Second place in Austria and placed in ranking group 201-250 worldwide: Information and Communications Engineering achieves major success in THE Ranking 2022

The THE Ranking 2022 represents the first time that the University of Klagenfurt has also been ranked in the field of “Engineering”. Being ranked second among Austrian universities at the first attempt is due in no small part to the outstanding research achievements of the scientists and the field’s high degree of internationality. The relatively young Faculty of Technical Sciences is confident in maintaining its chosen course – and continues to reach for the stars.

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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.

Best paper award for work on swarmalator systems

Working together in the FWF project “Self-organizing synchronization with stochastic coupling”, Udo Schilcher, Jorge Schmidt, Arke Vogell and Christian Bettstetter co-authored the publication “Swarmalators with stochastic coupling and memory”. This paper won the Karsten Schwan Best Paper Award at the IEEE International Conference on Autonomic Computing and Self-Organising Systems (ACSOS) on 30 September 2021, a prize that recognises the best paper presented at the conference.

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Using self-awareness to explore the world

Bernhard Rinner, Professor for Pervasive Systems at the Institute of Networked and Embedded Systems, describes the fascination and challenges associated with a highly topical interdisciplinary research field.

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High-precision localization: New technology developed in Klagenfurt has international potential

Major smartphone manufacturers like Apple want to help us when it comes to quickly locating small devices that we can attach to our key rings or backpacks. The underlying technology promises great potential for industrial and logistic applications. Researchers at the University of Klagenfurt have developed a technology that works up to 60 times faster and 40 times more precisely.

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Offloading computation to 5G networks: Helping drones to improve their autonomous navigation

Commercial drones usually come equipped with modest on-board computing power. Consequently, their speed and agility are somewhat limited when they use their cameras like eyes to navigate in space. Samira Hayat, a researcher at the Department of Information Technology, recently joined forces with colleagues from other departments and Deutsche Telekom to investigate the effects of offloading computation to the edge of the network (edge computing).

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A tricky aspect of synchronisation: What happens when too many impulses jam the system?

Whenever people dance in groups, fish swim in shoals and neurons fire in unison, then there is a need for synchronicity. The world has plenty of these phenomena, many of which seem almost magical. Researchers are currently working on replicating this self-organised synchronisation for use in technical systems. Yet they come up against “deadlocks”, where the synchronisation process is jammed. A recent publication in Physical Review E explores new approaches to this tricky issue.

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Job Offers – Open Positions at the Department of Networked and Embedded Systems

The department of Networked and Embedded Systems is a hub for science and innovation in networked and embedded systems. We offer opportunities for creative minds in an environment that promotes excellence and mutual appreciation. The following positions are offered to further strengthen our team. Read more

Successful testing of UWB sensor network in industrial setting

Wireless communication is becoming increasingly important in industrial companies, as production processes frequently have to be adapted and optimized. Laying new cables each time would reduce flexibility. Together with the companies Messfeld and Dewesoft and the research institutes JOANNEUM RESEARCH DIGITAL and FH Campus 02, the University of Klagenfurt and Lakeside Labs GmbH have now tested a UWB network in an industrial setting.

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Drone flight using 5G: Initial experiments

Drones are used in an ever-increasing number of applications, including the autonomous delivery of medication and the inspection of industrial plants. To fulfil these tasks safely and reliably as they move through our airspace, drones need to be linked to high-performance cellular networks. The new mobile telecommunication generation 5G promises new possibilities with high data rates and low latency. Working with a 5G base station operated by Magenta in the Austrian community of Feichtendorf, a team of researchers from the University of Klagenfurt, Lakeside Labs GmbH, Magenta Telekom GmbH and Deutsche Telekom AG has recently conducted drone tests in a commercial 5G network. The scientific results were presented at the ACM MobiSys conference in mid-June.

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