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TU Berlin Awarded Three ERC Grants

Thursday, 03. May 2018

Press release no. 73/2018

Two TUB scholars receive the prestigious Advanced Grant, with a Starting Grant awarded to a researcher transferring to TU Berlin

The European Research Council (ERC) has provided funding for three further TU Berlin scholars via the coveted ERC grants. Mathematician Professor Dr. Peter Bürgisser of Faculty II (Mathematics and Natural Sciences) has been awarded approximately 2.3 million euros and Professor Giuseppe Caire of Faculty IV (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) approximately 2.5 million euros in the form of ERC Advanced Grants. Professor Dr. Begüm Demir received an ERC Starting Grant worth approximately 1.5 million euros to move from the University of Trento, Italy, also joining TU Berlin's Faculty IV.   

"Competition is strong for the highly remunerated ERC grants", Professor Dr. Christian Thomsen, president of TU Berlin, points out. "We are therefore all the more delighted that three scholars from our university have been awarded this special accolade. This success represents not least the vindication of the newly developed ERC strategy which we initiated at TU Berlin six months ago."

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"TU Berlin provides me not only with a stimulating research environment, but also the infrastructure and support necessary to develop a research team", explains  Professor Begüm Demir who has relocated to TU Berlin from Italy with her "BigEarth" project. "We are currently seeing an enormous increase in the quantity of data from satellite-aided Earth observations. The European Space Agency's Copernicus Mission's Sentinel satellites alone, for example, provide 7 terabytes of data per day. Such information concerning the Earth could be of great value – for instance in the area of climate research. The sheer quantity of data means that at the moment the images cannot really be analyzed in a meaningful way. It is my goal, using an interdisciplinary approach based on machine learning, Big Data Management and satellite-aided remote sensing, to develop scalable and precise image analysis algorithms capable of evaluating a massive quantity of data within a reasonable period of time."  

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Professor Giuseppe Caire came to TU Berlin in April 2014 with a Humboldt Professorship and has since then been head of the Chair of Communications and Information Theory. He is considered one of the leading global experts in the area of communications engineering and information theory. His research on coded modulation has had a lasting impact on wireless communications and his findings form the basis of modern technologies such as WLAN connections and mobile communications transmissions. "The new project is concerned with making data-intensive content available to Internet users in a virtually completely scalable and cost-effective fashion. In other words a paradigm shift from 'gigabits per second for some - to terabytes per month for everyone'", says Professor Caire. Internet usage trends are very much in the direction of mobile "on demand" usage – meaning data must be available at any time and any place. The problem: The consumption pattern of users does not match with the data schedules of the mobile network operators. "Our objective: We want to be able to provide every user with approximately one terabyte of data per month instead of a few gigabits. To achieve this objective we are exploiting new developments from network coding and caching. Caching refers to a resource-efficient option for the intermediate storage of data at strategic sites within the network", Professor Caire explains.

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The main focus of the research of mathematician and theoretical computer scientist  Professor Peter Bürgisser is on algorithmic algebra and algebraic complexity theory. Professor Bürgisser joined TU Berlin as professor of algorithmic algebra in 2013. "In this new project I am combining three separate areas from mathematics and theoretical computer science: computational complexity, algebraic geometry and numerics. We are using this approach in an attempt to solve mathematical problems which have thus far been considered impregnable. These include problems of invariant theory, first formulated by the famous mathematician David Hilbert some hundred years ago", says Professor Bürgisser. He sees the main advantage of Berlin as a location for research as lying in the abundance of highly qualified colleagues from the three universities and various non-university research institutes with whom he can engage in an intensive exchange of ideas. 

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Further information can be obtained from:

Prof. Dr. Begüm Demir
TU Berlin
Tel.: 030 314-76672

Prof. Giuseppe Caire, Ph.D.
Chair of Communications and Information Theory
TU Berlin

Prof. Dr. Peter Bürgisser
Chair of Algorithmic Algebra
TU Berlin
Tel.: 030 314-75902

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