Computer Science and Applied Cognitive Science

The Department of Computer Science and Applied Cognitive Science (INKO) consists of two teaching units that approach computer systems from different perspectives and using different methods. While the focus in Computer Science is on technology, people are central to Applied Cognitive Science. In a world in which computers are becoming omnipresent and almost invisibly networked with the environment, this dual perspective of technology and the people who use it is very important. Modern technical systems not only have to function properly, they also have to be accepted socially.

Research Highlights

The DFG Research Training Group on “User-Centered Social Media” (UCSM), in which four postdocs and 10 professors are participating, has almost concluded its first funding period, and its first doctoral candidates have submitted or successfully defended their doctoral theses. The Research Training Group investigates the effects of social media on systems, individuals and groups. The volume of user-generated content on the internet is growing constantly, but how are users influenced or controlled, both as individuals and collectively, by this content? Researchers of the USCM group address this question by exploring behaviour among social media and network users and derive user models from their findings. They also work on analysis of social media and its security and privacy.

In April 2018, Prof. Matthias Brand and Prof. Astrid Müller (MH Hannover) jointly organised the International Conference on Behavioral Addictions, which was held in Cologne. It is the most important international conference on this topic and this year featured internet gaming disorder and other internet-related conditions as a main area of interest.

Evonik Digital entered into a cooperation agreement with the Faculty to research topics and issues surrounding digitalisation of working life. The project involves psychologists as well as information scientists, with Professors Torben Weis, Hannes Krämer, Heinz Hoppe and Daniel Bodemer taking part. Among their research interests is how digitalisation can improve employee training. They are also exploring various ways of identifying dangerous situations with the aid of machine learning. A particular focus in this work is on employee privacy, i.e., relating to the use of collected data. Digitalisation brings with it many new and positive opportunities, but also some more disturbing scenarios. The researchers are therefore also exploring in the cooperative research project how systems can be developed and explained to employees so as to ensure that their privacy is protected. Both information technology and psychological approaches are needed here if such kinds of new systems are to be accepted.

Awards and Distinctions

The Professional Communication in Electronic Media/Social Media group, which is headed by Prof. Stefan Stieglitz, received a Best Paper Award at the 51st Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS) in the “E-Government” track for their contribution “The Diffusion of Crisis-Related Communication on Social Media: An Empirical Analysis of Facebook Reactions”.

The High Performance Computing group of Prof. Jens Krüger won the Best Paper Award at IEEE Vis, the leading conference in the field of visualisation, for “Deadeye: A Novel Preattentive Visualization Technique Based on Dichoptic Presentation”. For his paper “Acceleration techniques for GPU-based volume rendering”, published in 2003, Prof. Krüger also received the SciVis 15 Year Test of Time Award for the most influential paper of the past 15 years.

Cooperation and International News

Prof. Stefan Stieglitz is working with Queensland University of Technology on the use of social bots in the context of SoundCloud. He also has a cooperation project with the University of Sydney on crisis communication in social media. Professors Gregor Schiele, Han Vinck and Wolfram Luther took part in a DFG-funded workshop in Yerewan on the subject of Collaborative Technologies and Data Science in Smart City Applications (CODASSCA 2018), which was held as part of the cooperation agreement between the American University of Armenia and the Faculty of Engineering, with guests from Chile and Japan. Cooperation with the Universidad de Chile on the DiKEViMA project to create a virtual museum for Armenian khachkars, or cross-stones, continued with reciprocal visits.


An application will be made for the next phase of the UCSM Research Training Group in 2019. The focus will be on ubiquity, individuality and accountability. One effect of increasing digitalisation is that consumption of digital services is becoming ubiquitous, i.e., they are so integrated into everyday life that users are no longer always explicitly aware of them. This means that such services also have the opportunity to influence groups and individuals, be it positively or negatively. That is why it is important that the influence algorithms have on our daily lives is transparent and that accountability for those algorithms exists.