News in detail

New impulse for digitalization research

New impulse for digitalization research: Berlin's universities have started the new winter semester with five additional professorships at the Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF). With topics such as water supply in large cities, the effects of chats and blogs on learning processes, the interpretability of algorithms and the energy consumption of electric vehicles, the ECDF is expanding its interdisciplinary portfolio.

Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Mayweg has been appointed Professor for "Digital Knowledge Management in Study and Teaching" at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Three new scientists have started their work at the Technische Universität Berlin: Prof. Dr. Andrea Cominola is the new professor for "Smart Water Networks". Prof. Sangyoung Park, PhD has taken over the professorship for the field "Development of Digitalized Traffic Technologies / Smart Mobility Systems". Prof. Dr. Tilo Schwalger holds the professorship "Data Assimilation in Neuroscience". Prof. Dr. Felix Biessmann has the "Data Science" professorship at Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin.

"Our five new professors clearly demonstrate the great diversity of subject areas, research questions and nationalities that come together in the ECDF. Here, excellent scientists from all over the world find room for their ideas on how digitalization can be researched, designed and implemented," says Prof. Dr. Odej Kao, Speaker of ECDF.

About the Newly Appointed Professors

Prof. Dr. Andrea Cominola
Professor Dr. Andrea Cominola’s research concerns the so-called “water-smart society”. It focuses on the modeling and management of water and energy demand, the detection of leakages and cyber-physical anomalies, behavior modeling, data mining and machine learning. The 29-year-old Italian was born and raised in a small town near Milan. It was then only natural for him to enroll at the nearby Politecnico di Milano, where he studied environmental engineering. In 2017, for his doctoral studies, he shifted his focus to computer science applied to water management problems: as part of an EU project, he researched effective management strategies and advanced monitoring technologies to increase the reliability and efficiency of water supply and demand in large cities.

Prof. Dr. Felix Biessmann
Felix Biessmann is professor for "Data Science" at the Beuth University of Applied Sciences in Berlin and at ECDF. After studies in human cognition at Osnabrück, Zurich and Tübingen, Felix Biessmann turned to the field of machine cognition for his doctorate, which he completed at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Tübingen, and Technische Universität Berlin. Following a year of postdoctoral studies with Dr. Klaus-Robert Müller, professor of machine learning at TU Berlin, Felix Biessmann was then himself appointed professor at Korea University, Seoul. Back in Berlin he worked from 2014 to September 2018 as a "Machine Learning Scientist" in the Amazon Research Laboratory for Machine Learning. Parallel to his work at Amazon, Felix Biessmann has worked on projects with the German Cancer Society (DKG) and the Science Center Berlin (WZB). "In both projects, the research goal was to support people in their work with methods of machine learning and thus allow more efficient processes in categorizing texts. A particular focus of his work was on the interpretability of algorithms," he explains. He will continue to focus his research on this area in the future.  

Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Mayweg
Elisabeth Mayweg has held the Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF) Professorship of Digital Knowledge Management in Higher Education at the Department of Education Studies of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin since 1 October 2018. Mayweg conducts research into the effects of various forms of digitalization in teaching-learning contexts. Now 36, she studied psychology at the University of Münster, where she completed her doctorate and habilitation. She spent a research stay during her postdoc period as a DFG research fellow at the Columbia University Teachers College, New York.  In the context of her junior professorship, Elisabeth Mayweg would like to focus on discourse-based teaching and learning in digital environments. “What interests me most here are the specific characteristics of synchronous and asynchronous forms of media communication – such as chat, instant messaging, video messaging, forums and blogs – and how these affect the shape and substance of learning processes among students”. In this work, she aims to develop and implement approaches to support knowledge and skill acquisition in collaborative online learning. The connection of the professorship to the ECDF will provide her with an inspiring exchange with her colleagues about new and interesting possibilities of digital technology and its use in teaching and learning contexts. “As my research area is university education and this affects all fellow academics, I am sure there will be numerous opportunities for collaboration,” Professor Mayweg says. 

Prof. Sangyoung Park, PhD
Prof. Sangyoung Park, PhD, has held the junior professorship "Smart Mobility Systems" at the Technische Universität Berlin and the ECDF since October 16, 2018. Born and raised in Daegu, Korea, he studied and earned his doctorate in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Seoul National University. In 2014 he moved to the Technical University of Munich as a postdoc. His research focused on the energy status and energy consumption of battery-powered mobile systems such as smartphones, tablets and electric vehicles. "Today, hundreds of individual battery cells are connected in series for a car battery. The cells are subject to manufacturing variations as well as non-uniform operating conditions. It is a very complicated system, which requires monitoring and management. If a single battery cell no longer functions, this in turn affects the overall system", says Professor Park.

Prof. Dr. Tilo Schwalger
Since 1 October, Dr. Tilo Schwalger has held the Junior Professorship in Data Assimilation in Neuroscience, in the Bernstein Network Computational Science Berlin (BCCN). His junior research group is based at Technische Universität Berlin and is associated with the Einstein Center Digital Future.Professor Schwalger, who moved to Berlin from Lausanne, has focused in his research to date on linking the microscopic description of brain activity with the mesoscopic or macroscopic description of networks of many nerve cells in a mathematical model. “I am very pleased to hold the professorship, because it gives me ideal conditions for my research, both in mathematical and theoretical terms and in terms of applications and potential for experimental collaborations,” says Tilo Schwalger. “Berlin is one of the best locations for computational neuroscience worldwide – that I already know from my doctoral studies at Humboldt-Universität and at the BCCN. Association with the ECDF also opens up additional new and attractive possibilities for me with regard to collaboration and knowledge sharing.”