Press Release, 8 Jan. 2014

New Platform for Cutting-Edge Smart Data Research

Starting signal for new research platform SDIL / SDIL bridges the gap between research and IT application for big data quantities from industry

Today, leading representatives from industry, science and politics gave the starting signal for establishing the research platform Smart Data Innovation Lab (SDIL) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Making available an infrastructure ready to take on the highest demands on the one hand and data generated in industrial processes on the other are important prerequisites for conducting cutting-edge research in the field of Big Data. Thanks to the close cooperation of all parties concerned, this allows for efficient transfer of the latest research results to industry, contributing to supporting the competitive edge of European companies. At the start, projects will relate to the research fields of Industry 4.0, Energy Transition, Smart Cities and Personalised Medicine.

The SDIL, which has been conceived as a collaboration of industry and research, will be operated at the KIT. Apart from the operator, founding partners comprise companies like Bayer, Bosch, Microsoft Germany, SAP, Siemens and Software AG, as well as the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft and the Forschungszentrum Jülich. Beyond these, already more than 20 other companies and institutions support the SDIL even today, among them companies like Infineon, Trumpf and Volkswagen as well as the industry association Bitkom and the German Informatics Society (GI). The SDIL is open for collaboration to other interested parties from science and business. SDIL places a particular focus on supporting smaller companies and putting them in a position to benefit from the contacts to established providers and to develop entirely new solutions and services around Big Data.

“The digital data quantities generated in our society are increasing at a very dynamic rate. We need new instruments to manage them and tap into them as a source for knowledge”, says Professor Johanna Wanka, Federal Minister of Education and Research and Co-Chairperson of the National IT Summit work group for “Education and Research for the Digital Future”. Accordingly, the Smart Data Innovation Lab and the data made available to research there are an ideal complement in order to spur on research in this area, Wanka said.

“We are happy to be able to add our competence to the Smart Data Innovation Lab and to share it with German business”, emphasises Professor Holger Hanselka, President of KIT. KIT operates infrastructure for handling large quantities of data, like the GridKa data processing centre, as part of the globally distributed network for the European particle accelerator CERN. He said that for years now, the Informatics department at KIT had dealt with analytical methods, evaluation algorithms and data security. “Thanks to SDIL, the KIT and our industrial partners will actually turn Big Data into Smart Data.”

“By placing the focus on topics like Industry 4.0 or Personalised Medicine, we will be able to get insights that will contribute to solve not only economic problems, but also challenges relevant for society”, says Jim Hagemann Snabe, Co-CEO of SAP AG. “This is also the result of extending our network towards smaller companies. Innovative ideas are incubated mostly by these young companies, and it is our task to actively support them.”

Each of the four work groups dealing with the current research areas will be headed by one representative from business and one from industry. The work groups will decide conjointly about how to shape and allocate SDIL resources to the research projects. Further research focus areas are planned to be added over time.

Within the scope of clearly defined projects, the scientists will get access to data generated in industrial processes, securely stored on the platform. Analysing these data – such as describing and structuring specific sets of data, or identifying anomalies – will take place in close cooperation with the respective business partner, making a quick transfer of knowledge and technology possible. The research institutes taking part will moreover develop generally valid tools and methods for data analysis, which may then be distributed to all Smart Data Innovation Lab participants via the platform.

The SDIL is also an integral part of the “Forward IT” initiative by the State of Baden-Württemberg. This initiative wants to strengthen cooperative action between business and science, among others in the fields of Industry 4.0, corporate software, mobility and IT security.

The concept for this research platform was developed in the work group on “Education and Research for the Digital Future” at the German government’s National IT Summit. This work group focuses on training and continued education of skilled labour as well as on conducting research into our digital future. In this context, it has already established two successful initiatives: Software Campus Network (2011) and Academy Cube (2012).

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is a public body according to the laws of the State of Baden-Württemberg. It takes on both the mission of a university and of a national research centre within the Helmholtz Association. Research focus topics comprise energy, the natural and man-made environment, as well as society and technology, spanning the entire distance from fundamental questions through application and usage. With its approximately 9,000 employees, among them nearly 6,000 employed in research and teaching, and its 24,000 students, the KIT is one of the largest research and education institutions in Europe. The KIT fulfils its tasks in the knowledge triangle of research – teaching – innovation.

Monika Landgraf
Press Spokesperson
Kaiserstrasse 12
76131 Karlsruhe
Phone: +49 721 608-47414
Fax: +49 721 608-43658

Further contact:
Kosta Schinarakis
PKM – Topic Scout
Phone: +49 721 608 41956
Fax: +49 721 608 43658