News published by the University of Klagenfurt

Enjoying the creativity of mathematics

Research mathematics is creative. One of those people with a particular affinity for imaginative puzzle-solving is Sarah Jane Selkirk. The South African came to Klagenfurt in 2020 as a doctoral student and is now a member of the doc.funds doctoral school “Modeling – Analysis – Optimization of discrete, continuous, and stochastic systems”.

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Improve and accelerate how we learn from health data: New approach reduces machine learning time by 60%

Electronic health records, like ELGA in Austria, provide an overview of laboratory results, diagnostics and therapies. Much could be learned from the personal and private data of individuals – with the help of machine learning – for use in the treatment of others. However, the use of the data is a delicate matter, especially when it comes to diseases that carry a stigma. Researchers involved in the EU project “Enabling the Big Data Pipeline Lifecycle on the Computing Continuum (DataCloud)” are working to make new forms of information processing suitable for medical purposes. Dragi Kimovski and his colleagues recently presented their findings in a publication.

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Swarm algorithms can improve production planning and scheduling

Industrial companies face an enormous challenge when it comes to the highly interconnected nature of their production facilities. These exhibit complex and dynamic behaviour, as can be observed in ants, bees, fish or birds. Inspired by models found in nature, the SWILT project models entire industrial plants as swarms. Three years on, we now have the results of the project: The simulations revealed that the overall performance of a large production planning system can be improved by a percentage in the single digits, which can represent significant financial gains for businesses.

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Working towards the full exploitation of 5G potential: Research team creates “Carinthian Fog”

The 5G Playground Carinthia provides researchers with an open laboratory to explore the possibilities of this new mobile technology. There is a hitch: Although 5G facilitates the rapid transmission of large amounts of data, this data also needs to be processed. Outsourcing this computing power to a cloud data centre results in time lags. Using what is known as “Carinthian Fog”, a research team funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) seeks to develop an alternative that can move data processing closer in terms of distance.

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Helping us to understand where a robot is located: The University of Klagenfurt is granted a patent for a new modular sensor fusion technology

Along with the inventors, Christian Brommer and Stephan Weiss, the dronehub in Klagenfurt has recently been granted another patent. Weiss and Brommer perform research in the Control of Networked Systems (CNS) group with a focus on how to improve localization and navigation methods for robots and small helicopters.

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Stadtwerke Klagenfurt AG and the University of Klagenfurt team up in a powerful demonstration of sustainability

This project is the latest step in a long-standing and successful partnership: Stadtwerke Klagenfurt AG are cooperating with the University of Klagenfurt in the field of sustainable mobility. Starting in September 2021, the public relations team at the University of Klagenfurt has taken “green” trips to trade fairs and school visits throughout Austria and to neighbouring countries.

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Neue Publikation zu Wohnungsforschung: Gentrifizierung und Verdrängung

Eines der Paradebeispiele für Gentrifizierung liegt in Berlin: Der Stadtteil Kreuzberg war einst ein Wohnort mit günstigen Mieten, wo viele einkommensarme Bevölkerungsgruppen lebten. Im Laufe der letzten zwei Jahrzehnte wurde Kreuzberg schick, und zunehmend teurer. Folge der so genannten Gentrifizierung ist ein Austausch der Bevölkerung und eine Verdrängung einkommensschwacher Gruppen. Die Geographen Jan Glatter und Michael Mießner haben nun eine neue Publikation zu „Gentrifizierung und Verdrängung“ herausgegeben, in dem sie dem Phänomen, das in vielen Städten wie Hamburg, Frankfurt oder Wien zu finden ist, auf die Spur gehen.

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Physical and sexual violence in dating among adolescents: How effective are prevention programs?

Studies show that physical and sexual violence often occurs in teen dating relationships: according to current data, the incidence is around 20 percent for physical violence and around 10 percent for sexual violence. A research team at the University of Klagenfurt has recently conducted a meta-analysis to investigate the extent to which prevention programs work. The results have now been presented in JAMA Pediatrics.

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New research project: Better eyes for robots and drones

Drones and robots struggle to navigate autonomously in the dark and in dusty settings. Researchers at the University of Klagenfurt are now developing a new technology that relies on radar sensors for navigation.

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Teams of robots that don’t run out of energy

Let’s imagine a large region affected by an earthquake that needs to be combed for missing persons. Because buildings remain at risk of collapsing, this is a task that is particularly well-suited to robots. Micha Sende addressed this kind of scenario in his doctoral thesis.

“What is special about this is that all the robots have the same role, in other words, no-one acts as coordinator,” Micha Sende explains. His research focuses on energy autonomy, asking questions such as: How much energy do I have left? How much energy do I still need to complete a specific task? How long can I continue to work, and when do I need to recharge? Which charging station should I head for, and which one is free at the moment?

When asked what makes this task rather complex, Micha Sende answers: “A robotic lawnmower or a robotic vacuum cleaner have a comparatively easy job. They know the territory and they usually work alone, not in a team.” Moreover, they do not have to work in an optimised way, i.e. a few extra laps around the living room are usually quite acceptable. But when it comes to searching for missing persons, it is essential that the robots work as quickly and efficiently as possible and that no breakdowns occur.

Above all, the scenario involving several robots and several charging stations had not yet been extensively researched, Micha Sende continues. At this point he also mentions electric cars: Here too, relatively little research has been undertaken to date.

Micha Sende has recently completed his doctorate. Most of the work was carried out at the computer using simulations; towards the end, the scenarios were also tested using real robots. Micha Sende is currently working as a member of the research team at the neighbouring Lakeside Labs GmbH.

Micha Sende first came to Villach as part of his industrial internship for his diploma degree and later he landed a doctoral position in Christian Bettstetter’s research group at the Institute of Networked and Embedded Systems. “Self-organising systems appeared especially captivating, which is why I focused on this area,” he tells us. He describes their advantage: “By relying on self-organisation, we can build fully functional systems that can no longer be controlled from the outside due to their complexity.”

A few words with … Micha Sende

What motivates you to work in science?
The freedom to work on topics that are not precisely defined in advance and that can yield exciting insights.

Do your parents understand what you are working on?
Yes, by and large. Of course, they don’t understand the highly technical details.

What is the first thing you do when you get to the office in the morning?
I fetch myself some fresh water and check my emails.

Do you take proper holidays? Without thinking about your work?
While I was working on my doctorate, I was never able to relax entirely, there was always something working at the back of my mind. Now that’s done, I can switch off completely. Even a weekend can sometimes feel like a full holiday.

What makes you furious?
Aggressiveness, injustice and thoughtlessness by people towards fellow human beings, animals and nature.

And what calms you down?
Taking a deep breath and thinking rationally.

Who do you regard as the greatest scientist in history and why?
I was particularly fascinated by Alan Turing during my studies. He developed the computer in theory long before it was feasible to consider its technical implementation.

What are you afraid of?
In general, I am very optimistic and don’t tend to feel afraid. Nevertheless, I make sure I follow simple safety measures to minimise risks.

What are you looking forward to?
The tranquillity and challenge that comes with alpine sports.