Faculty News

© Johanna Pirker

From Vienna to Graz: Girls like gaming!

June 3rd, 2022

Almost 60 girls came all the way from HTL Spengergasse in Vienna and visited our faculty to learn more about games, esports and game development. Thanks to Johanna Pirker for hosting them!

Master´s student Klemens Strasser in the finals of the Apple Design Award

June 03th, 2022

Klemens Strasser has already been to the epicenter of the smartphone world four times - last Monday, the Styrian flew to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino for the fifth time. The occasion was a nomination. The video game "Letter Rooms" developed by Strasser has been selected as one of the finalists for the Apple Design Award (ADA). Letter Rooms" was nominated in the category "Inclusivity". Letter Rooms" can also be played by visually impaired people, and Strasser also uses a special font for dyslexics. The letter puzzle has been listed in the App Store for a good year, and has been downloaded almost 20,000 times.

© Tim Herman/Intel Corporation

Significant Energy Savings Using Neuromorphic Hardware

May 24th, 2022

For the first time our Institute of Theoretical Computer Science and Intel Labs demonstrated experimentally that a large neural network can process sequences such as sentences while consuming four to sixteen times less energy while running on neuromorphic hardware than non-neuromorphic hardware. The new research based on Intel Labs’ Loihi neuromorphic research chip that draws on insights from neuroscience to create chips that function similar to those in the biological brain.

The research was funded by The Human Brain Project (HBP), one of the largest research projects in the world with more than 500 scientists and engineers across Europe studying the human brain. The results of the research are published in the research paper “Memory for AI Applications in Spike-based Neuromorphic Hardware” which in published in Nature Machine Intelligence.
Part of the project is Wolfgang Maass from our Institute of Theoretical Computer Science. He deals with the question of how the information processing in the human brain works and how this could be used for computer applications.

Read more @ TU Graz

© Phillip Klug | TU Graz

Snapchat sees potential in TU Graz' Mixed Reality

May 18th, 2022

The new working group "Mixed Reality" supported by Snap Inc. will develop visionary software methods in the field of camera technology, and explore new approaches to visual information processing at the interface of digital and physical reality.
Snap Inc. is now funding a tenure-track professorship including assistant and post-doctoral positions at our Institute of Computer Graphics and Vision at Graz University of Technology for a period of six years. Key topics of the new working group to be established include developing visionary software methods in the field of camera technology, and exploring new approaches to visual information processing at the interface of digital and physical reality. The endowed professorship will also pursue new application ideas for mixed reality, in particular the perfect visual fusion of photos with computer-generated content. The position will be advertised internationally and filled by the end of 2022.

“We are convinced that in the future people will have an even greater interest in digital experiences in our real world and for this to happen naturally – for example via augmented reality glasses – more research is needed. We are therefore delighted about this partnership with TU Graz and are looking forward to the results of the research team,” says Daniel Wagner, Director of Computer Vision Engineering at Snap Inc.

Read more @ TU Graz

© Lunghammer, TU Graz

Locked-In Syndrome
Ending Isolation with Brain-Computer-Interfaces

May 13th, 2022

People with locked-in syndrome (LIS) are enormously restricted in their communication. Implantable brain-computer interfaces that decode speech in real time from brain signals should help free users from isolation.
People with degenerative diseases of muscle-controlling nerves such as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) are at risk of losing complete muscle control. This leads to locked-in syndrome (LIS), where the affected person is completely paralysed and can no longer communicate despite still being fully aware – a frightening and extremely challenging situation for the affected person, their family and also the nursing staff.
A European research consortium led by the Dutch University Medical Center UMC Utrecht and with participation of TU Graz has now been selected for funding by EU grant of almost 6 million euros from the European Innovation Council (Pathfinder Programme). The project called INTRECROM aims to develop and test a fully implantable brain-computer interface (BCI) technology specifically for people with locked-in syndrome.

Gernot Müller-Putz from our Institute of Neurotechnology is part of the project and is still looking for interested young researchers to join the project team.The INTRECOM project will run from autumn 2022 until autumn 2026.

Read more @ TU Graz
More information about INTRECROM.

© ENARIS

Enaris:
Free workshops for municipalities

May 04th, 2022

Playful, low-threshold workshops held directly in communities are designed to spark interest in artificial intelligence (AI) among the general population and promote an informed, critical awareness of AI. Registrations are now open.
"From grandchildren to grandparents, everyone is welcome to take an hour and a half to three hours to learn about AI technologies," emphasizes Gerald Steinbauer-Wagner from our Institute of Software Technology. He and his team, together with the Austrian Computer Society (OCG) and the Mobilis Science Center in Györ, Hungary, are behind the program called ENARIS (Education and Awareness for Intelligent Systems). The common goal is to present everyday phenomena related to artificial intelligence in short, interactive and low-threshold workshops.

Read more @ TU Graz (german)
More information about Enaris: enaris.ist.tugraz.at

© Tierney - stock.adobe.com

Rudolf Stollberger:
5G does not pose new risks

May 02nd, 2022

Rudolf Stollberger from our Institute of Biomedical Imaging has been working on the effect of high-frequency electromagnetic fields on humans for decades in the context of magnetic resonance imaging. This field is actually well researched, Stollberger emphasizes. He concludes that there is no evidence of any real health-damaging effect, as is the case with UV light, for example. This also applies to the previous generations of mobile communications.

But what is in store for us with the new mobile communications standard? From Stollberger's point of view, 5G does not pose any specific new risks. The way signals are transmitted is different, he says. But that would not have a different effect on people. 5G is a new protocol that allows data to be transmitted faster and new networking possibilities to be realized. Nothing changes in the mechanism of action between electromagnetic fields and the human body compared with current mobile communications standards.

(Rudolf Stollberger talked with Salzburger Nachrichten, published on April 29th)

© VCLA @ Kirchberg a.d. Raab

Diary of a female Computer Scientist

April 30th, 2022

Last week the project Diary of a female Computer Scientist (dt.: Tagebuch der Informatikerin) took place all over Austria, organized by VCLA (Vienna Center of Logic and Algorithms). In several secondary schools in Vienna and Styria, girls aged 11-14 talked to programmers, coders, computer scientists or hardware specialists about what connects them to computer science.

The participants were able to find out what is exciting about the digital language "code", where it is used everywhere and what the daily work of a programmer is like. Katarina Pavlovskaya, health informatics student at the FH Joanneum in Graz was on tour with a colleague in 2 Styrian schools and said: "The girls were enthusiastic about what we do. Unfortunately, there are still far too many prejudices, many don't know that many women already work as programmers. In addition, many think that we sit alone in front of the computer all day. Yet the work of a female computer scientist consists largely of joint meetings, group work and communication."

In Kirchberg an der Raab, more than 50 female students from first grade to fourth grade attended the one-hour workshop. The feedback from the schoolgirls was "simply perfect," as Director Christine Fischer puts it. Before the workshop, just 1 in 20 girls could imagine doing something with technology and IT. Florian Ungerböck from our Office for Gender Equality and Equal Opportunity explains it this way: "Programming often takes place in closed areas that are not very visible to the outside world. There needs to be more exchange with people from the field, even in basic digital education and in science lessons in elementary school, in order to make these professions and the training courses more attractive."

Johanna Pirker:
Gamification in medicine: playing for health

April 25th, 2022


Play applications are used in hospitals for doctors, nurses and patients, among others. Johanna Pirker from our Institute of Interactive Systems and Data Science sees great potential in this virtual reality in medicine in general. For example, surgical procedures can be trained in advance in a computer-generated room that doctors enter virtually using data glasses and game controllers.
However, VR technologies could be used successfully not only for training operations, but also increasingly in therapies - for example, for dementia - or as a distraction in the case of pain or fear of injections. They are also particularly important for enabling terminally ill people to have certain experiences.

PC and cell phone games can also make a significant contribution to health. Sick and healthy people are thus motivated to exercise more, accompanied through tedious therapies or supported with useful knowledge. For example, a research team led by Pirker and biotechnologist Gabriele Berg is currently working on a knowledge transfer game.

Maria Eichlseder:
"Everyone has a right to privacy"

April 21st, 2022


Nothing works without cryptography: encryption algorithms form the basis of every digital network. Maria Eichlseder, working group leader at the Institute for Applied Information Processing and Communication Technology, conducts research at the highest international level on new mathematical methods that enable the world to communicate securely. Whether we are making phone calls, online purchases or sending messages, it is always a matter of protecting the data transmitted, i.e. making it unreadable and unchangeable for third parties.

The globally standardized cryptographic procedures are subject to constant testing, evaluation and further development. This is where Eichlseder's specialty comes in: cryptanalysis: "I try to crack systems with ever new methods and measure how secure or efficient they (still) are. With this knowledge, we in turn develop new procedures." In addition, the researcher is looking beyond the mathematical structure to the concrete application of cryptography in end devices. As soon as the algorithm is practically executed on a device, the hacker can of course attack more than just the mathematics: disrupt the computing process or read a side channel in order to gain information from it. We need to protect against all of that."
 


(Maria Eichlseder talked with Spirit of Austria 04/22)

© Lunghammer. TU Graz

Nerve Stimulation with the Help of Implantable Mini Solar Cells

April 07th, 2022


An international research team with Theresa Rienmüller from our Insitute of Health Care Engineering has successfully developed and tested a concept in which nerves are stimulated with light pulses. The method provides considerable advantages for medicine and opens up a wide range of possible applications.

The technology enables completely new types of implants that can be used to stimulate nerve cells and was developed in a joint effort by researchers from Graz University of Technology (TU Graz), the Medical University of Graz (Med Uni Graz), the University of Zagreb and the Czech CEITEC. The basis of this technology involves colour pigments from the food industry, such as those used in organic solar cells. The pigments are vapour-deposited to form a layer only a few nanometres thick, where they convert light into electrical charge – just as in organic solar cells. Nerve cells that adhere to the film (note: they are first pipetted onto the film and and grow there) react to this charge and in turn fire electrical impulses with which they stimulate other nerve cells.

The researchers have now been able to demonstrate this process for the first time in cell biological experiments. Cultivated nerve cells that were grown directly on the film were stimulated by several light flashes each lasting a few milliseconds at a wavelength of 660 nanometres (red light) and reacted as hoped. They generated so-called action potentials, which are essential for communication between nerve cells. The researchers have published the results of their electrophysiological measurements and computer simulations in the scientific journal Advanced Materials Technologies.

© Christine Rechling / www.fotocrafie.at

Kerstin Lenk: INGE St. Forschungspreis 2021 Award

March 29th, 2022


After two years of virtual awarding, the INGE St. Research Award Ceremony took place again in presence and in a festive setting on March 28, 2022. The work awarded by the prize jury in the categories "Diploma Master Thesis" and "Publication" was presented by the 6 prize winners in highly informative short lectures in the ballroom of the Meerscheinschlössel Graz. Important criteria for the award are scientific quality, innovation and interdisciplinarity! Kerstin Lenk from our Institute of Neural Engineering was awarded in the category "Publications". Congratulations!

Peter Pötzi is a Knapp AG talent!

March 22nd, 2022

Knapp AG, Styrian intralogistics specialist headquartered in Hart near Graz, is one of the largest IT employers in the country. For the 10th time, IT talents worked on a tricky programming task from logistics practice. This time, the participants had the coding task to implement the algorithm for the processing of daily work, storage and order processing for an automated picking system. Around 90 pupils and students from all over Austria came to this year's programming competition of the company. TU Graz, specifically our Master student in Computer Science Peter Pötzi, ended up in third place. Congratulations!

IEEE Virtual Reality: Best Paper Award

March 18th, 2022

The paper "Video See-Through Mixed Reality with Focus Cues" won the Best Paper Award (top category - full journal papers) at the IEEE Virtual Reality. This is the flagship conference in this field with over 1000 participants. Authors of the winning paper are our scientists Christoph Ebner, Shohel Mori, Peter Mohr, Dieter Schmalstieg and Denis Kalkofen, and two colleagues from Stanford University Yifan Peng and Gordon Wetzstein.

In this context, we may also congratulate Dieter Schmalstieg, who was accepted into the Inaugural Class of the Virtual Reality Acadamy of IEEE VGTC (Visualization and Graphics Technical Committee).
We also have to announce that Denis Kakofen is leaving us for Flinders University, Adelaide. Denis, you have done a great job with us. We wish you continued success on your way!

4 out of 10 – most cited researches!

March 17th, 2022

The science platform research.com has published new figures on the best-cited and most-cited researchers. In computer science, Horst Bischof, Dieter Schmalstieg, Wolfgang Maass and Thomas Pock are four of the ten most cited Austrian researchers from Graz University of Technology. We are proud!

Russia is cut off - at least online

March 13th, 2022


Within days, the largest social networks in Russia lost their raison d'être, and the digital regulars' tables emptied out. On the one hand, at the behest of the tech companies themselves, on the other, Russian authorities are visibly tightening digital censorship in the country. Russia is not only targeting popular services and digital news sites, it is also increasingly concerned with infrastructure. "Technical access can be perfectly isolated. It's not technically difficult to seal off information," says Reinhard Posch from our IAIK, and Chief Information Officer of the government. In Austria ministries also have their own networks that are not accessible from the outside for security reasons. However, it should be borne in mind that, as a result of a cut-off, "only their own services can be offered. In Russia, this could be particularly serious. After all, civil society there has long since become accustomed to "Western" online services. Posch: "People will quickly become frustrated if established services no longer work." And, last but not least, the networked Tesla car can no longer be unlocked and locked.

(Reinhard Posch talked with Kleine Zeitung, published 12.03.22)
 

© Lunghammer, TU Graz

“Whoever says digital must also say security”

March 2nd, 2022


"Even if cyber attacks are on the rise: Things are not as bad as some think. The world is still under the control of the good guys," says Stefan Mangard, whose Institute for Applied Information Processing and Comunications is partly responsible for Graz's excellent reputation as an international cybersecurity stronghold. The successes in uncovering hardware vulnerabilities at Intel & Co. - "Spectre" and "Meltdown" - earned the institute an enormous international reputation. Joint research projects with big names like Amazon, Google, Intel, NXP, Infineon & Co are on the agenda for researchers at the institute. In addition, a center for research, training, testing and certification in the field of IT security is currently being built on the Inffeld grounds as part of the "Cybersecurity Campus Graz" - in cooperation with the leading testing and certification company SGS. The institute is currently enjoying a research success in the USA. The U.S. authority NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) announced a worldwide competition for the development of a new standard for so-called "Light weight Cryptography", which is finding its way into more and more applications, such as small sensors, and is capable of encrypting data with as little computing effort as possible. "Two out of ten finalists in this competition are from our institute, giving us a chance to define a global standard," Mangard explains. A cryptographic method with participation from Graz is also on the short list in a second NIST competition - at the center of it: quantum computers. "Since these could quickly decrypt current systems thanks to their extreme performance, we will need entirely new cryptographic standards in the future to make IT systems fit for the quantum age," says Mangard, whose institute also works closely with local industry. An information brochure has just been designed in cooperation with IV Steiermark, which contains recommendations for action both for prevention and for what to do if the worst should happen. "Industry 4.0 in particular is vulnerable to new threat scenarios. More and more machines or individual components are communicating not only with each other, but also with the manufacturing companies for updates or predictive maintenance," said Mangard, whose research focus "Secure Systems" deals with this topic. "An important area of research is efficiently isolating system components to ensure that if individual parts are compromised, the rest of the system remains protected." Home offices and the multitude of devices in the modern workplace also make a secure computer architecture necessary. "You can think of it this way: In the past, a company was a self-contained unit, a castle, as it were - and today we have a multitude of decentralized islands. A castle is naturally easier to protect than many small units."

(Stefan Mangard talked with Spirit of Austria 01/22)
 

How do burgers taste in the digital world?

February 23th, 2021


McDonald's recently filed ten patents in the USA: The fast food company wants to open virtual stores in the Metaverse. Virtual burgers are to be sold there. It will also be possible to order a real burger delivery for home. More and more companies are active in the so-called metaverse. The buzzword stands for digital worlds of experience that are increasingly merging with reality. Among other things, this development is made possible by improved computing power, which enables ever more realistic applications, in combination with new devices such as data glasses. Mark Zuckerberg is also banking on this. The Facebook group changed its name to Meta a few months ago and is tinkering with a new virtual world.
Even if many have the Facebook logo in mind when they hear the word: "The Metaverse is not something Facebook is inventing," says Johanna Pirker from our Institute of Interactive Systems and Data Science. The concept of the metaverse has been around since the 1990s. Facebook has virtually hijacked the term. Many companies, such as Microsoft, were working on their own versions. "The exciting thing about virtual worlds is that we can do things there that are not possible in reality," Pirker says. For example, you could create historical spaces in learning environments or virtually travel to the moon. In the working world, training with data glasses is just as possible as better communication in the home office. Pirker is already using this. Gather.Town is the name of the application in which her team of 14 has set up a virtual office.
Functioning metaverses already exist. They are called Decentraland or Sandbox. There, people can meet friends, play miniature golf, attend concerts - or shop. Fashion, for example, or expensive real estate. In the metaverse game Sandbox, the luxury label Gucci has bought a plot of land. Adidas is also said to have paid vast sums for a piece of virtual land. Nike ventured a Metaverse advance with a company takeover.

Johanna Pirker sees many opportunities in the metaverse - but also warns of critical developments.
Pirker understands that people spend money on virtual sneakers. "The virtual space is also about individualization. Why do people buy Nike shoes in real life? The reasons go far beyond functionality. And buying behavior is no different in the virtual space." Now is the time to help shape it, he said. For example, to ensure that the metaverse does not become a central system of a single corporation, or that the bad sides of the real thing are carried over into virtual reality. Cases of virtual sexual assault already exist. "And the question is whether we want a real estate bubble there, too."
In any case, real money is bubbling up: big tech companies are pumping billions into development. Not only U.S. corporations like Facebook or Microsoft, but also Chinese giants from Alibaba to Tencent. A study by the market research company Global Industry Analysts puts the global metaverse market at 172 billion euros this year. In 2026, it is expected to grow to 671 billion euros, according to the forecast. So is the metaverse the next big revolution? Or just a big pipe dream, as some critics say?
"Of course, a flop is possible. There was one with a similar project, Second Life," says blockchain expert Alfred Taudes from WU Vienna. Currently, however, several technologies are playing together. The blockchain not only enables the realization of digital worlds, but also its own financing options through cryptocurrencies. The time could be ripe. "I advise companies to try innovations and be present. At the beginning of the Internet, everyone also made a website and didn't know exactly why. But those who innovated at the beginning were more likely to succeed later," Taudes says. Metaverses like Decentraland don't have many residents yet. That could change, partly because of the trend toward NFTs, a kind of certificate of authenticity for digital goods: "If I have them, I want to show them off. And I can do that in the Metaverse."

(Johanna Pirker talked with Salzburger Nachrichten, published on February 22nd, 2022)
 

Career orientation in virtual space

February 16th, 2021


Showing strengths, arousing interest and ultimately providing employment - these are the goals of career guidance.

In order to better reach young people and prepare them in a targeted manner, the Virtual Reality Studio was created in the Gürtelturm in Graz in spring 2020 in cooperation with the Public Employment Service (AMS) and the Graz University of Technology (TU). With the help of VR glasses and corresponding apps, apprenticeship seekers can get a taste of various industries and companies there.
There are many reasons for using new technology in career guidance, says Johanna Pirker of the Institute of Interactive Systems and Data Science at Graz University of Technology. After all, "Our school system is so rigid, even though technology changes every few months." Young people today live in a fast-paced world with a lot of distractions - the irony, she says, is that "in virtual spaces, it's often easier for them to concentrate because there's no TikTok, no smartphone."

FWF approved:
New Special Research Area "SPyCoDe"

January 24th, 2021




Security and privacy are human rights that should also apply in the digital society. That is why there is also the principle of "Security and Privacy by Design" in the new European General Data Protection Regulation: data protection should be taken into account in the early design phase of IT infrastructures.
Unfortunately, modern technologies are not sufficient to implement this principle, as the numbers of attacks and security breaches show. Without privacy protection, large-scale digitization is not possible. Therefore, it is a research area with extraordinary technological, societal and economic implications.

The special research area "SPyCoDe" aims to create the technological basis for the realization of the principle "Security and Privacy by Design". It aims to create tools for companies to build complex systems that are secure by design and protect privacy due to their components. This research is a cross-cutting computer science topic that combines breakthrough findings in logic, system security, and cryptography.

Under the leadership of Vienna University of Technology, there are also some well-known names from our department: Roderick Bloem, Maria Eichlseder, Daniel Gruss, Stefan Mangard

The SPyCoDE team - all international leading minds in logic, system security and cryptography - will now spend the next four years building a repository of knowledge for teaching, basic research and technology transfer, giving companies access to tools they can use to build complex IT systems that are secure by design and protect privacy. The funding volume for the SFB amounts to 4.4 million euros.

Foto: Furgler

Johanna Pirker @ 7. Wiener Innovationskonferenz

January 19th, 2021

The "7. Wiener Innovationskonferenz" will take place online from January 25th-27th. On the second day, the focus will be on digitalization and changes brought about by the pandemic.

There will be held a discussion called "Innovative Lernmethoden oder Technostress?" with Johanna Pirker (ISDS). The 2021 Heddy Lamarr Award winner for research on innovative learning methods will discuss with business informatics specialist and technostress researcher Rene Riedl (Johannes Kepler University Linz) online on January 26th.

Register now to participate.
 

Aortic muscle cells in an oblique position

November 18th, 2021


The smooth muscle of the aorta does not wind in the vessel wall in an exact circle, but with a slight slant, reports Gerhard Holzapfel of the Institute of Biomechanics. It was apparently oriented this way in evolution to optimize the biomechanical behavior of the aorta. He and colleagues created a computer model of the three-layered vessel. The study appeared in the Royal Society journal Proceedings A.

A human aorta is composed of three layers, Holzapfel explained. First, there is a matrix layer that has rubber-like properties. Another layer has long protein fibers (collagen layer) embedded in different directions, he said. Third, there is a layer of smooth "slow muscle."

A team led by Holzapfel analyzed these layers with imaging techniques and made complex calculations to simulate their behavior in the computer model. "However, these can be solved very efficiently," the researcher said, adding that this would make it possible to model "with pinpoint accuracy" how the aorta behaves mechanically.

It is striking that the muscle cells of the aorta are not arranged tangentially, i.e., in the direction of the vessel's circumference, as previously believed, but "inclined outward a bit," Holzapfel said: "We don't yet understand why nature has laid them out in this direction, but it is certainly a matter of functional optimization and the best possible alignment."

Archaeological search engine from Graz

November 09th, 2021

Archaeology no longer uses only shovels, spatulas and brushes.  Magnetometers and ground penetrating radar systems are also part of their modern toolbox. But how can clay shards from Carnuntum be compared with those from Pompeii?For tasks like these, Tobias Schreck and his team are developing an archaeological search engine as part of the FWF Project CrossSAVE-CH.

Read more about the project here.
Listen to the interview at "ORF Radiothek" (german) here.

Algorithms for responsible resource allocation

October 28th, 2021

A research group including Viktoria Pammer-Schindler from our Institute of Interactive Systems and Data Science publishes a paper on the use of AI for a responsible distribution of resources.
How can scarce goods be best used for the benefit of as many as possible? This question leads to the allocation problem. It is as old as humanity itself. Two examples of this are being publicly discussed in Austria: One is the automated classification of job seekers as a basis for the release of subsidies, also known as the "AMS algorithm." The other is the assessment of the survival chances of patients with life-threatening courses of Covid-19 for the allocation of intensive care beds - called "triage". In both cases, algorithms support experts in making informed decisions about resource allocation.
In order to find out which moral problem areas exist in the two examples, it is helpful to conduct a systematic investigation. For this purpose, the sociotechnical reflection framework SREP was developed by researchers in Graz. It aims to guide the design of responsible AI applications. It reflects on relevant human-machine interactions during the development and use of algorithmically supported systems against the background of ethical building blocks and identifies potential problems.
Read more in Falter 43/21 - Heureka 6/21.

© Lunhammer/TU Graz

Johanna Pirker was awarded the "Hedy Lamarr Preis"

October 19th, 2021

Johanna Pirker, head of the "Game Lab" research group, was awarded the Hedy Lamarr Prize of the City of Vienna. Pirker's research covers the topics of Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Games and Human-Computer Interaction, she also deals with the fields of energy research, urban planning and medicine.

Faculty Day with Inaugural Lecture of David Garcia Becerra

October 14th, 2021

Our Faculty Day took place in at the "Aula Alte Technik". After an short introduction of the Vice Rector Horst Bischof, several tenure track professors gave insights into their research. Before David Gracia Becerra started his interesting inaugural lecture, our Dean´s List Ceremony was held with representatives of each study program and year.

Announcement of topics for bachelor and master theses in winter term 2021/22

With the new winter semester coming up, we are announcing current topics for Bachelor and Master theses in the areas of Computer Graphics, Geometry Processing and Visual Analytics, supported by the Institute of Compute Graphics and Knowledge Visualization together with Fraunhofer Austria

Inauguration Lecture of the new Master´s Computational Social Systems

October 11th, 2021

The Kick-Off Event for the new Master´s Computastional Social Systems took place in a full "Meerscheinschlössl". David Gracia Becerra, Prof. for Computational Behavioral and Social Sciences, led throughout the event. After an short introduction of the two rectors of the two universities of graz, digital guests from the ministery, from science and from industry congratulated the participants of the new program. After that, a joint statement from Elisabeth Lex and Stefan Thalmann, the Deans of Study, was helt. This was followed by a guest lecture by Prof. Dr. Aniko Hannak (University of Zurich) on "The New Faces of Bias in Online Platforms". After an extended, interesting discussion, the Science Talk continued over a buffet. All in all it was a very successful event.
 

© Lunhammer, TU Graz

Success: "Robotik-Forschungswoche"

September 29th, 2021

Children were able to demonstrate their programming skills in the robotics lab during the summer months. The children receive their robots at the beginning of the week and are slowly introduced to the world of programming. Even at a young age, he said, it is thus possible to promote analytical thinking. "Of course the kids are given certain guidelines. For example, every day they have to complete certain challenges with their robots every day. But if something doesn't work out right away, they should feel free to tinker a bit, and we'll help them find the problem," Manuel Menzinger from our Institute of Software Technology explains. The feedback from the children, who, of course, don't experimenting all day but are also supervised by "Kinderbüro" staff during breaks, is very good.

Accurate and efficient time-domain classification with adaptive spiking recurrent neural networks

September 14th, 2021

Inspired by more detailed modeling of biological neurons, Spiking neural networks (SNNs) have been investigated both as more biologically plausible and potentially more powerful models of neural computation, and also with the aim of extracting biological neurons’ energy efficiency; the performance of such networks however has remained lacking compared to classical artificial neural networks (ANNs). Here, we demonstrate how a novel surrogate gradient combined with recurrent networks of tunable and adaptive spiking neurons yields state-of-the-art for SNNs on challenging benchmarks in the time-domain, like speech and gesture recognition. This also exceeds the performance of standard classical recurrent neural networks (RNNs) and approaches that of the best modern ANNs. As these SNNs exhibit sparse spiking, we show that theoretically they are one to three orders of magnitude more computationally efficient compared to RNNs with comparable performance.
Together, we argue that this positions SNNs as an attractive solution for AI hardware implementations.

Speaker:
Prof. Dr. Sander M. Bohté

Location:
Seminarraum IGI - Inffeldgasse 16b/I
Webex

When:
Friday, 17 September 2021 11.00 – 12.45

Organizer:
IGI TU Graz

AI-DA Challenge - Award ceremony

August 09th, 2021

Big thanks to the 8 teams of TU Graz for their engagement in the AI-DA Challenge (AI-Dependability Assessment) of Siemens Mobility in the last weeks.
“What was so interesting about this task is that it wasn’t only about reaching as high accuracy as possible but also required us to consider real-world safety aspects. For example, we made trade-offs between different kinds of errors and gave bounds to our misclassification rates, so the model could actually be used in a safety-critical environment,” Patrick Deutschmann and his team partner Lukas Timpl stated.

Due to this strong participation of our TU Graz, the jury decided at the award ceremony on 16 July to increase the prize money and to award three out of eight teams from TU Graz with the Runners-up prize of € 1000 for each team:  

  • Adna Ribo | Markus Schiffermueller | Lucas Weitzendorf
  • Felix Muetter
  • Patrick Deutschmann | Lukas Timpl

Furthermore, the CKI office at TU Graz and Siemens Mobility Graz would invite all 8 teams to pizza and beer at the beginning of the next semester, please contact christine.schichlernoSpam@tugraz.at .

DIY tabletop magnetic resonance scanner

July 19th, 2021

The student initiative INSIGHT, operating at our Institute of Medical Engineering, introduces itself with an exciting project: Self-construction of a magnetic resonance tomograph for the desk. They broadcast live the assembly of the core piece, namely the magnet system for the small scanner. This is an assembly of iron yoke, pole pieces and two extremely strong neodymium permanent magnets. The assembly is relatively spectacular, as forces of up to one and a half tons act on the parts in the meantime and therefore great caution, some securing and some courage are required during assembly. The team of four students has been eagerly awaiting this moment for a year and wants to share the exciting scenes with all viewers. Live on YouTube: July 22th - 3pm

© Lunghammer - TU Graz

The World's First Digital Model of a Cancer Cell

July 06th, 2021

Computer models have been standard tools in basic biomedical research for many years. However, around 70 years after the first publication of an ion current model of a nerve cell by Hodgkin & Huxley in 1952, researchers at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz), in collaboration with the Medical University of Graz and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, have finally succeeded in developing the world's first cancer cell model, thus launching "an essential tool for modern cancer research and drug development," reports a delighted Christian Baumgartner. The head of the Institute of Health Care Engineering with European Testing Center of Medical Devices at TU Graz is senior author of the publication in which the digital model is presented in the journal PLoS Computational Biology.

© Juergen Fuchs, Graz

One award after the other for Gerhard Holzapfel

June 09th, 2021

Biomechanist Gerhard Holzapfel can be pleased about two new science awards. His computer simulations are intended to facilitate medical prognoses.
Holzapfel can be pleased about another award. After the William Prager Medal (we reported in January), he received the next international medal: the Koiter Medal, awarded for special achievements in research and science. In addition to American scientists from renowned U.S. universities, Holzapfel is an Austrian among the list of award winners. "This is already a great honor," says the 60-year-old professor, who was already awarded the Erwin Schrödinger Prize ten years ago for his life's work.

Holzapfel's focus: the calculation of mechanical properties for vessel walls, such as an aorta or artery. He has developed his own model for this purpose. "You can map mechanical processes that happen in our body on the computer. The finer the model, the more accurate the prediction. On the virtual patient, you can thus predict what a medical intervention will be like," he explained to Kleine Zeitung. "We can make simulations that are very close to reality. That's where technology has advanced insanely."

Holzapfel began his career as a young postdoc at Stanford. "In America, there was already a lot of research going on in the field in the early 1990s, so I was there at the right time." In the meantime, he himself is the contact person for 200 students and drives countless projects forward. The TU Graz lead project "Aortic Dissection" has just been extended. This involves working on computer simulations of aortic dissections. An aortic dissection is a splitting of the wall layers of the aorta. This condition can be life-threatening. The aim of the TU project is to use algorithms and models to support diagnosis and treatment at an early stage.

© Lunghammer - TU Graz

Data register and data protection very well compatible

May 25th, 2021

New encryption methods ensure the pooling of sensitive income and health data at a very high level of data protection. It is precisely for such cases that research has developed technologies that are ripe for practical use.

In the course of the current discussion about a planned data registry for times of crisis such as pandemics, which is viewed critically by data protection experts, cybersecurity expert Christian Rechberger of Graz University of Technology takes notice: "Pandemic management using merged income and health data is very much possible with the required level of data protection. Together with international colleagues, we have developed new cryptographic methods since the beginning of the pandemic that will be used for such applications, among others."

Rechberger sees the crisis database as a classic case for the first use of the new technology. This is based on so-called homomorphic decryption: it allows confidential data to be processed and interleaved without first having to be decrypted. "This allows data registers to be implemented while maintaining privacy and protecting sensitive, personal data. No data source has to copy the data elsewhere, registers do not have to be merged centrally. The data remains local, and the calculations are encrypted. Only the result of the respective study is then disclosed."

"In the future, we will have to adjust consumption to supply, not the other way around"

May 22th, 2021

Responsibility for the climate and the environment should not be assigned to the individual, emphasizes Gerald Schweiger. "This requires technological solutions at a systemic level." The fact that the 35-year-old, who conducts research on intelligent energy systems at the Graz University of Technology (TU), sometimes digresses into socially critical and philosophical considerations may be due to his education: "After HTL, I actually thought that technology wasn't for me after all, and initially followed up with studies in philosophy and social sciences. In the end, however, I only added another engineering degree and one in environmental systems science."
The result is not only a total of four academic degrees in the passport around his name in his passport (the fifth will follow soon), but also holistic demands such as these demands like this: "One less plastic bag is not a solution. We have to rethink entire systems and equip them with intelligence. Especially in the area of sustainability new insights have an enormous impact."

Gerald Schweiger (35) is concerned with energy systems of the future and their optimization with the help of physical models and artificial intelligence. He teaches at Graz University of Technology, where he heads the "Intelligent Energy Systems" research group, as well as at two Styrian universities of applied sciences. In addition, Schweiger leads several national and international projects on the topic.

Hellomath: TU Graz student founded learning platform for math school-leaving exam

April 06th, 2021

Calculating probabilities, uncovering the value of X, analyzing graphs - math is a nightmare for some students.However, for students Maximilian Mallweger and Matthias Hülse rmath is passion. "Yes, it exists!" they write on their website Hellomath - the self-founded learning portal where students can prepare for the centralized math Matura.

The tasks that can be solved on Hellomath are taken from the official question pool of the Ministry and also from older maturity exams that are freely available. Maximilian has also created some tasks himself, based on basic competency schemes. Already 100 active users use the learning portal regularly.

© Lunghammer - TU Graz

Mobile app generates data for the energy management of the future

March 24th, 2021

As part of the GameOpSys research project, people were asked to document their own energy consumption using a study app. Researchers at TU Graz use this data for modeling and optimizing future energy systems.

The research group "Intelligente Energiesysteme und Cyber-Physical Systems" at the Institute of Software Technology at TU Graz is working on methods to make energy systems more efficient and intelligent, while also taking into account the interaction between humans and technology. In collaboration with simulation expert Niki Popper and his company dwh, the Graz-based research group led by Gerald Schweiger focused on necessary technologies for future user-centered energy services. For this purpose, a mobile app was developed that is intended to motivate users with game-like elements (gamification) to collect data on their own energy consumption (electricity, heating and cooling).

© pexels

"Software development is much more than just programming"

March 16, 2021

Denis Helic explains why Software development is much more than just programming. Software development does not only include programming skills, but also requires management and team leadership skills. User experience is also becoming increasingly important. The curricula are continuously updated and expanded via electives in order to respond to new developments. That's why the TU has offered an English-language bachelor's and master's degree in software engineering and management since 2005, where 20 percent consists management topics. Helic explains that the profession demands a range of soft skills, "from project management to teamwork to communication skills and much more." In addition, he says, today's students are tomorrow's company founders, designing and marketing their own products in the software field. This refutes the stereotype of the computer scientist tapping away in a lonely chamber.

© Lunghammer - TU Graz

New approach found for energy-efficient AI applications

March 11, 2021
 

Computer scientist Wolfgang Maass and his doctoral student Christoph Stöckl have found a new design method for artificial neural networks. These networks get by with extremely few signals. Similar to Morse code, they also give meaning to the pauses between the signals. Maass and Stöckl were inspired by the way the human brain works. The human brain processes several trillion calculations per second, but only needs about 20 watts to do so. This low energy consumption is made possible by inter-neuronal communication using very simple electrical impulses, so-called spikes. This research work is anchored at TU Graz in the Fields of Expertise "Human and Biotechnology" and "Information, Communication & Computing", two of five areas of strength at TU Graz.

© Atelier-Jungwirth

Styrian robotics specialist is bought up by US group Verizon

February 16, 2021
 

Incubed IT, a start-up founded in 2011 by seven graduates of TU Graz, is being bought by the US company Verizon (2020: $128.3 billion sales). The founders got together back in 2004 when they first formed a TU team for the Robocup. In 2011, the seven graduates of TU Graz (Julia Arnus, Stephan Gspandl, Reinhard Günther, Andreas Hechenblaickner, Michael Reip, Mate Wolfram and Christoph Zehentner) founded Incubed IT. They recently achieved annual sales in the low millions, and have already received many awards, including the "Phoenix" founder prize, the "Robotics Award" at the Hanover Trade Fair, and the Fast Forward Award.

© Lunghammer – TU Graz/TU Darmstadt

More privacy for using WhatsApp and Co.

February 15, 2021


 

Two of our cryptography experts Daniel Kales and Christian Rechberger developed, together with their colleagues at Darmstadt University of Technology, privacy-protecting security software for mobile messenger services. "ContactGuard" was awarded the 8th German IT Security Award 2020. The researchers intend to use the prize money of 60,000 euros to further develop the security software to market maturity. Stay ahead!

Promotion Award 2021 of the Forum Technology and Society

Febuary 10, 2021
 

You completed your disseration or master thesis between February 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021? Briefly argue (3000 characters) why your dissertation or master thesis is or can be important for society. Send your arguments and convince the jury. The prize money totals 12,500 euros this year!

 

Martin Ebner is honored as "Styrian of the day"

02. Febuary 2021

Martin Ebner was portrayed in the Kleine Zeitung because of his development IMooX, which is an Austria-wide platform where digital teaching content of higher education institutions is managed. Ebner has been involved with digital forms of teaching and learning for more than 20 years now.

© Lunghammer - TU Graz

Cardiovascular diseases: New "Digital Twin" computer model improves therapy

January 22, 2021

Although treatment options are constantly improving, cardiovascular diseases are still one of the most frequent causes of death in Europe. The success of the treatment varies from patient to patient and depends on the individual pathology. Gernot Plank (Med Uni Graz) has now developed a computer model together with the mathematicians Gundolf Haase and Kristian Bredies from the University of Graz and computer scientist Thomas Pock from the Institute of Computer Graphics and Vision at Graz University of Technology, respectively, with which doctors can pre-simulate the optimal therapy and dramatically improve the success of treatment.

Gerhard A. Holzapfel receives William Prager Medal 2021

January 18, 2021
 

Prof. Holzapfel receives the prestigious prize for his outstanding contributions to the inspirational application of solid mechanics in the development of continuum theory, computational methods, simulation and experiment in the biomechanics of soft biological materials. Congratulations!

© A1/APA/Fiedlerphoto

A1 Telekom Austria acquires majority stake in analytics start-up Invenium

January 14, 2021

By acquiring a majority stake in the Graz University of Technology spin-off and the Know-Center, A1 is expanding the area of movement data analyses and offering "A1 Mobility Insights", a commercial product based on the TÜV-approved and data protection-compliant platform.

Dean's Office
Faculty of Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering
Inffeldgasse 10/II, 8010 Graz

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