Head's Message

Message from Christian Jacob,

Head of the Department of Computer Science

Computer Science is a relatively young discipline of research. Still, the first roots of computers — as machines that enhance our own thinking — go back more than a century. Alan Turing set the mathematical foundations of computing with the concept of Turing Machines. Turing was not only a brilliant theoretician, but also looked at very practical applications, such as for cryptanalysis (you might have watched the movie The Imitation Game); Turing is also considered a pioneer of Artificial Intelligence, an area that has gained much attention recently, not only within the research community, but also in the daily news. Think about self-driving cars, AI-driven medical diagnostics and personal health, face identification, or natural language understanding. John von Neumann was a brilliant mathematician, who developed the concepts of cellular automata, the universal constructor, and was a pioneer in digital computer architecture. We are still talking about the von Neumann architecture as the forefather of modern chips, which are now at the heart of our modern-time computers: think of smart phones, tablets, or smart watches. It should also be noted that many women have contributed to the discipline of computing and algorithmic machines such as Ada LovelaceGrace Hopper, Frances E. Allan, and many, many more (see, for example, for more details: Women in computing - Wikipedia)

So, even looking back at the origins of computers, Computer Science always had the aspiration to go way beyond “coding”. It has always been more than just writing programs to make machines perform algorithms. Computer Scientists are problem solvers. Computer Scientists create communities. We help to build the infrastructures for social networks; we also work on solutions to protect our personal data; make data communication secure across a wide variety of “communication networks”; we build solutions to visualize information; we work on tools that help to make decisions by asking smarter questions, and bring more and more data into our decision making.

With computers — as smart tools to help us think — we have to rely less on guessing. We can support our decisions by data. This is becoming more and more important in our increasingly digital economies. Hence, Data Science is a new area of research where we use computational tools to gather data, filter them, separate noise from useful information, and create knowledge — from which we can make better decisions and build smarter, enabling tools for our daily lives and to support our professional endeavours.

Join us, and become an ambassador of Computer Science. Learn more about Computer Science as a student; we love to share our passion with you. Learn how to not only use computational tools, but how to work in teams, share ideas, present, communicate — in short, join creative teams that make a positive difference.

Work with us if you are an entrepreneur or partner with us to enhance our digital economy, or let us help you solve challenges in your industry.

Following our Faculty of Science’s motto “Curiosity Drives Discovery”, we as Computer Scientists create computational “Discovery Tools” and “Think Tools”.

Welcome to our world.


Christian Jacob 
Professor & Head 
Department of Computer Science


P.S. To learn more about our wide range of research activities, check out our Research Areas page