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What happens when algorithms predict the future?

Published on 7. Januar 2020
More data and better algorithms: predictions are becoming increasingly more accurate and this is changing insurance policies, medicine, and police work. 

Elena Esposito is studying the effects of algorithmic predictions on society. Photo: Bielefeld University/M. Adamski
Police that can predict future crimes: it sounds like the plot from the science fiction thriller ‘Minority Report’ in which Tom Cruise hunts murderers before they can commit their crimes. Such a scenario is not that far distant from reality—already today, for example, the police are using computers to prevent burglaries. ‘Predictive policing’ aims to use enormous datasets and complex algorithms to predict offences as accurately as possible. Similar developments are to be found in insurance and medicine. Here as well, more data and better algorithms are making more accurate and more individualized predictions. Car insurance, for example, is using data collected on driving style when calculating tariffs; and cancer medicine is promising personalized treatment methods for patients with specific genetic characteristics.[Weiterlesen]
Posted by HMetzen in General
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Developing drugs that activate defences against tumours

Published on 20. Dezember 2019
Bielefeld University to coordinate European research network

Der Chemiker Prof. Dr. Norbert Sewald koordiniert das Forschungsnetzwerk „Magicbullet::Reloaded“, in dem 15 Doktorandinnen und Doktoranden an schonenden Krebsmedikamenten arbeiten. Foto: Universität Bielefeld
Doctors treat tumours mainly through surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. Over the next four years, a new project of Bielefeld University and 14 European partners will be studying targeted cancer treatments. The idea is that special molecules will track tumour cells in the body and then deliver an active agent that ensures that the cancerous cells are removed. Fifteen doctoral students will be working together in the ‘Magicbullet::Reloaded’ research network. The project is a cooperation between universities, research institutes, and industry. It is being funded by the European Union with a budget of around four million euro.[Weiterlesen]
Posted by JHeeren in General
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How plant metabolites affect the ecosystem

Published on 20. Dezember 2019
German Research Foundation (DFG) funds new Research Unit

Prof.’in Dr. Caroline Müller leitet die neue DFG-Forschungsgruppe zu Chemodiversität bei Pflanzen. Foto: Universität Bielefeld
Plants are often very individual when it comes to their specific defence chemicals and other metabolites. Such chemical diversity (chemodiversity) can be found both in different plants of the same species and within an individual plant. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is providing a Research Unit led by Bielefeld University with around two million euros in funding to explore the chemodiversity of plants. The chemical composition of plants can impact the foodwebs of a plant as well as its environment and biological interactions. Spokesperson for the DFG Research Unit is Professor Dr Caroline Müller from the Faculty of Biology at Bielefeld University; her deputy is junior professor Dr Meike Wittmann, also from the Faculty of Biology.[Weiterlesen]
Posted by JHeeren in General
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Academic staff news from Bielefeld University

Published on 16. Dezember 2019
Personalien Dezember
• Professor Dr-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer elected to the Foundation Board of the Universität zu Lübeck
• Professor Dr Marcelo da Costa Pinto Neves receives a Humboldt Research Award
• Professor Dr Armin Gölzhäuser is appointed a Fellow of the American Vacuum Society
• Professor Dr Krzysztof Redlich receives an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Physics
• Privatdozent Dr Nadine Böhm-Schnitker is awarded a Habilitation Prize
• Four researchers at Bielefeld University elected to DFG Review Boards[Weiterlesen]
Posted by HMetzen in General
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Chancellor Stephan Becker re-elected

Published on 5. Dezember 2019
Senatsvorsitzender Prof. Dr. Moritz Kaßmann, Kanzler Dr. Stephan Becker, Dr. Annette Fugmann-Heesing, Vorsitzende des Hochschulrats und Rektor Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer. Foto: Universität Bielefeld

Today (3 December 2019), the members of the University Electoral Committee confirmed Dr Stephan Becker for another term as chancellor of Bielefeld University with a clear majority. Becker's second term of office begins on 4 August 2020 and runs for six years.[Weiterlesen]
Posted by JBömer in General
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Vice-rectors elected at Bielefeld University

Published on 5. Dezember 2019
New vice-rectorate for Personnel Development and Gender Equality and new vice-rector for Education and Teaching

Bielefeld University’s new rectorate (from left): Professor Dr Martin Egelhaaf, vice-rector for Research and Research Transfer, Rector Professor Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Professor Dr Birgit Lütje-Klose, vice-rector for Education and Teaching, Professor Dr Marie I. Kaiser, vice-rector for Personnel Development and Gender Equality, Professor Dr Angelika Epple, vice-rector for International Affairs and Diversity, Chancellor Dr Stephan Becker, Professor Dr Reinhold Decker, vice-rector for Information Infrastructure and Business Relations. Photo: Bielefeld University/J. Dieckmann
Today (29/11/2019) saw the election of five vice-rectors. Two of them are new to the office, and one vice-rectorate has been newly created. Professor Dr Birgit Lütje-Klose is one of those newly elected; she succeeds Professor Dr Claudia Riemer as vice-rector for Education and Teaching. Also new is Professor Dr Marie I. Kaiser, who assumes the newly created vice-rectorate for Personnel Development and Gender Equality. The incumbents of the other vice-rectorates retain their positions: Professor Dr Martin Egelhaaf, Research and Research Transfer, Professor Dr Angelika Epple, International Affairs and Diversity, and Professor Dr Reinhold Decker, Information Infrastructure and Business Relations. The new vice-rectorate’s term of office begins immediately and runs for four years.[Weiterlesen]
Posted by HMetzen in General
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Norbert Elias Fellowships for Researchers from Africa

Published on 5. Dezember 2019
New funding format at ZiF

Science needs diverse perspectives. However, researchers from African countries are still underrepresented in the international scientific community. In order to increase the diversity of perspectives in the ZiF research groups and to make African researchers more visible, the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) is now offering two scholarships per year for researchers from Africa: the Norbert Elias Fellowships.[Weiterlesen]
Posted by JBömer in General
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How physics and mathematics profit from randomness

Published on 3. Dezember 2019
15th Brunel–Bielefeld Workshop at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research

Prof. Dr. Gernot Akemann is the organizer of the 15th Brunel–Bielefeld Workshop. Photo: Bielefeld University/A. Polina
What are the characteristic features of randomness? Mathematicians and physicists are working together to explore this issue at the 15th Brunel–Bielefeld Workshop on ‘Random matrix theory and applications’ from 5 to 7 December. Random matrices are arrangements of numbers in the form of tables whose values are selected at random. They help to solve major mathematical problems or to better understand physical systems. The workshop is being financed by the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) and the Collaborative Research Centre ‘Taming uncertainty and profiting from randomness and low regularity in analysis, stochastics and their applications’ (CRC 1283). Professor Dr Gernot Akemann from the Faculty of Physics at Bielefeld University is organizing the workshop together with scientists from Brunel University and Imperial College London (Great Britain).[Weiterlesen]
Posted by HMetzen in General
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Democratic education in populist times

Published on 29. November 2019
Work starts for a Europe-wide network of laboratory schools

Prof.’in Dr. Annette Textor, Dr. Christian Timo Zenke und Nicole Freke (v.l.) entwickeln im Projekt LabSchoolsEurope Methoden, mit denen Schülerinnen und Schüler  demokratische Fähigkeiten erlernen. Foto: Universität Bielefeld
How do children learn co-determination in their schools and how do they cope with all the diversity of opinions, abilities, and cultural differences? This is just one of the questions being addressed by the new project LabSchoolsEurope. It is being coordinated by Bielefeld University that initiated the project together with Bielefeld’s Laborschule [laboratory school]. Researchers and teachers are cooperating in the project to develop innovations in democratic education for dealing with heterogeneity in primary schools. Universities and schools are working together at five locations—in Austria, the Czech Republic, England, France, and Germany. The project is being funded by Erasmus+, the European Union programme for education, youth, and sport.[Weiterlesen]
Posted by JHeeren in General
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Have the Great Theories Become Obsolete?

Published on 6. November 2019
Bielefeld University’s anniversary conference on 14 and 15 November

Zu ihrem Jubiläum veranstaltet die Universität Bielefeld im November eine interdisziplinäre Konferenz zur Zukunft der Theorien. Foto: Universität Bielefeld
Be it relativity theory, systems theory, or game theory: to this day, great theories are the figureheads of science. But are algorithms replacing them with automated data analyses? This is the topic of the conference celebrating 50 years of Bielefeld University on 14 and 15 November. Its title: ‘The Theoretical University in the Data Age. Have the Great Theories Become Obsolete?’
Posted by JHeeren in General
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