Field trips are usually day-long excursions of a group of students and researchers, curious to learn how all the knowledge they are accumulating at university can be brought to use solving real world problems, to companies keen on engaging in a scientific dialogue with budding researchers. The particular agenda of such a field trip depends of course on the interests and facilities of the company, but in the past often included a combination of the following:
- presentations by company representatives about the company's area of operations
- scientific talks by both employees as well as students
- potentially a tour of facilities such as labs or factories
- informative sessions on potential career options and working life
Past Field Trips
ABB is a Swedish-Swiss robotics and electrical equipment company, with more than 100k employees in over 100 countries and 130 years of company history. Its Research Center in Germany is located - conveniently close for us - in the beautiful town of Ladenburg. There, about 90 scientists and engineers work on topics such as control technology, automation components and software technologies.
- Tour through research center
- Presentation of current research at center
- Mathematicians at the center
- Opportunities at the center
Deutscher Wetterdienst (German Weather Service)
Offenbach am Main, 2022
10:30 Welcome by Roland Potthast, Director FE1 (NWP)
10:35 Introduction to Numerical Weather Prediction
11:15 Data Assimilation and Uncertainty Estimation
12:00 Lunch Break
13:00 Tour to Supercomputer
13:30 ICON Dynamical Core, Status and Developments
14:30 Pause and Exchange
15:00 Clouds and Physical Parametrizations
The Bosch Center for Artificial Intelligence (BCAI) was founded in early 2017 to deploy AI technologies across Bosch products and services. By using data from all Bosch domains, their research creates differentiation in six areas with a focus on core AI technology.
Our day at the BCAI started with introductory talks from Bjoern Andres (then Global Head of AI Research at BCAI; now professor at TU Dresden, Germany) and further BCAI members about the sectors in which they are active, and their growing focus on research into smart technologies. They were enthusiastic to talk about Bosch’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2020 regarding the energy used in manufacturing and administration. In our guided tour around the beautifully landscaped BCAI campus, we observed how energy was produced onsite. We were surprised to learn that researchers at the BCAI not only have access to sports facilities, but also a dedicated creative space to explore new ideas, complete with an artist in residence.
During lunch we had the chance to talk more informally with PhD students about their experience at the BCAI – we were especially interested to find out more about the requisite to publish in high impact journals as part of the PhD program.
Throughout the day we enjoyed research talks both from employees of the BCAI and representatives of our chapter. The day concluded with us competing against a Bayesian optimization-based robot in a game similar to beer pong – of course without beer but with a lot of fun! The Heidelberg Student Chapter of SIAM wants to thank the BCAI and especially Christoph Zimmer for making this day a huge success and for being such a great host!
Raunheim (Frankfurt), 2018
In our fifth field trip we visited Lufthansa Systems, which is one of the leading information technology service providers for the aviation industry. Our day at Lufthansa Systems started with a delicious breakfast, followed by an introduction of the company – its goals, services, clients, etc. Afterwards they gave us a tour through their offices, including a meeting with Pepper, their friendly robot, and presented their modern work spaces. Then we moved on to the first technical talk, where they gave us insights over how they tackle problems regarding route planning and coping with the arising difficulties like incorporation of the constantly changing route restrictions and the influence of the weather. During lunch we then had the chance to get in contact with the Lufthansa Systems members in a more informal manner and to learn more about what it is like to work for and at Lufthansa Systems.
In the afternoon we moved on to more talks, some of which were given by members of our group. Having already heard how to optimize the route for a single plane we then learned how resilient schedules can be created and how the crews are assigned to the flights. Our members were eager to learn and asked many questions. Finally, we were told about current career possibilities at Lufthansa Systems. Altogether, this field trip led to greater understanding of the mathematics in the field of aviation and the Heidelberg Student Chapter of SIAM wants to thank Lufthansa Systems for making this day a huge success and for being such a great host!
Visiting the NEC Labs in Heidelberg allowed us to get an insight into the fields of (internet) security, smart transportation and data analysis. Together with Dr. Ghassan Karame, who also gave a talk in February 2017 "On the Security and Scalability of Bitcoin's Blockchain" and with Ms. Zöller, we assembled an interesting and rewarding program.
This year's field trip led our group of roughly 20 SIAM chapter members to DB Analytics in Frankfurt. DB Analytics is a company within Deutsche Bahn AG that is specialized in statistical and mathematical methods. After a warm welcome by Mr. Hanno Schülldorf and his colleagues we started the program consisting of several sessions of expert talks from DB Analytics and our members. We were given a lot of insights into the world of mathematical challenges arising in a big mobility and logistics company like DB. Optimization of logistic networks and statistical evaluation of data-quality were just two topics we got to learn about. Another interesting topic was about an interactive decision support system for vehicle scheduling, where it became apparent that the integration of the human factor is a key aspect in introducing sophisticated mathematical methods and algorithms into daily business.
Not only we learned a lot about mathematical applications in DB Analytics, but also three of our members got the opportunity to talk about their research topics including optimization of dynamical systems, applications for fast feedback methods in real world examples such as heavy duty trucks and the use of neural networks in modelling complex programming codes. A lot of intersections between our research interests and the work of DB analytics became apparent and was discussed lively in the coffee-breaks and in the lunch break at the canteen of Frankfurt main station. Altogether we can look back at another rewarding fieldtrip and the Heidelberg Chapter of SIAM wants to thank DB Analytics and especially Hanno Schülldorf and Dr. Boris Krostitz for making this day a success.
Bayer AG, Complex Systems Modeling
In our recent trip we were glad to become acquainted with Bayer, one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the world. The field trip was mainly focusing on the work of the »Complex Systems Modeling« group that uses mathematical tools to support research and development at Bayer AG.
On February 10 at 7:30 in the morning we started the excursion in Heidelberg. Thanks to the support of our sponsors SIAM and HGS we could organize a bus for the day trip to Leverkusen. The commissioned bus travel company BBK sent us their possibly most entertaining driver, so the 3,5 h journey could be enjoyed by every participant. After security check we entered the factory premises and got a first impression of the huge chemical plants. After the opening and a short welcome round three experts from Bayer presented their respective departments and projects in the range from environmental modeling through optimal study design to medical drug research. Beyond the expert talks we were introduced to career opportunities by a presentation from the human resources department.
After the delicious lunch buffet the head of the Technology Development division of Bayer Technology Services, Dr. Bachlechner, gave an outstanding presentation about the importance of research in advanced mathematics, how simulation and optimization change the traditional development cycle of a product. In the following we got to know more about Bayer technologies in the visitor center BayKomm.
Back in the conference room three of our members got the opportunity to contribute to the university-industry exchange with talks about mathematical modeling of a complex biological process, globalization methods in mathematical optimization and efficient parameter estimation of a chemical process. In the end we had lively discussions in groups before taking the bus back. At 9:30 pm we arrived in Heidelberg full of impressions being glad for the successful field trip. We thank the Bayer AG, especially Dr. Gaida and Dr. Grüning for hosting an exciting and rewarding field trip!