widespread apps by using their method. A robot arm will click itself through arbitrary apps to find their failures (hall 9, booth F34).



Big data: Searching in large amounts of data quickly and efficiently

Not only scientific institutes but also companies harvest an amazing amount of data. Traditional database management systems are often unable to cope with this. Suitable tools are lacking in information retrieval on big data. Computer scientists from Saarbrücken have developed an approach which enables searching large amounts of data in a fast and efficient way. The researchers will show their results at the trade fair Cebit in Hannover starting on 5 March (Hall 9, booth F34).     



Automated Testing of Complex Web 2.0 Applications Prevents Security Vulnerabilities and Malfunctions

So far there are no methods to test complex web 2.0 applications systematically and at low cost for malfunctions and security vulnerabilities. Therefore, computer scientists from Saarland University have developed a software system for checking complex web applications autonomously. They will show their technology on 5 March at the computer fair Cebit. (Hall 9, booth F34). As of today the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology is supporting the researchers in their effort to commercialize the technology by founding a spin-off.



Creating your own Animated 3D Characters and Scenes for the Web

To show spatial animations on websites, developers so far have had only two options: to use special software or to implement it from scratch. Computer scientists at Saarland University have developed a declarative markup language which facilitates the creation of distinct spatial animations and ensures their smooth replay in the web browser. The researchers will show their results at the trade fair Cebit in Hannover starting on 5 March (Hall 9, booth F34).     



Capturing movements of actors and athletes in real time with conventional video cameras

Within milliseconds, and just with the help of mathematics, computing power and conventional video cameras, computer scientists at the Max-Planck-Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken can automatically capture the movements of several people. The new approach helps not only animation specialists in Hollywood movies but also medical scientists and athletes.



German Computer Scientists Join Forces to Make Interactive 3D Graphics Part of the World Wide Web

Philipp Slusallek, Professor of Computer Graphics at Saarland University and Principal Investigator at the Cluster of Excellence

Interactive 3D graphics are not available on the World Wide Web even though almost all PCs as well as mobile and embedded devices already contain high-performance 3D graphics hardware to process it. Now, computer scientists from the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence and Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research are joining forces to change that. Together, they are working to describe computer scenes in spatial detail directly within the websites’ code.



Principal Investigator of the Cluster of Excellence Computer wins European Research Award

The European Research Council awarded an “ERC Starting Grant” to computer science professor Matthias Hein from Saarland University in Germany. In the next five years Hein will receive 1.27 million euros in research funds to develop new mathematical models for data analysis of complex data volumes.



New approach uncovers data abuse on mobile end devices

Increasingly often, mobile applications on web-enabled mobile phones and tablet computers do more than they appear to. In secrecy, the “apps” forward private data to a third party. Computer scientists from Saarbrücken have developed a new approach to prevent this data abuse. They can put a stop to the data theft through the app “SRT AppGuard”. The chief attraction: For the protection to work, it is not necessary to identify the suspicious programs in advance, nor must the operating system be changed. Instead, the freely available app attacks the program code of the digital spies.



Renewed success for Saarland University: Computer science receives millions of euros in research funding

With the award of a five-year extension in funding for its Cluster of Excellence “Multimodal Computing and Interaction”, Saarland University has chalked up another major success as part of the second phase of the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments. The Saarbrücken Graduate School for Computer Science will also receive continued financial support from the German Research Foundation (DFG). The decision is expected to bring in around 45 million euros in research funding to the region, offering work opportunities for large numbers of highly qualified scientists. In addition to Saarland University, other institutions participating in the Cluster of Excellence and the Graduate School are the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems and the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence. One of the key areas of research for Saarbrücken’s computer scientists is concerned with computer systems capable of communicating naturally with users.



Computerlinguistin hat Supercomputer Watson beim Quizlösen geholfen

Die Saarbrücker Nachwuchswissenschaftlerin Annemarie Friedrich hat im vergangenen Jahr im Rahmen ihrer Masterarbeit bei IBM in New York am Projekt „Watson“ mitgearbeitet. Der Supercomputer Watson hat im letzten Jahr für Schlagzeilen gesorgt, da es ihm gelungen ist, in der amerikanischen Quizshow Jeopardy! die beiden besten menschlichen Konkurrenten zu schlagen. Friedrich forscht im Exzellenzcluster „Multimodal Computing and Interaction“ der Universität des Saarlandes und promoviert derzeit bei Computerlinguistik-Professor Manfred Pinkal. Jetzt erhält Friedrich vom IT-Unternehmen IBM den „IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Award“.



Why Rumors spread fast in Social Networks

Information spread fast in social networks. This could be observed during recent demonstrations in the Arab world. Now computer scientists from the German Saarland University provide the mathematical proof for it and come up with a surprising explanation.



Scientific coordinator of the Cluster of Excellence receives most prestigious research award for computer graphics in Europe

Professor Hans-Peter Seidel

Eurographics, the European Association for Computer Graphics, awards the Distinguished Career Award for outstanding contributions to many areas of computer graphics every second year.  This year the award goes to Professor Hans-Peter Seidel, head of the Computer Graphics department at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and scientific coordinator of the Cluster of Excellence on Multimodal Computing and Interaction. The Eurographics Distinguished Career Award honors not only his scientific contributions, but also his commitment to educate and support excellent academic teachers in Europe. The award is considered to be the most prestigious one in the field of computer graphics on the European level. Seidel is the first German scientist to receive it.



Cebit 2012: Hollywood-style 3D animations for everyone

3D movies like “Toy Story“ or “Transformers” are based on everyday objects that are able move like humans. The creation of such 3D characters is done by skilled artists in tedious manual work. Computer scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics have developed two computer programs that can accomplish this in mere seconds and are easy to be handled even by amateur users. The researches present their unique software for the first time at F34 in Hall 26 at the Cebit from March 6th to 10th.



Cebit 2012: Supporting early diagnosis of diseases through algorithms for the analysis of human respiration

Just like urine and blood, breath contains traces of the products of metabolism. Such products can also be signs of infection, inflammation or cancer. For their analysis, computational bioinformatics researchers at the Cluster of Excellence “Multimodal Computing and Interaction” at Saarland University developed special computer algorithms that can help doctors to make diagnoses quickly and reliably. The researchers will be giving a practical demonstration at Booth 34 in Pavilion 26 at Cebit. The computer fair takes place in Hanover from March 6 to 10.



Cebit 2012: Internet service prevents cable tangle in presentations at conferences and trade shows

To connect a laptop to an additional monitor, projector or even to a monitor wall, a special cable was required, until now. Researchers of the Saarland University's Intel Visual Computing Institute overcome this obstacle by linking computer and monitor via an 'Internet Service'. By this means, a screen's contents can be shifted freely to any terminal's display and even shown on large-scale monitor walls. The Saarland University's scientists present their results for the first time at stand F34, in hall 26 at the computer fair Cebit. The trade show takes place in Hannover from March 6 to 10.



Computer Science Professor Andreas Zeller receives Europe’s most prestigious research award

Andreas Zeller will explore the underlying principles of large software systems (Iris Maurer)

Andreas Zeller, professor for software engineering at Saarland University in Germany has obtained an ERC Advanced Grant, the highest research award of the European Union. The funding will comprise of up to 2.3 million EUR over the next five years. With this award, computer scientist Andreas Zeller will explore the underlying principles of large software systems – knowledge that will be used to automatically validate and verify critical computer systems in banking, social networks, or aviation.



Reaching 99.999999999997 percent safety: Saarland computer scientists present their concept for a wireless bicycle brake

Computer scientists at Saarland University developed a wireless bicycle brake and demonstrated its efficiency on a so-called cruiser bike. Furthermore, they confirmed the brake system’s reliability through mathematical calculations that are also used in control systems for aircraft or chemical factories.



Visionary software combines different database systems

Whoever orders books on the Internet, withdraws money from a cash machine or uses a navigation system to arrive at a destination is (usually without realizing it) using companies’ very large databases. These are accessed and managed by computer programs which - depending on the type of application or search request – work quite differently. Saarbrucken computer scientists have recently developed a concept for a database system that automatically adapts to different requirements and thus combines features of previously different systems. In order to implement this idea in future industrial practice, the Saarbrucken scientists are being sponsored by the ‘Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF’ (Federal Ministry of Education and Science) with 1.1 million Euros.