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Max Planck Institute for Informatics

Max­Planck­Research Magazine

Issue 2017

2/2017

Treasure Hunt in the Data Jungle
Researchers normally formulate a hypothesis before beginning an experiment and collecting data. Pauli Miettinen from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken is turning this scientific principle on its head with a new procedure for analyzing data – redescription mining. The software can analyze existing datasets and retrospectively extract hypotheses and unexpected correlations. These, in turn, give scientists important clues for asking new questions – for example, when the task is to capture the political mood among the population.
Issue 2016

3/2016

Computers Make Faces

These days, animated figures in films and in computer games are often true to life. After all, they are created with sophisticated three-dimensional models of bodies and faces. Christian Theobalt and his colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken are making it much easier for graphic artists to generate such models – enabling applications that were previously inconceivable.

2/2016

Digital Storytellers
Movies with audio descriptions help blind people understand the storyline. Could computers take over the task of transforming moving images into natural language? Anna Rohrbach, a scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken, and her husband, Marcus Rohrbach, who conducted research at the same Institute until recently, have made it their mission to make that possible. They aim to develop a computer that can automatically generate and read out film descriptions.
Issue 2015

3/2015

Displays straight from the Printer
His research looks hip and colorful. The prototypes are made from wood, paper and plastic. Cut, printed or pressed. But there’s more to them than meets the eye: Jürgen Steimle and his team at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and at Saarland University in Saarbrücken are concentrating their efforts on a fully interconnected world in which, for example, computing devices are activated via skin-worn sensors.
Issue 2014

Heft 2014

The Digital Apprentice
Two years ago, countless stories appeared in the media about a computer winning Jeopardy, a tricky quiz show on American television. This raises a number of questions: What can computers know? How do they use this knowledge for language comprehension and for dialog with human beings? And what can be done when machines collect facts about users that aren’t in the users’ best interests?
Issue 2013

2/2013

Onboard Computer with a Sixth Sense
Emergency braking systems already prevent quite a few traffic accidents, but electronic assistants still have no proper overview of what’s happening on the road. Bernt Schiele, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken, wants to change this. He teaches computers to anticipate the routes of vehicles and pedestrians.
Issue 2011

MPR 4 /2011

Images Take Shape
Humans need only a two-dimensional photo or film to be able to perceive a face or a body in 3-D. Researchers working with Thorsten Thormählen at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken are teaching this skill to computers, thus creating new ways of working with images and films.
Issue 2010

MPR 1 /2010

Dragnet Investigation in the Virus Kingdom
A computer program helps identify the pathogen responsible for a flu epidemic before it spreads around the globe, giving vaccine developers a valuable head start.
Issue 2008
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