New Research Training Group approved at TU Hamburg

German Research Foundation supports "CAUSE" project for self-explanatory systems


How can complex cyber-physical systems that underlie applications in the power grid, cashless payment or public transportation be made easier to understand? A joint project of the Hamburg University of Technology, the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg and the University of Bremen will be working on this question in the future. As announced by the German Research Foundation (DFG) on Friday, the research training group "CAUSE - Concepts and Algorithms for - and Usage of - Self-Explaining Digitally Controlled Systems" will be funded with around eleven million euros over a period of five years.

One strength of this project: the distribution across three locations, which is unusual for research training groups, makes it possible to bundle strong research expertise from the field of computer science. In addition, the research training group's doctoral students learn how to research and work in a geographically distributed team right from the start.

"The new Research Training Group is dedicated to the important topic of the explainability of computer science-based technical systems. It strengthens our research field "Cyber Physical and Medical Systems" on the one hand, as well as our partnership with the northern German universities which also put emphasis on technology that has an impact on society on the other hand" says TU Hamburg President Andreas Timm-Giel. "I would like to congratulate the researchers involved."

Hamburg's Science Senator Katharina Fegebank says: "I would like to congratulate TU Hamburg and the researchers involved on this great success. The approval of the Research Training Group is an important confirmation of the successful scientific cooperation between our universities in the north and proof of the great development of the TU Hamburg. The benefit in the direct application of computer science-based systems for renewable energies is a win-win situation for sustainable research and a climate-friendly economy."

In terms of content, the aim of the college is to make complex systems more comprehensible for users and developers: To this end, the doctoral students will work on a joint example that deals with the control of wind farms in a modern power grid - from digital hardware to system software. One aim of the research is, for example, to support operators in the event of unexpected disruptions or to design the system more efficiently. The holistic view of the system will be used to derive instructions for users, which could be displayed in the control room of the wind farm, for example, to simplify handling in the event of unexpected faults.

Speaker of the new Research Training Group is Görschwin Fey of the Hamburg University of Technology. Co-speakers are Prof. Dr. Rolf Drechsler of the University of Bremen and Prof. Dr. Martin Fränzle of the University of Oldenburg. Prof. Dr. Heiko Falk and Prof. Dr. Sibylle Schupp in Hamburg, Prof. Dr. Michael Beetz and Prof. Dr. Rainer Koschke in Bremen and the newly appointed Prof. Dr. Verena Klös, Prof. Dr. Sebastian Lehnhoff and Prof. Dr. Heike Wehrheim in Oldenburg are also involved in the Research Training Group.

As part of the research and qualification program, eight to ten scientists in each cohort can obtain their doctorate in computer science. The first cohort will begin at the end of 2024, with a second cohort expected to follow in 2025.

About the funding

In Research Training Groups, universities support researchers in the early stages of their careers; the DFG supports these institutions for a maximum of nine years. The aim of the research training groups is to prepare doctoral students intensively for academic work and to qualify them for the academic job market in thematically focused research programs.

TUHH - Public Relations Office
Kaja Weber

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