Computer Science in Austria – Data from a first Call

Seven Austrian universities teach computer science in in total 83 courses.
The largest course is Software & Information Engineering at the Technical University of Vienna with 1710 students. The currently smallest course is Bioinformatics at the University of Linz with 16 students.
The research areas comprise some classical areas like software engineering, visual computing and research on parallel and distributed systems, more application oriented topics like Aerospace Research in Salzburg an reach up to areas that – at the first glance – don’t really sound like computer science at all. As an example, biomedical engineering was just recently transferred to the Faculty of Informations an the Technical University Graz.
That’s only one of many indicators, that computer science is becoming more and more a crucial element in other sciences rather than just a tool.

Another indicator for the diversity of computer science may be seen in the gender equality of students. The most male class is Scientific Computing at the University Vienna with over 91 percent of male students. On the other side, almost half of the students at the Didactics of Computer Science class at the University of Vienna are female. The overall ratio of male and feamle students is 80:20 – computer science is more female than other technical studies.

This overview was part of the first media seminar of informatik_austria. Other topics were an overview on Software Engineering and Verifictaion research by Roderick Bloem, and a crash course on Visual Computing by Werner Purgathofer.

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Chatty search engines and artificial intelligence

Peter Norvig, Speaker at the Gödel Lecture of the Faculty of Informatics at the Technical University of Vienna and guest of the Logic Lounge on Friday talked to journalists in Vienna on more intelligent and talkative search engines. Search needs to become more interactive to make it easier for searching users to find suitable search terms. The current recommendation-mechanisms focus too much on single terms; search engines need to learn to deal with more complex requests in a meaningful way.
The articles on Peter Norvig can be read here:
Artificial Intelligence was also a topic in “Reality Check” at the radiostation FM4. The report is also available online.

The LogicLounge is back

Peter Norvig is visiting Vienna as a guest of the Faculty of Informatics of the Vienna University of Technology. The 59-year old computer scientist was Head of Research at the NASA Ames Research Center and has been working at Google since 2001, since 2006 as a Head of Research. He authored several publications on Artificial Intelligence that have been labeled by criticists as “will deservedly dominate the field for some time” or “Possibly the best hardcore programming book ever”. Norvig also created public online-classes on Artificial Intelligence.

Gerhard Widmer is professor for Computational Perception an the Johannes Kepler University in Linz. His research focuses on Artificial Intelligence and informatics in music (Intelligent Music Processing, Music Information Retrieval). Widmer was the 2009 Wittgenstein-laureate; publications like Wired or New York Times wrote about his work.

On March 27, Norvig and Widmer will talk about the question “How artificial is intelligence?” The discussion will be moderated by Elke Ziegler (Ö1) and starts at 17:00. The venue is Café Heuer at Karlsplatz.

Norvig will have another public lecture in Vienna on March 26. He is this year’s Gödel Lecturer in the series of Vienna Gödel Lectures of the Faculty of Informatics at the Vienna University of Technology.

The LogicLounge is the sequel to the events series from the Vienna Summer of Logic and at the same time the starting point for the initiative informatik_austria. Details on the event can be found in the events section.

informatik_austria is a new networking platform of computer scientists at Austrian universities. The main targets of the initiative are to clarify the importance of informatics for modern society, to create attention for the relevance of research in Austria and to create points of contact for the press and public. A first step is this website, where research institutions will publish frequent updates. Relevant events and conferences for the informatics crowd will be posted in the events section.