The Vigilant Path Towards Expansion
A wristwatch that automatically requests assistance if its wearer suffers a bad fall. A car that uses assistive systems to warn drivers of possible hazards and – if necessary – to actively intervene. What do these two technologies have in common? They’re what’s known as smart – and are meant to make users’ lives easier. They do this by employing sensors that collect and process a great volume of data – data, however, which often reveals personal information about the user. In order to prevent the exploitation of systems weaknesses and the abuse of such information, this kind of software requires a considerable degree of security and data protection.
It is precisely this modern challenge of combating data abuse that the University of Bamberg’s new “Privacy and Security” department will address in both research and teaching: the department is situated in the Faculty of Information Systems and Applied Computer Science and it will focus on specialised methods for protecting data and user privacy within smart systems. It is a component of the Zentrum Digitalisierung.Bayern (Digitalization Center Bavaria), a Bavarian state programme initiated to combine digitalization activities and development. In addition to the department in Bamberg, the programme has also established 19 other professorships at universities across Bavaria.
The new department was established as a W3 professorship which includes 2.5 full-time-equivalent staff positions. “We are currently looking for qualified staff, and we’d like the department to commence activities as soon as possible,” says Prof. Guido Wirtz, university Vice-president for technology and innovation, adding that “completing the hiring prior to the 2016/17 winter semester would be ideal, but that’s a pretty ambitious goal.”
According to Prof. Wirtz, incorporating the field of data protection also represents an expansion of the faculty’s academic profile to include an indispensable component. Since its creation in 2001, the Faculty of Information Systems and Applied Computer Science has been characterised by research endeavours which focus on all aspects of the complex systems employed in widely varying areas of application. He points out that in the last four years this expertise has been further expanded by the establishment of three new professorships within the framework of the Technology Alliance of Upper Franconia. “As a cross-sectional topic, privacy and security is in a unique position to provide new stimuli for all of the other major subject fields,” explains Wirtz.
Highly ranked master’s degree programmes
When looking at the most recent Centre for Higher Education (CHE) university rankings, there’s no doubt that the application-oriented focus and rate of growth of computer sciences in Bamberg are a hit among students. An evaluation of select bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes from May 2015 placed the University of Bamberg’s master’s programme in Applied Computer Science among the most highly ranked in terms of internationalisation. “The structure of our English-language course offering has proved highly successful. It prepares our graduates for careers in an often bilingual industry and also attracts students from abroad,” says Dean of Studies Prof. Christoph Schlieder.
The most recent ranking results of December 2015 have corroborated this positive image. Based on the latest poll of master’s degree students in the Applied Computer Science and Computing in the Humanities programmes, they place among the highest ranked German groups in terms of student satisfaction. “The above-average assessment of the student/instructor climate, support for term papers, promotion of group work and not least the accessibility of instructors speak for themselves,” says Schlieder, clearly pleased. Furthermore, students’ ability to design a study focus based on individual interests, and the broad scope of courses offered are squarely situated in middle of the field. Concerning this point, Christoph Schlieder points out that the restructuring of the Applied Computer Science master’s programme will enable students to create even more differentiated individual specialisation fields that will also be more precisely indicated in transcripts. The range of subjects and specialist fields represented in the course offering will also continue to grow and expand – due in no small part to the establishment of the new “Privacy and Security” department.
This press release was written by Antje Jaschik for the University of Bamberg’s press office and was translated by Benjamin Wilson. It may be used without restriction for journalistic purposes.
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