Mathematics for safer medicine

January 7, 2014

Natural sciences continuously produce larger and more complex data sets – using elaborate sensor technology or computer simulations. But can researchers be sure that the results of their computer simulations are reliable and accurate enough even if some aspects of the system under consideration are not exactly known? The new research group "Data Mining and Uncertainty Quantification" at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) wants to shed light on this question. With Prof. Vincent Heuveline as group leader, six researchers focus on the analysis of large data sets and on the calculation of uncertainties within technical systems. They use state-of-the-art technology from the areas of High Performance Computing and Cloud Computing.

"Today's computing power allows us to analyze and determine the quality of a calculation, by including a characterization of uncertainty", says group leader Vincent Heuveline who is a professor at Heidelberg University. "We can therefore develop new scientific methods which add a new twist to the old philosophical question: 'What is certain?'."

The research group has chosen operating rooms as a key application area. "Nowadays, operating rooms are as well-equipped as a cockpit with its numerous technical instruments," Heuveline explains. The instruments continuously generate a large amount of data so that the surgeon knows about the patient's condition and the status of the devices. "Surgeons must be able to fully rely on their instruments, just like pilots", Heuveline says. "We want to make sure they can do so." The HITS researchers analyze the technical systems, simulate surgical procedures including their impact on the body of the patient, and also calculate the probability of an error occurring during the simulations. "The results of our observations will be integrated into the IT infrastructure of the operating room and make the systems even more reliable."

The research group maintains a close relationship with the University of Heidelberg, which is illustrated by the overall organization. Besides his professorship, Vincent Heuveline also works as director of the university's computer center, where he and 85 employees are responsible for the IT infrastructure of Germany's oldest university, from e-mail accounts to high-performance computers. He also heads a research group at the university, the "Engineering Mathematics and Computing Lab" (EMCL) at the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing.

Explore further: Cloud improvements: Professor receives NSF grant to develop more efficient cloud computing

Related Stories

Two-legged robots learn to walk like a human

October 18, 2013

Teaching two-legged robots a stable, robust "human" way of walking – this is the goal of the international research project "KoroiBot" with scientists from seven institutions from Germany, France, Israel, Italy and the ...

A toolbox to simulate the big bang and beyond

October 18, 2013

The universe is a vast and mysterious place, but thanks to high-performance computing technology scientists around the world are beginning to understand it better. They are using supercomputers to simulate how the Big Bang ...

'Astroinformatics' helps astronomers exploring the sky

October 28, 2013

The new HITS research group "Astroinformatics" will develop methods and software for astronomers and help facilitating the analysis and processing of the rapidly growing amount of data in astronomy. The junior group led by ...

Blue Gene active storage boosts I/O performance at JSC

November 18, 2013

The ever growing complexity of various simulation tasks not only require a continuous increase of computing power but also the capability of managing large amounts of data. Realisation of an active storage architecture and ...

Recommended for you


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.