Workshop on “Epistemic Extensions of Logic Programming” in Cruces, New Mexico

On September 20, 2019, the Semantic Systems research group will host a workshop on “Epistemic Extensions of Logic Programming” (EELP Workshop 2019) at the International Conference on Logic Programming (ICLP) in Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA.

Der Beitrag Workshop on “Epistemic Extensions of Logic Programming” in Cruces, New Mexico erschien zuerst auf University of Klagenfurt.

Source: AAU TEWI

Mathematics supports new medical imaging techniques

Tram Thi Ngoc Nguyen | Foto: aau/Müller

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.

“Those who are willing to work hard and have the patience to allow the field of mathematics to open up to them, are rewarded in the end: They gain profound knowledge of the beauty of this discipline”, Tram Thi Ngoc Nguyen tells us. She came to the University of Klagenfurt from Vietnam in order to pursue her doctoral studies here. Before this, she spent eight years working as a geophysicist in the industrial sector. She regards Klagenfurt as a location that is ideally suited to conducting research: “The city is very peaceful and surrounded by mountains and the lake, which offer a stunning backdrop. There is also less distraction here than elsewhere.” Asked to explain what defines the aesthetics of mathematics, she offers her thoughts on the matter: “One endeavours to get to the bottom of things, and is faced with clear proofs, which remove all ambiguity. For me, this clarity is beautiful.” When she first started her studies, she was primarily interested in chemistry and computer science. It took a while before she found her way into this special discipline.  Nonetheless, she enthusiastically encourages others to take this course, and adds: “Even if you believe that mathematics lies above your own intellectual capabilities: It is absolutely worthwhile to put in the effort. I still find mathematics quite demanding, even today, but I also find it very enjoyable.”

In line with this approach, she is currently working on her doctoral thesis with great intensity, with the aim of making a contribution to new medical imaging techniques. The so-called magnetic particle imaging (MPI), which will be deployed in future alongside other procedures such as CT, MRI or x-ray, looks set to offer new possibilities. MPI is a dynamic imaging modality for medical applications that has been recently introduced in 2005 by B. Gleich and J. Weizenecker. The technique involves introducing magnetic nanoparticles into the bloodstream of a patient and generating an image of particle concentration. This procedure is expected to permit very high resolution (less than 1 micrometre, which is better than MRI) and greater speed (just 0.1 second for acquisition time, also faster than MRI) when it comes to visualising the human blood flow. All that acts on the body from the outside is an oscillating magnetic field. The nanoparticles in the body subsequently behave according to the magnetic field causing the change in the particle magnetization, thus induces an electric current in a coil.  By measuring the induced voltage in multiple receive coils, it is possible to draw conclusions about the spatial concentration of the particles inside the body. Since the particles are distributed along the bloodstream of a patient, the particle concentration yields information on the blood flow.

Mathematics supports this process with the help of so-called “inverse problems”. These are used to trace the effect of a system (the measured voltage in the receive coils) back to an underlying cause (the particle concentration). The theoretical part of Tram Thi Ngoc Nguyen’s work is largely completed. What follows now is a series of experiments, which will mostly be conducted at a computer for the mathematical aspects. In the long term, Tram Thi Ngoc Nguyen hopes to remain in the world of academia once she has completed her doctoral studies, “as this offers great freedom to follow one’s individual interests.” Plenty of interesting questions remain, she believes, particularly in the case of inverse problems, which are extremely challenging or even unsolvable from today’s point of view.

 

 

A few words with … Tram Thi Ngoc Nguyen

What would you be doing now, if you had not become a scientist?

Possibly, I would have been still working in industry, of course, in the fields where I see the presence of Math.

Do your parents understand what it is you are working on?

I would say: It is not always necessary to clearly understand something to make a great support for.

What is the first thing you do when you arrive at the office in the morning?

Scan email, take a coffee and start the work that I had scheduled before

Do you have proper holidays? Without thinking about your work?

Yes, I try to set up regular holidays to recharge my energy.

However, the unsolved math questions naturally stay in my mind, and the answers sometime appear at the most unexpected moments, for instance, when I have just waken up in the morning or while taking a shower.

What calms you down?

To see the act of kindness.

Who do you regard as the greatest scientist in history, and why?

I find Bill Gates very inspiring. I admire Gates‘s work not only because of his technological innovations but also of his charity work. I think he is one of the best life-changing philanthropists.

What are you looking forward to?

Working on the next topic.

Studying mathematics

At Universität Klagenfurt, there are several ways of studying mathematics. Our standalone degree programmes in mathematics are:

Der Beitrag Mathematics supports new medical imaging techniques erschien zuerst auf University of Klagenfurt.

Source: AAU TEWI

Using existing cellular networks for drones

Aymen Fakhreddine | Foto: aau/Müller

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.

The communicative challenges facing drones are manifold: They need to communicate with a base station on the ground, but they must also be able to swap information with each other. This requires a pervasive wireless communication infrastructure, which traditional cellular networks are equipped to provide. Aymen Fakhreddine, a senior researcher in the research group established by Christian Bettstetter at the Department of Networked and Embedded Systems, recently presented results from his research into how this utilisation might be realised at the ACM Workshop on Micro Aerial Vehicle Networks, Systems, and Applications in Seoul.

In order to address this question, the study focused on the use of drones in the LTE advanced network. The outcome: The transmission rates (20 Mbit/sec from the base station to the drone) are already adequate for numerous applications. Nonetheless, it will be necessary to continuously improve the performance in order to broaden the set of functionalities. Researchers believe that the 5G network, currently still under construction or at the initial operating phase, carries great promise.

“At the moment, researchers have insufficient knowledge about the drone communication in real cellular networks”, Aymen Fakhreddine explains. Originally from Casablanca (Morocco), he studied in Madrid and Paris and has worked as a researcher in Singapore and Madrid. The research currently being conducted at the University of Klagenfurt and the Lakeside Labs GmbH is realised in cooperation with MAGENTA (formerly: T-Mobile) and allows for experimental studies in real cellular networks. The mobile telephony operator supports the researchers by providing infrastructure and data from the mobile network.

In answer to the question whether a separate communication network could be built specifically for drones in the near future, Fakhreddine responds as follows: “A brand new network represents significant costs. I believe that mobile operators will integrate drones into their existing infrastructure during the next five to ten years, before we can talk about the need/feasibility of a dedicated infrastructure.” For now, the focus is on preparing the drones for integration in a 5G network, which also includes dealing with the issue of standardisation.

Aymen Fakhreddine, Christian Bettstetter, Samira Hayat, Raheeb Muzaffar, and Driton Emini. Handover Challenges for Cellular-Connected Drones. In Proc. ACM Workshop on Micro Aerial Vehicle Networks, Systems, and Applications (DroNet), Seoul, Korea, June 21, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1145/3325421.3329770.

Aymen Fakhreddine | Foto: aau/Müller

Aymen Fakhreddine | Foto: aau/Müller

Studying technology at the Universität Klagenfurt

Research and teaching excellence is what sets Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt’s technology programmes apart. Established in 2007, the Faculty of Technical Sciences prides itself on its exceptional student-supervisor relationships, which facilitate continuous, profitable exchange between tutors and students at all levels. Our technology programmes, which have a large practical component and focus on our key strengths (e.g. Informatics, Information Technology and Technical Mathematics), open up a world of opportunities for our students. And if you decide to take a Joint or Double Degree, you can also gain new experience overseas by taking a semester abroad or attending a summer school. More

Der Beitrag Using existing cellular networks for drones erschien zuerst auf University of Klagenfurt.

Source: AAU TEWI

Expanding the sensory skills of machines

Harald Gietler | Foto: aau/Müller

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.

Harald Gietler specialises in electrical engineering. Using electromagnetic fields, for instance, he hopes to improve the localisation of autonomous systems, such as robots or drones. Explaining the mechanism involved, he tells us: “There’s a transmitter and a receiver. Between the two, an electromagnetic field is established, which helps the receiver to determine the location of the transmitter.”

This technology could be useful, for example, in production halls where several robots are actively deployed, or in the case of wireless charging platforms, which require drones to land as accurately as possible. When asked whether there are limits to using an electromagnetic field in this way, Gietler replies: “Yes, there are limits. However, within a range of just a few metres we can provide a position determination that is precise to the nearest centimetre. What counts is this: the closer, the better.”

Under the supervision of Hubert Zangl, professor at the Department of Smart Systems Technologies, Harald Gietler is working on this topic for his doctoral thesis. In the course of his scientific career, he recently had the opportunity to spend a semester abroad at the renowned ETH Zürich, where he focused on a different aspect of the functionality of this technology. Specifically, electromagnetic fields are subject to disturbance variables, which often take the form of conductive objects, usually made of metal. “In many cases, robots are also made of metal”, Harald Gietler points out. In order to be able to deliver correct results despite these disturbance variables, their effects must be taken into account in the mathematical model. For this, attention needs to be paid to both the respective metals and the design of the robots. Due to the intensive support received at ETH Zurich, Gietler and his supervising professor were able to achieve very good results within a very short time. After returning to Klagenfurt, he now wants to process these results further. What is more, he is already preparing for a further research period abroad.

It appears that Harald Gietler, who began his studies in Information and Communications Engineering after completing the secondary technical college in Klagenfurt and who is now about to complete his doctorate, is aiming straight for a scientific career. When asked, he elaborates: “Yes, research offers many advantages. One of them is freedom. Freedom to work on whatever interests you. And, to a large degree, freedom to do that wherever and whenever you want”. Harald Gietler also enjoys teaching. Whether his path will eventually lead him to a professorship, or whether he will be tempted by a job in industry, is still wide open. “At any rate, I’m not worried,” he explains. Thanks to his goal-oriented approach to work, there is certainly no need for concern.

A few words with … Harald Gietler

What would you be doing now, if you had not become a scientist?

I’ve never really thought about it. I’d probably be a freelancer.

Do your parents understand what it is you are working on?

Possibly not in every detail, but they certainly grasp the basics.

What is the first thing you do when you arrive at the office in the morning?

Chat with my colleagues over a cup of coffee.

Do you have proper holidays? Without thinking about your work?

Absolutely.

What makes you furious?

Injustice.

What calms you down?

Sports. It allows me to forget the worries of everyday life.

Who do you regard as the greatest scientist in history, and why?

I don’t think it’s possible to name a single person. Progress is based on the work of many. If I had to choose, I would mention James Clerk Maxwell, because his work has a significant influence on mine.

What embarrasses you?

My occasional impatience.

What are you afraid of?

Obtaining unsatisfactory results from experiments that have been planned far in advance.

What are you looking forward to?

My upcoming annual surfing trip to Portugal.

Harald Gietler | Foto: aau/Müller

Download: Harald Gietler | aau/Müller

Studying technology at the Universität Klagenfurt

Research and teaching excellence is what sets Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt’s technology programmes apart. Established in 2007, the Faculty of Technical Sciences prides itself on its exceptional student-supervisor relationships, which facilitate continuous, profitable exchange between tutors and students at all levels. Our technology programmes, which have a large practical component and focus on our key strengths (e.g. Informatics, Information Technology and Technical Mathematics), open up a world of opportunities for our students. And if you decide to take a Joint or Double Degree, you can also gain new experience overseas by taking a semester abroad or attending a summer school. More

Der Beitrag Expanding the sensory skills of machines erschien zuerst auf University of Klagenfurt.

Source: AAU TEWI

Reduced opening hours – “Assumption Day” (August 15)

Öffnungszeiten Bibliothek | Foto: Andrea Bem

The library will be CLOSED on Thu, August 15, 2019.

 

University members have unrestricted access to the library‘s reading rooms.

Registration for the 24-hour library is possible via the campus system under “My settings” >> 24-hour library.
Please register at least one day before you plan to use this service for the first time. Accounts are activated every day at midnight.

Der Beitrag Reduced opening hours – “Assumption Day” (August 15) erschien zuerst auf University of Klagenfurt.

Source: AAU TEWI

Enabling drones to fly long-durations autonomously

Christian Brommer | Foto: aau/Müller

In practical settings, ten minutes of flight time are generally not enough for most applications. A team comprised of researchers from the University of Klagenfurt (AAU) and NASA-JPL/California is working on ways to enable the autonomous flight of drones in several stages with intermittent charging phases. Christian Brommer, AAU doctoral student, has recently published the results of his research.

When Christian Brommer came to Klagenfurt from California, he brought a subtle, barely noticeable American accent with him. We met him to discuss his recent publication on the autonomous and long-duration flight of helicopter-drones, also known as rotorcraft UAS. It quickly became clear that the mission time of such small drones, roughly the size of a shoebox is even shorter than one might generally assume.

The origins of Brommer’s work can be traced back to the time he spent at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. The department of agricultural sciences and the Robotic Aerial Mobility Group located there are collaborating on a particular study case: Rotorcraft UAS equipped with multispectral cameras are deployed to patrol agricultural land by air. It is hoped that data collected in this way will allow biologists to determine the condition of the plants. To date, this task has been performed by stationary instruments, which have a limited reach, and light aircraft, which lead to significantly higher costs.

Helicopter-drones can offer an agile and cost-efficient alternative, though they have a disadvantage due to their size. Equipped with a battery the size of a typical smartphone, these helicopters can only fly for a few minutes at a time.

The goal the research team initially set itself was to allow this process to run autonomously. During the flight, the helicopter-drone should recognize when the battery is running low and return to a charging station in a timely manner. Having arrived there, the on-board computer transmits the recorded data to a basestation while the helicopter battery is automatically charged. Once recharged, the drone should be able to take off again. Using this mission plan, a plot of arable land can be accurately surveyed in several stages.

For this sequence to work smoothly, several challenges must be faced, as Christian Brommer explains: “We need sophisticated state-estimation algorithms that provide an accurate location of the helicopter to navigate and touch down precisely on the one square metre charging platform. Markings applied to the charging platform help us to achieve this. These are recognized by a camera and allow greater precision for the navigation required during the landing phase. Our algorithms for the state estimation combine data from several sensors to determine the best possible position of the helicopter. While the navigation of drones in laboratory environments and the aid of motion capture systems are already very accurate, once we are outdoors, numerous factors such as wind, changes in air pressure or lighting conditions that affect the sensors make it more difficult to estimate an accurate location. Especially because the usual GPS positioning only allows an accuracy of about five meters.

The results of the study were recently presented at the internationally renowned IROS conference (IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems) and in the Journal of Field Robotics (JFR), in a special issue focusing on agricultural robotics. Having first met Stephan Weiss at NASA’s research centre in California several years ago, Christian Brommer has recently joined him in Klagenfurt, to pursue his doctoral degree here. Brommer grew up in Werne, a small town in the northwest of Germany and is the first one in his family who pursues his PhD. “But life in the countryside also laid strong foundations for my subsequent move into technology and I could always count on the support of my family”, he told us during the interview. He studied at the University of Applied Sciences in Dortmund and then went to JPL to complete his Master’s degree. The initial 6-month contract turned into three and a half years, which had a lasting effect on him: “At JPL you have the opportunity to work with the very best in each discipline. The intensive concentration of knowledge in one place gives you the feeling of having many more opportunities to choose from.” Stephan Weiss, professor at the Department of Smart Systems Technologies at the University of Klagenfurt is widely regarded as the driving force in the area of state estimation for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). As a member of Weiss’s research group, Christian Brommer is ideally placed to take his next steps in the world of science.

Christian Brommer, Danylo Malyuta, Daniel R. Hentzen, and Roland Brockers. Long-duration autonomy for small rotorcraft UAS including recharging. In Proc. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2018. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8594111

Danylo Malyuta, Christian Brommer, Daniel Hentzen, Thomas Stastny, Roland Siegwart and Roland Brockers. Long-Duration Fully Autonomous Operation of Rotorcraft UAS for Remote-Sensing Data Acquisition. Journal of Field Robotics (JFR) Special Issue on Agricultural Robotics. DOI:10.1002/rob.21898

A few words with … Christian Brommer

What would you be doing now, if you had not become a scientist?

I think I would still be working in the field of electrical engineering, in an R&D department, as this fascinated me even at a very young age. Prior to taking up my studies I worked as a DJ, but I gave that up when I entered university.

Do your parents understand what it is you are working on?

My family is very technically minded. When I describe my research topic schematically, my family can easily follow what I am working on.

What is the first thing you do when you arrive at the office in the morning?

I start up my laptop, get myself a coffee, scan my e-mails for important messages and then work through my to-do list.

Do you have proper holidays? Without thinking about your work?

That’s actually quite tricky. I’d like to say yes, but I do think about my work during my time off. When I go on vacation, I make a real effort to devote that time to my family and my girlfriend, who are excellent at distracting me from my work.

What makes you furious?

Not much, I generally stay calm.

What calms you down?

Living in California for three and a half years, I rarely ever saw rain. As a result, I find rainy weather very relaxing at the moment. Cooking and sports are also great.

Who do you regard as the greatest scientist in history, and why?

I would not single out one particular person who made all the difference or made everything possible. In my field, many scientists contribute to the progress, “standing on the shoulders of giants”, as Isaac Newton once said. We all benefit from the small steps that someone else took before us. I can tell you, however, that the first book on robotics that gave me more profound introduction to the theory was by Peter Cork.

What are you looking forward to?

Receiving confirmation that a scientific article I have laboured over for a long time has finally been accepted or has been published is always a joyful moment, as it represents the completion of one of the stages along my path.

Studying technology at the Universität Klagenfurt

Research and teaching excellence is what sets Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt’s technology programmes apart. Established in 2007, the Faculty of Technical Sciences prides itself on its exceptional student-supervisor relationships, which facilitate continuous, profitable exchange between tutors and students at all levels. Our technology programmes, which have a large practical component and focus on our key strengths (e.g. Informatics, Information Technology and Technical Mathematics), open up a world of opportunities for our students. And if you decide to take a Joint or Double Degree, you can also gain new experience overseas by taking a semester abroad or attending a summer school. More

Der Beitrag Enabling drones to fly long-durations autonomously erschien zuerst auf University of Klagenfurt.

Source: AAU TEWI

Mass Customization 4.0 – New Research Project Starting in Fall 2019

Gerhard Leitner starts working on a new project in the area of intelligent user interfaces / recommender technologies together with Cipriano Forza (Project Coordinator) from the University of Padova/Campus Vicenza.

The Mass Customization 4.0 project is funded by the Interreg V-A Italy-Austria program for two and a half years, starting in Fall 2019.

The focus of this project is the construction sector. The goal is to support small and mid-sized enterprises, as well as their customers, in the vast variety of decisions that have to be made when building a new house, when renovating, or when enhancing an old house with smart technology. Such decisions could, for example, involve what kind of thermal isolation fits the constructional conditions or how to make a particular building smart. The core outcome of the project will be a house-configurator which is based on a comprehensive knowledge base. The configurator will be equipped with an appropriate user interface which enable users to describe their living conditions, needs and requirements. According to the input, the system will provide recommendations and suitable solutions.

Der Beitrag Mass Customization 4.0 – New Research Project Starting in Fall 2019 erschien zuerst auf University of Klagenfurt.

Source: AAU TEWI

AYUDO – New Research Project Starting in October

Gerhard Leitner starts working on new healthcare project together with colleagues Claudia Steinberger (Project Coordinator), Christian Kop, and Peter Schartner from the Department of Applied Informatics.

The AYUDO project – Spanish for “I support” – is funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) for three years, starting in October 2019.

The aim with the project is to explore ways to support chronically ill people who depend on regular medication. The general idea is to use state-of-the-art technology such as smartphones and conversational devices (for instance Amazon Echo, a.k.a “Alexa”) and to combine such devices with medical data – which is currently distributed over diverse systems – into one easy-to-use multimodal platform which helps patients in managing and controlling their daily medication intake.

Der Beitrag AYUDO – New Research Project Starting in October erschien zuerst auf University of Klagenfurt.

Source: AAU TEWI

Ekaterina Köngstorfer’s Bachelor Thesis Presented at Workshop at CHI 2019 (Glasgow, United Kingdom)

Ekaterina Köngstorfer, who graduated in Fall 2018, wrote her bachelor thesis with the Interactive Systems Group (Department of Informatics Systems) on Human-Drone-Interaction. An abridged version of her thesis was presented on May 5 at the International workshop on Human-Drone Interaction of CHI 2019 in Glasgow. Congratulations!

Publication: M. Hitz, E. Königstorfer, E. Peshkova: Exploring Cognitive Load of Single and Mixed Mental Models Gesture Sets for UAV Navigation. In: Proc. iHDI workshop @ CHI 2019, Glasgow, May 5, 2019. Extended Abstracts of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’19, Stephen Brewster, Geraldine Fitzpatrick, Anna Cox, Vassilis Kostakos, eds., ACM), 2019. https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3290607

Der Beitrag Ekaterina Köngstorfer’s Bachelor Thesis Presented at Workshop at CHI 2019 (Glasgow, United Kingdom) erschien zuerst auf University of Klagenfurt.

Source: AAU TEWI

Ekaterina Köngstorfer’s Bachelor Thesis Presented at Workshop at CHI 2019 (Glasgow, UK)

Ekaterina Köngstorfer, who graduated in Fall 2018, wrote her bachelor thesis with the Interactive Systems Group (Department of Informatics Systems) on Human-Drone-Interaction. An abridged version of her thesis was presented on May 5 at the International workshop on Human-Drone Interaction of CHI 2019 in Glasgow. Congratulations!

Publication: M. Hitz, E. Königstorfer, E. Peshkova:  Exploring Cognitive Load of Single and Mixed Mental Models Gesture Sets for UAV Navigation. In: Proc. iHDI workshop @ CHI 2019, Glasgow, May 5, 2019. Extended Abstracts of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’19, Stephen Brewster, Geraldine Fitzpatrick, Anna Cox, Vassilis Kostakos, eds., ACM), 2019. https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3290607

Der Beitrag Ekaterina Köngstorfer’s Bachelor Thesis Presented at Workshop at CHI 2019 (Glasgow, UK) erschien zuerst auf University of Klagenfurt.

Source: AAU TEWI