How can statistical methods provide a sound basis for decision-making in the areas of economics and sustainability policy?

The volume of socio-economic data has risen significantly in recent years. At the same time, its complexity is steadily increasing. A closer look at the data that is compiled for decision-makers reveals that we are far from making full use of the ever-growing mountain of data. A team of researchers drawn from the fields of statistics, machine learning, economics, social sciences and computer science is seeking to develop new methods that will allow the extrapolation of improved conclusions from the data. The project is funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF.

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Describing developments in mathematical terms

Verena Schwarz came to Klagenfurt to join the FWF doc.funds doctoral programme on “Modeling – Analysis – Optimization of discrete, continuous, and stochastic systems”. We spoke with her about the origins of her passion for mathematics.

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Analysing changes in microservice-based systems

When it comes to computer science, we can develop large, complex applications as a single monolithic system, or we can split them into small, scalable components that work together using standard protocols. In the Internet cloud, these small components are often implemented as microservices. A new research project, funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency, sets out to understand more precisely how changes in a single microservice affect other microservices and the application as a whole. Read more

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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“The Internet has given us new narrative stages.”

Stories have been told throughout the existence of humankind. While audiences were somewhat limited until the 2000s, thanks to the Internet, virtually the whole world is now available to practically anyone as a potential listener. In her research, Christina Schachtner, professor emeritus at the Department of Media and Communication Studies at the University of Klagenfurt, is particularly interested in the “narrative subject”. Now, her book bearing the same title has been published as an open access book in the English language. In an interview with her, we discuss the tragedies and comedies that are performed in virtual space.

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Research into COVID-19-related crisis scenarios at AAU: New technology will optimise the supply of medical protective equipment

Earlier this year, it became painfully clear to many in Europe that the supply of face masks, gloves and protective overalls is by no means crisis-proof. A research team consisting of Austrian and Chinese scientists is now working on new technologies that will address different levels of the supply chain and will ultimately lead to the faster, more efficient and cheaper supply of protective equipment across Europe, even in times of crisis.

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Data pipelines: New measures to tackle the last few congested metres

Today’s data networks are well developed: Even so, although the data can pass through the pipelines smoothly and largely unhindered, the last few metres of the pipeline represent a bottleneck. Firewalls, security and the restrictions imposed by the processing software all tend to slow down processing. Now, thanks to a new H2020 project, a research team at the Department of Information Technology, led by Radu Prodan, has started to work on new measures aimed at tackling the last few congested metres. 

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Funding for 14 PhD students in the field of optimization in FWF doc.funds project

The approval of this project represents a milestone in the success story of the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Klagenfurt. It’s also a great achievement on the part of the participating professors and particularly for the 32-year-old coordinator, Michaela Szölgyenyi. Starting in October 2020, the project will employ ten young scientists (including eight women), with four more positions yet to be filled. The launch of the doc.funds doctoral school entitled “Modeling – Analysis – Optimization of discrete, continuous, and stochastic systems” will be celebrated on 27 October 2020 with an opening colloquium.

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“ There is a desire to ‘improve’ something in the interest of others, without actually knowing what those interests are.”

In the Western world we are very quick to demand specific ethical criteria relating to working conditions. However, the Pakistani sociologist Farah Naz, who earned her doctorate at the University of Klagenfurt and now researches and teaches at the University of Sargodha, raises the following issue: Before judging child labour and home-based work, we should understand the living and working conditions of the families concerned. Together with sociology professor Dieter Bögenhold, she has published a book with the title “Unheard Voices”. The publication forges links between the work of Pakistani football stitchers and the great global inequalities. The two authors discuss the main ideas of their book in this interview.

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Robots set to learn how to provide better assistance during surgery

Minimally invasive surgery has many advantages for patients and surgical teams, such as shorter recovery times, lower post-operative complication rates, higher patient acceptance rates and increased cost efficiency. One key area here is interventional radiology, where external imaging equipment is used to guide the surgical instruments through the body. Robots can support in this task. However, those who believe that robots “operate” independently are (as yet) mistaken: The robot systems available today are pure tele-operators or mere assistants for holding and targeting tools; that’s all they can do. Now, a research project led by the University of Klagenfurt wants to explore additional advantages of “operating robots” and increase their autonomy when it comes to supporting surgeons. Read more