New transregional collaborative research centre  for the University of Konstanz and the University of Stuttgart

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved the creation of a new transregional collaborative research centre (SFB/Transregio) for the University of Konstanz, University of Stuttgart, and the Max-Planck-Institute for biological cybernetics in Tübingen. The new SFB/Transregio 161 "Quantitative Methods for Visual Computing" is concerned with the computer-assisted processing and representation of image information.  The goal is to make the quality and applicability of data and images determinable and measurable. The DFG will support the research for the next four years with approximately eight million euro.

"The representation and analysis of visual information is a central research focus of the department of computer and information science", explains Professor Ulrich Rüdiger, rector of the University of Konstanz. "Through the acquisition of the transregional collaborative research centre 'Quantitative Methods for Visual Computing', we can develop this key research area further."

SFB/Transregio 161 focusses on the computer-assisted processing and representation of image information. This research will influence future applications in the  research and industry sectors, as well as in the private market. Examples include: the visualisation of collected data or simulations, virtual maps and tours or computer generated film scenes. "Computer scientists in various fields along with engineers and psychologist are developing new techniques in order to simplify the representation and handling of ever-increasing amounts of data, and to improve the quality of computer-generated images", says computer scientist Professor Daniel Weiskopf, spokesperson for the new research project in Stuttgart. "Until now, the quantifiablility of visual computing methods has been neglected. We want to take on this challenge."

The goal of the the approximately 40 scientists comprising the new research group is to make the quality and accuracy of visual computing methods determinable and measurable. The requirements of different applications and users will also be coordinated. "We will carry out studies and measurements, verify visualisations, and examine interaction opportunities", explains Professor Oliver Deussen, vice-spokesperson for the collaborative research project and professor for computer graphics and media design at the University of Konstanz. "In this way, existing techniques and algorithms will be optimized and developed further."

Examples of research objectives include evaluating the effects of virtual environments and city models on humans; capturing and illustrating three-dimensional data from real scenes or simulations; and the development of new technologies such as brain-computer interfaces. Does the representation include all important information? How difficult is it for humans to comprehend  this information? What added value do these interaction opportunities provide? In order to establish a comprehensive quantitative foundation and to promote progress in this field, these and similar questions are to be answered through the upcoming research activities.

The collaborative research centres supported by the DFG are installed as research institutions at the universities for a period of up to 12 years. As a result, a SFB/Transregio extends to several research locations. The SFB/Transregio 161 "Quantitative Methods for Visual Computing" will begin its research on 1 July.