SAG Project-Lead in E2COMATION

Since my movement as researcher to Software AG, I immediately got involved in the European research project E2COMATION. E2COMATION intends to address the optimization of energy usage, at multiple hierarchical layers of a manufacturing process as well as considering the whole life-cycle perspective across the value chain. For this purpose, in the project, a cross-sectorial methodological framework and a modular technological platform will be provided that is meant to help industrial companies to save energy and directly be more sustainable from the environmental and economic points of view.

Today it was officially announced to the project partners that I become project lead for the Software AG tasks. With this measure, a higher responsibility comes along with finding self-contained solutions and ideas to upcoming challenges in the project.

I am looking forward to bringing in my expertise to find solutions to the given project objectives, even if I still have a lot to learn about the smart technologies offered by Software AG.

Work Change from h_da to Software AG

After several years at the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences (h_da), I am offering my research experience to the industry yet, particularly at the Software AG.

I look back to five exciting years of researching in several publicly funded projects, but also in supporting the university to set up research infrastructures and provide guidance to many academics. Even though not all actions will be continued, I am looking forward that I could support establishing new standards to enable research at the h_da. I definitely will miss the profession of some colleagues and their creativity in finding novel solutions and the sometimes very entertaining talks. In many ways, I enjoyed the collaboration and I think I will remember it for a long time.

With the movement to the Software AG as a researcher, I am pretty sure to bring in my expertise to enhance the services of Software AG with new interesting features that will help customers to get better services and solutions. And I am sure, I will learn new smart people from whom I can learn from.

Dean Grove defended his Bachelor-Thesis on Concepts for the Transformation of a Minimum Viable Product for the Automatic Identification of Users into a Scalable Infrastructure

In the thesis, Dean Grove evaluated the infrastructure of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), which is based on and provides suggestions as to how to make the not-visible part of the product, and the architecture easier to maintain for future use and scalable if the need occurs to be able to handle more requests. An MVP is a product that was developed in the lean startup method and is used, to develop a product quickly and get feedback from customers or investors, without creating a lot of engineering overhead. In its definition, the MVP uses the least amount of effort, to receive the maximum amount of feedback. While this in itself is amicable, developing something quickly leaves some best practices behind, which this thesis will focus on. Introducing some options that are industry standards or best practices will show how the product can become more future-proof. Be it either by requiring more CPU performance and needing to scale out, scale up the services or by showing how correctly managing user access and their roles can be beneficial in the long run. When working on sensitive data, some regulatory concerns will be evaluated throughout this thesis. In particular, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is extremely important.

Shahrukh Badar defended his Master Thesis on Process Mining for Workflow-Driven Assistance in Visual Trend Analytics

In his thesis, Shahrukh Badar created process-driven assistance that is applied to the visual trend analytics domain. The goal was, based on previous users interactions and solved tasks, to assist further users in their work. Therefore, a universal visual assistance model was defined and acts also as the main contribution, based on defined interaction event taxonomy. This concept was applied to the Visual Trend Analytics domain on the SciTics reference system. This “SciTics – Science Analytics” is connected with different data sources and provides analysis of scientific documents. The interaction model provides assistance in terms of recommendations, where the user has an option either to apply a recommendation or ignore it. The solution provided in this thesis is model-based and utilizes the potential of Process Mining and Discovery techniques. It is started by creating an event taxonomy by identifying all possible ways of user interactions on the “SciTic – Visual Trend Analytics” web application. Next, enable the “SciTic – Visual Trend Analytics” web application to start logging events chronologically based on predefined taxonomy. Later, these events log is converted into Process Mining log format. Next, it applies the Process Discovery algorithm “Heuristics Miner” on these log data to generate a process model, which shows the overall flow of user interaction along with the frequencies. Later, this process model is used to provide users with recommendations.

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Sibgha Nazir defended her Master Thesis on Visual Analytics on Enterprise Reports for Investment and Strategical Analysis

In her thesis, Sibgha Nazir created a visual analytical approach to analyze annual financial reports in the perspective of investors’ interests. The goal of the thesis is to make use of visual analytics for the fundamental analysis of a business to support investors and business decision-makers. The idea is to collect the financial reports, extract the data and feed them to the visual analytics system. Financial reports are PDF documents published by public companies annually and quarterly which are readily available on companies’ websites containing the values of all financial indicators which fully and vividly paint the picture of a companies’ business. The financial indicators in those reports make the basis of fundamental analysis. The thesis focuses on those manually collected reports from the companies’ websites and conceptualizes and implements a pipeline that gathers text and facts from the reports, processes them, and feeds them to a visual analytics dashboard. Furthermore, the thesis uses state-of-the-art visualization tools and techniques to implement a visual analytics dashboard as the proof of concept and extends the visualization interface with interaction capability by giving them options to choose the parameter of their choice allowing the analyst to filter and view the available data. The dashboard fully integrates with the data transformation pipeline to consume the data that has been collected, structured, and processed and aims to display the financial indicators as well as allow the user to display them graphically. It also implements a user interface for manual data correction ensuring continuous data cleansing.

The presented application makes use of state-of-the-art financial analytics and information visualization techniques to enable visual trend analysis. The application is a great tool for investors and business analysts for gaining insights into the business and analyzing historical trends of its earnings and expenses and several other use-cases where financial reports of the business are a primary source of valuable information.

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Kick-off Meeting of the Project “Digitallabor Groß-Gerau – Dozenturio”

Digitization and digital education are playing an increasingly important role in career guidance, career preparation, and vocational education. Various open technologies and didactic approaches are available that can be used for digital teaching in vocational education.

However, basic digital education and knowledge about the possibilities of digital teaching are often lacking. The VIS-Group is cooperating with the Groß-Gerau district and the Center for Applied Computer Science at the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences to provide a single-source of learning materials and learning technologies in the “Dozenturio” learning system.

The intermediate results of the project were introduced in December 15th 2021 by the VIS-Group. The event started with a welcome by the District Administrator Thomas Will followed by the main goals and conceptual structure by Nicole Möhlenkamp from the Department of Education and Schools – Youth Vocational Assistance, Qualification, and Employment. Among others, representatives of the adult education centers of the district and the city of Rüsselsheim am Main, the municipal job center of the district of Groß-Gerau, the state education authority and the IT center of the district were present. District Administrator Thomas Will and First District Deputy Walter Astheimer also took part in the panel discussion.

The project website already includes various video training courses on communication systems, various selected OER learning platforms (OER: Open Educational Resources) and a variety of technologies to enable both the digital transformation and the didactical transformation of digital content. The platform is accessible to anyone who wants to learn about digital teaching and communication through www.dozenturio.de.

The goal of the project is to develop qualification modules for digital teaching, learning, advising, and communicating. In addition, demand-oriented training offers for employees of the district as well as for regional educational institutions are planned. As part of the training and qualification budget of the state of Hesse. The district of Groß-Gerau has been provided with funds for the implementation of digital learning offerings in the project Digitallabor for the period from September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2022, which will be used for the project described. With this funding program, the district of Groß-Gerau is taking advantage of the opportunities offered by digitization and opening up access opportunities for multipliers, teachers, and advisors.

More information can be found here (in German).

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FZAI Annual Summary 2021

The year 2021 was also successful for the FZAI. New research projects were again acquired and previous research projects were successfully continued. The FZAI was again the contact and accelerator for research at Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences. Through the procured infrastructure

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Lennart Sina defended his Master Thesis on Visual Analytics for Unstructured Data and Scalable Data Models

In the thesis, Lennart Sina conceptualized and implemented a visual analytics system that scales data through middleware to enable more efficient analysis. For this purpose, diverse approaches and systems were investigated, which led to a coherent concept. The concept was implemented and connected to an existing database, enabling real-world use of the system and real-world conditions. The scientific contribution of the present work is three-fold: (1) the concept of a visual analytics system to scale data, (2) a novel data model, and (3) a novel and a fully implemented visual dashboard that also enables reporting.

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Best Paper Award at the iV 2021

Our paper on Visual Analytics and Similarity Search – Interest-based Similarity Search in Scientific Data at the iV2021 conference was honored with “The Best Paper Award” for the innovative contribution in terms of originality of concepts and application. The “Best Paper Awards” is given to contributions which will be selected by the committee among the papers presented in iV2021 and applied for the award. Study’s relevance to the symposium’s scope, its scientific contribution, writing/presentation style will be considered in the evaluation process as well.

The Information Visualisation Conference (iV) is an international conference that aims to provide a foundation for integrating the human-centered, technological and strategic aspects of information visualization to promote international exchange, cooperation and development.

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Article on Visual Analytics for Technology and Innovation Management Published in Journal Multimedia Tools and Applications

I am glad that our article Visual analytics for technology and innovation management: An interaction approach for strategic decision making gets published in the current special issue of the Journal of Multimedia Tools and Applications.

Article: Visual analytics for technology and innovation management: An interaction approach for strategic decision making

Abstract:
The awareness of emerging trends is essential for strategic decision making because technological trends can affect a firm’s competitiveness and market position. The rise of artificial intelligence methods allows gathering new insights and may support these decision-making processes. However, it is essential to keep the human in the loop of these complex analytical tasks, which, often lack an appropriate interaction design. Including special interactive designs for technology and innovation management is therefore essential for successfully analyzing emerging trends and using this information for strategic decision making. A combination of information visualization, trend mining and interaction design can support human users to explore, detect, and identify such trends. This paper enhances and extends a previously published first approach for integrating, enriching, mining, analyzing, identifying, and visualizing emerging trends for technology and innovation management. We introduce a novel interaction design by investigating the main ideas from technology and innovation management and enable a more appropriate interaction approach for technology foresight and innovation detection.

Link to Paper: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11042-021-10972-3

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