FHNW, the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, is a major public higher education institution in the corresponding area of the country. It has over 10,000 bachelor students, 2,000 master and continuing education students, and 2,500 staff members. It is one of 7 Universities of Applied Sciences accredited by the Swiss government, and is run jointly by four states (cantons). The School of Engineering at FHNW focuses on education and research on applied topics in computer science, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering. All research is performed in 11 independent institutes.
The Institute of 4D Technologies, or i4Ds, will host the project. The institute works on topics related with the management, processing, and visualization of big data collections. Its aim is to design and develop real-world applications that are capable of generating more knowledge, more choice, and more personalization out of the data collections.
The deep competences of the institute are in computer science. Themes that are addressed include user interaction design, databases, data mining, optimization, social network analysis, and computer graphics. However, it has also a strong multidisciplinary orientation. It unites different disciplines, making it possible to configure projects with not only computer science expertise but also with domain knowledge. Therefore, it includes mathematicians, physicists, designers, architects, civil engineers, communication specialists, and even artists. The current application fields of FHNW are quite various, ranging from job marketing, astroinformatics, science, and civil engineering. The Institute is also home of STIX, the Spectrometer / Telescope for Imaging X-rays, one of the 10 instruments that will fly on ESA’s Solar Orbiter spacecraft.
Because of the high demand of competences in Requirements Engineering – not the least in the context of the bachelor education in computer science – the institute took the strategic decision to strengthen its research position in this domain. To this end, it created two positions with the aim to build up a new research group in Requirements Engineering. One of the former key UZH personnel of SUPERCEDE (Seyff) has been appointed as a co-lead of this group. It is therefore very natural that FHNW commits to collaborate tightly with UZH to consolidate this area of research in Switzerland, and we anticipate all forms of collaboration that existed with UZH to extend to FHNW.
Nevertheless, FHNW does bring previous background on its own in this domain. One of its three research fields is called Design & Technology. This domain is strongly involved in the domain of requirements engineering. In particular, the following competences will contribute to the project:
- The two research fields on Data Management and Information Processing have a long tradition in working on data mining, information retrieval, and optimization topics. They have been involved in a series of European projects with mainly astronomy applications, for instance HELIO (helio-vo.eu) or HESPE (hespe.eu). For H2020, it has just started a large 2.5M data mining project to predict solar flares in order to prevent damages on earth (FLARECAST).
- FHNW brings also competences in Usability Engineering: FHNW operates in the Design & Technology division a usability lab that is used in numerous projects. For instance, complex visualisation projects in the field of 2D and 3D user interface design have been realized such as data visualization for mobile applications in industry, interactive media wall / table applications or fully immersive VR environments. A particular focus lies on Agile UX development processes and the visual design approach in order to elaborate a high user experience.
- Data Visualization: Both divisions in Data Management and Design & Technology have competences in information visualization that will be brought to the project. For instance it has worked in two data exploration projects that uses 3D web-based computer graphics to navigate into big data archives (ludosonica.ch)
In SUPERSEDE, FHNW will take over the lead of WP1 and will be involved throughout the project.
Requirements Engineering Research Group
Prof. Dr. Norbert Seyff
Hochschule für Technik
Institut für 4D-Technologien