Are we seeing genuine progress with recommender systems?

Recommender systems represent a key technology for e-commerce providers such as Google, Amazon, Netflix, Booking.com and Spotify. It is therefore with a certain urgency that researchers are working intensively on making ever more accurate predictions about the products and services users might want to consume next. However, in a paper published recently, Maurizio Ferrari Dacrema, Paolo Cremonesi and Dietmar Jannach were able to show that several critical issues concerning the research methodology are hindering progress in the development of recommender systems. In recognition of their work, they received the Best Full Paper Award at the renowned ACM Conference on Recommender Systems in Copenhagen in September.

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The University of Klagenfurt makes the first professorial appointment to the Digital Age Research Center (D!ARC): Elisabeth Oswald, who specializes in researching cybersecurity, arrives in Klagenfurt

Step by step, the University of Klagenfurt is steadily expanding its activities in the new research area “Humans in the Digital Age”. The appointment of Elisabeth Oswald (University of Bristol) represents an important milestone in this endeavour. As an applied cryptographer, Elisabeth Oswald works at the interface between mathematics and computer science. In her research, she focuses especially on the cryptographic aspects of cybersecurity.

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Mathematics supports new medical imaging techniques

While MRI, CT and x-ray already provide valuable insights into the interior of the body, the technology involving so-called magnetic particle imaging now promises new possibilities with high resolution, less acquisition time and no harmful radiation. In order to be able to draw conclusions about biological processes based on the observation of magnetic particles in a magnetic field, research has to rely on mathematics. Tram Thi Ngoc Nguyen is completing her doctoral thesis on this topic at the University of Klagenfurt.

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Using existing cellular networks for drones

It might soon become common for drones to transport goods and people, monitor disaster zones, and bring various forms of relief to areas that are difficult to access. Which communication infrastructure is best suited to facilitate this? Researchers at the University of Klagenfurt have explored potential challenges associated with the use of traditional cellular networks.

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Expanding the sensory skills of machines

Machines are already capable of many things. A certain set of sensors has already been fully developed. And yet, Harald Gietler, researcher at the Department of Smart Systems Technologies seeks to discover: “Who knows what kinds of sensors we will need in the future?” He is currently developing a new technology, which will allow machines to determine the location of other machines.

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Daniel Krenn and Annika Wille received their habilitation certificate

This year, two colleagues at our faculty defended successfully their habilitation thesis. Daniel Krenn, Department of Mathematics, received the venia docendi in Mathematics, and Annika Wille, Department of Mathematics Education, the venia docendi for Mathematics Education. The certificate was presented on June 17 by the Dean Gerhard Friedrich and the Vice Dean Clemens Heuberger.

Congratulations to our young colleagues for their excellent work and contributions to the field of Mathematics and Mathematics education!

New research project on spreadsheet errors (FWF / iDEOS)

Spreadsheets based on Microsoft Excel are omnipresent in most organizations. Errors in these spreadsheets can however be highly problematic and a number of examples exist where wrong calculations led to severe financial loss for companies. A new joint project between researchers of AAU and TU Graz will address these problems and develop novel means that help users to detect and remove errors from spreadsheets.

The research project “Interactive Spreadsheet Debugging (iDEOS)” is funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and will be led by Prof. Dietmar Jannach of the Department of Applied Informatics.

More information about debugging spreadsheets can be found in this research article.

We are looking for a doctoral student (75%) and a postdoctoral researcher (100%). Please contact Prof. Jannach in case you are interested. The project will last 3.5 years.

Generating images of ice and water on aircraft wings

Juliana Padilha Leitzke came to Klagenfurt from Brazil in order to write her doctoral thesis and to contribute to reducing the risk of undetected hazardous ice on aircraft wings. She expects to complete her doctoral thesis shortly.

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New technology to determine ice on aircraft

In-flight icing of aircraft wings represents one of the biggest safety risks in aviation. Researchers have developed new wireless sensors allowing improved detection of ice formation. Read more

Using mathematics to improve rail cargo planning

Every year, around 8,400 employees transport more than 100 million tonnes of goods on behalf of Rail Cargo Austria. 620 traction units and 21,500 goods wagons are required purely for rail cargo operations. In the case of highly complex logistics tasks such as this, the deployment of man and machine requires careful planning. Mathematicians working on a project funded by FFG are now developing algorithms designed to significantly enhance the planning process.

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