On October 17, 2018, I held my research talk Automating Scientific Research in Optimization at the Institute of Automation and Information Systems (AIS) of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Birgit Vogel-Heuser of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Technical University of Munich (TUM) in Munich, Germany.
Automation is a field in the intersection of mechanical, electrical, and software engineering, also using techniques from machine learning and operations research. The general goal is to increase the production efficiency and quality as well as reducing costs and the time to market. The AIS contributes to this goal with their work on the SFB 768 ("Managing Cycles in Innovation Processes – Integrated Development of Product-Service Systems Based on Technical Products"), which recently has received the third round of funding – a very rare achievement for such research projects. The research fields of the AIS include Human-Machine Interaction, encompassing data integration and processing to support the human, Model-based Engineering, including variant-rich, interdisciplinary manufacturing systems, Intelligent Production Systems, especially reconfigurable, distributed cyber-physical production systems, and Big Data in Automated Production Systems, where methods for aggregating, analyzing and preparing Big Data are researched. The AIS has quite a lot of impressive hardware systems, from functional models of manufacturing systems to real machines which are used as basis for research projects.
The research direction Optimized Management, Planning, and Operations Research of our own group has a lot in common with the intelligent production area of the AIS, but we come more from the software, optimization, and theoretical side, whereas the AIS comes from the actual application direction, which is often explored directly on actual machines. Visiting the AIS and presenting here was therefore quite interesting. The interesting discussions with the AIS researchers before and after may talk, as well as the tour through the institute, were a pleasure as well. I was also happy to meet Prof. Vogel-Heuser again, after almost ten years since my time at the University of Kassel, where she was a member of my PhD defense committee.