Research Cluster “Complex Systems Engineering”
Complex Systems Engineering" is a holistic approach to designing, implementing, understanding and mastering complex systems. Both functional (“What should the system perform?”) and non-functional (“How—e.g. at what cost or with what quality—should the service be performed?”) requirements be considered. All these requirements are to be incorporated at an early stage in the development cycle in order to achieve high technical quality as well as usability and safety of the resulting software systems.
Research focus: Information Governance Technologies
The Department of Informatikcs has developed an interdisciplinary research focus Information Governance Technologies which focuses on technical, legal, economic and social aspects of the development and use of IT. This is not only about technical concepts, but also about processes, or more generally about a framework for the use of IT, which is not only driven by technology, but also considers social, ethical and legal questions right from the start.
Many tasks and processes in very different areas of life in a world strongly influenced by technology are becoming more and more demanding and complex. As a rule, this also increases the complexity of the associated information and communication systems (ICT systems). New areas of application are often only made possible by such powerful and complex technologies—such as large software and database systems or communication and Internet technology.
Overall, however, this not only complicates the architecture of the systems concerned, but also their interaction and human use, and often makes them more susceptible to errors and security problems. Research in the field of complex systems engineering aims to counteract such a "spiral of increasing complexity" with adapted technical concepts and suitable software tools.
Distributed, Networked and Mobile Systems
Almost all information technology applications and systems are distributed nowadays. The associated ICT systems must be implemented and operated using suitable technical means in a functional, efficient, safe and user-friendly manner. To this end, suitable technical solutions are being developed that take into account the increasing requirements of open distributed and networked, increasingly also mobile applications in a wide variety of application areas. Aspects of distribution, security, communication as well as strategic application goals, methods of information management and exchange as well as openness, usability and contextualization are taken into account and integrated into a uniform, application-oriented, structured process.
Applications of such systems can be found in very different areas: from Internet applications to logistics, industrial production processes to distributed business applications. This often involves dealing with distributed (often large volumes of) data, questions of distributing process and data management (e.g. in cloud computing) or distributed communication and cooperation infrastructures or service-oriented and/or mobile applications.
Big Data, Cloud Computing, Security
Two different ICT system components can be distinguished: The actual application system and its basic networked and distributed technical infrastructure. Both require specific architectures, design principles and development methods to encapsulate the inherent complexity of these systems so that they can take on increasingly demanding communication and data processing tasks without unnecessarily confronting users with their complexity.
In the field of big data, for example, very large amounts of data are obtained from various (often distributed) sources, stored elsewhere (e.g. in the cloud), analyzed, and the corresponding analysis results are finally made available where they can be used as profitably as possible.
Basically, the complexity of infrastructures and basic technologies for the provision of modern applications is a consequence of the complex application requirements. Accordingly, these basic technologies must not only guarantee the efficiency of the systems from a non-functional point of view, but also meet the high requirements resulting from the distribution, heterogeneity and dynamics of system landscapes. The (usually not insignificant) security aspects of such systems then also play a decisive role for various application areas (e.g. e-business).
Within the Complex Systems Engineering focus, the Software Engineering division deals with important aspects of the implementation of large, distributed, secure and complex information and communication systems. The methods and concepts of computer science on different abstraction levels of the design and the realization of such systems are needed. These range from communication technology for transporting the messages and information to be sent, to system technology services to support the handling of large and complex data volumes, distributed applications and system environments, to software programming and design tools and architectures for large and complex software systems, which—last but not least—can only be used in reality if they are also secure.