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What is Computer Science?

Computer science is an essential part of our daily lives, even though we are often not aware of it. Behind a simple search on Google, complex procedures are hidden and efficient route planning with a navigation device is still one of the most difficult tasks of our time. Modern cars run only when the built-in software programs function properly and even the life functions of critically ill patients in intensive care units of our hospitals are controlled by computers. At our institute, a multitude of people is busy trying to improve the technologies currently in use and to also develop new and better methods and applications. The basis of all computer science technologies are algorithms. An algorithm is a mathematical representation of a real problem. The ability of a robot to safely move from A to B in an unknown environment is transmitted by an algorithm. The complexity of the board game mill can be accurately represented by an algorithm.

Our professors and academic staff in the sections of theoretical computer science are dealing with such issues every day. In our sections associated to practical computer science these algorithms are tested for their applicability and optimized for specific deployments. The research group ‘Multimedia, Simulation, Virtual Reality’ is currently working on a system that allows them to monitor sleep and determine whether it is restful or not. The section of ‘Enterprise Information Systems’ is racking its brains as to how to teach a computer to identify in a text the number 1950 as the year of birth of a person and not as the number of garden gnomes in a village. Our section ‘Autonomous Intelligent Systems’ develops robots that are able to independently mix a cocktail.

Assistant Professor Thomas Schultz is a researcher in Visualization and Medical Image Analysis

But ethical issues associated with our ongoing development towards an information society also play a vital role in our institute. Assistant Professor Delphine Christin wants to ensure that the individual need for privacy on the Internet is respected for everyone. And then there's the seemingly mundane task of technical computer science, to design the hardware of computers in a way that they can keep up with the current requirements. In their classes, the professors and lecturers of our institute pass their current, individual knowledge to our students. That's the particularity of a university study.

To understand the current research activities and to be active later in research and development, our undergraduate students learn in their first semesters the mathematical foundations and the basic concepts of computer science. For this reason, it is important not only to like programming, but also to bring along a certain degree of mathematical talent. Because of its diversity, computer science is a discipline that provides sufficient space for development and ensures a lot of creative freedom. Therefore, computer science is also suitable for prospective students who, at the beginning of their studies, do not yet have a specific career in mind.

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