February 12, 2020 / Ramin Hedeshy

Understanding the meaning of data

Prof. Steffen Staab becomes new Cyber Valley Professor for "Analytic Computing" at the University of Stuttgart [Photo: Max Kovalenko]

Prof. Steffen Staab will be appointed to the Cyber Valley Professorship "Analytic Computing" at the University of Stuttgart on February 1, 2020 and will drive forward the establishment of the new Institute for Artificial Intelligence planned for 2020. With the internationally recognised and much-cited expert for databases and information systems, four Cyber Valley scientists are now based at the University of Stuttgart. Staab's main focus is on semantic technologies, a branch of research that makes the meaning of data understandable.

Prof. Dr. Wolfram Ressel, Rector of the University of Stuttgart, warmly welcomes Prof. Steffen Staab: "With his focus on information systems and data analysis, Prof. Staab will further strengthen research into intelligent systems at the University of Stuttgart and in Cyber Valley Baden-Württemberg. We are particularly pleased that Staab's decision to join the University of Stuttgart is also based on the interdisciplinary nature of our university. This confirms the special profile of the University of Stuttgart as the "Stuttgart Way", which stands for the consistent interdisciplinary networking of complementary disciplines and the integration of engineering, natural sciences, humanities and social sciences".

Staab himself expects Cyber Valley and the University of Stuttgart to offer a large number of opportunities for cooperation in order to advance his research in the field of semantic technologies, both in basic and applied research, and also to question the effects on society: "Cyber Valley is one of the earliest and largest initiatives in Germany to strengthen research on artificial intelligence. In addition, computer science at the University of Stuttgart is excellently positioned, which is expressed, among other things, in two clusters of excellence, and there is an established culture of interdisciplinary cooperation between the technical sciences, the humanities and the social sciences," emphasises the scientist.

Research focus on semantic technologies

Staab's research area of semantic technologies aims to understand the meaning of data and information. This meaning can be represented in the form of conceptual models and ontologies. They are the basis for knowledge networks that allow the computer to handle data in a meaningful way.

In order to find meaningful patterns algorithmically, analytical methods from text and data mining or information extraction (for example, by means of deep learning) are used. Connections between data and their use in context (for example by a smartphone) can also be investigated in this way. In this way, knowledge nets can be found in data. These are particularly meaningful in the context of social networks.

The largest construct for communicating data with meaning is the World Wide Web. Web Science investigates how networks of people and knowledge are created on the Web, how people deal with them and what consequences this has for all of us. "The Web is a meaning machine that I want to understand through my research," says Staab.

About Prof. Steffen Staab

Steffen Staab, born 1970 in Würzburg, Germany, studied computer science and computational linguistics at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1998 he received his doctorate in computer science from the University of Freiburg. He then worked at the Institute for Human Factors and Technology Management (IAT) at the University of Stuttgart and at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO before moving to the University of Karlsruhe (today: KIT). In 2004, Staab was appointed Professor for Databases and Information Systems at the University of Koblenz-Landau, where he founded the Institute for Web Science and Technologies (WeST) in 2009. Since March 2015 he also holds a Chair for Web and Computer Science at the University of Southampton.

Staab became a Fellow of the European Association for Artificial Intelligence in 2014. In 2018 he received the Academy Award of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate.

Four Cyber Valley scientists at the University of Stuttgart

With Prof. Steffen Staab, four Cyber Valley scientists have now been appointed to the University of Stuttgart: At the Institute for Visualization and Interactive Systems since 2018 Jun. Prof. Michael Sedlmair has been working on the topics Augmented and Virtual Reality. Dr. Tian Qiu has been head of the Cyber Valley research group "Biomedical Microsystems" at the Institute of Physical Chemistry (IPC) since 2019 and is funded by the Vector Foundation. Since the beginning of 2020 Alexander Brem has held the professorship 'Entrepreneurship in Technology and Digitization'.

About the Cyber Valley

Cyber Valley is Europe's largest research consortium in the field of artificial intelligence with partners from science and industry. The partnership strengthens research, teaching and entrepreneurship in the fields of machine learning, computer vision and robotics as well as the links between these scientific fields. Partners are the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS), the University of Stuttgart, the University of Tübingen, the State of Baden-Württemberg, the Fraunhofer Society and seven industrial partners.

Source: https://www.uni-stuttgart.de/universitaet/aktuelles/presseinfo/Die-Bedeutung-von-Daten-verstehen/

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