Electrical Engineering and Information Technology

Profile Area Information & Communication Technology

April 14th, 2021 | by

The Profile Area Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) plays an important role in all global challenges the institutional strategy of RWTH Aachen University addresses. Major topics of ICT such as Smart Systems, eHealth & AAL, Wireless Communication or Data Mining have an enormous research potential and a considerable practical relevance. On the following pages you will find detailed information about our objectives, issues, activities and results.

Audiovisual Virtual Worlds made in Aachen

Virtual reality (VR) is increasingly becoming a powerful and realistic tool for scientific and industrial applications. With it, “living” virtual worlds can be created. Users can interact with virtual agents (VAs). Convincing and dialogue-capable VAs are only conceivable through the realistic visual and acoustic reproduction of human behaviour.

In the profile area “Information & Communication Technology”, the Institute for Technical Acoustics and the Teaching and Research Area of Virtual Reality and Immersive Visualisation at RWTH are developing methods and algorithms for an audiovisual simulation of virtual worlds and especially VAs. The special feature here is the prioritisation of acoustic simulation.

The AUDICTIVE priority program, coordinated by RWTH professor Janina Fels, also deals with this topic and brings together the disciplines of cognitive psychology, acoustics and computer science.


Energy-Efficient Artificial Intelligence

A revolution in computer architecture – this is what scientists at RWTH are working on, among others, in the Information & Communication Technology (ICT) Profile Area.

Today’s computers are not powerful enough for many artificial intelligence (AI) applications. They consume too much energy for complex pattern recognition tasks. New types of “neuromorphic” computers promise significantly improved energy efficiency and performance: they are based on the architecture of the highly efficient human brain.

The brain handles cognitive applications and pattern recognition much more energy-efficiently than conventional computers. Pattern recognition requires handling very large amounts of data in real time. The analysis of these data sets (Big Data) is a central building block of cognitive functions that dominate all AI applications, such as autonomous driving, the Internet of Things or smart cities


From Hardware Trojan to Blackout

Prof. Leupers, Chair for Software for Systems on Silicon, and Prof. Monti, Chair of Automation of Complex Power Systems at the E.ON Energy Research Center, are researching new cyber security methods for energy networks and microprocessors.

By exploiting security holes in the operating system, attackers are able to take unauthorised control of the system, spy on data or paralyse the system. Recently, there have even been attacks on the hardware of computer systems, especially on the processor. The energy supply is also increasingly targeted by attacks: by manipulating the infrastructure as well as falsifying the measurement results, the regulation of the network can be permanently disrupted.

This problem is to be solved by a “Phasor Management Unit”, which serves to regulate renewable energies in the power grid and withstands attacks. Since the technical possibilities of attackers will continue to improve, the topic of hardware security will remain relevant to research.


Panning Beams and High Data Rates

Mobile internet: the possibility of surfing on the move with high quality and speed. This is leading to a growing demand for higher data transfer rates. To this end, mobile network operators are expanding their networks and introducing new mobile radio standards. Compliance with immission protection limits for high-frequency electromagnetic fields is of decisive importance here.

Scientists at the Institute of High Frequency Technology at RWTH Aachen University are conducting research to determine and estimate the immission caused by new mobile radio technologies. The focus is on the compatibility of immissions of electromagnetic fields with the environment and especially with humans. One of the new technical possibilities is the use of massive “multiple input multiple output”.

With this, signals can be strongly bundled and radiated in so-called beams. In this way, users can be supplied with high signal strengths up to the edge of the radio cell and at the same time the interference of other users can be reduced.


Source: ICT Science Magazine – You can find more information on these topics there.

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