From web security to more efficient cancer therapy to state-of the-art interaction with novel interfaces, young researchers in computer science are working on a wide range of research topics on the Saarbrücken Campus. The Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science currently comprises some 375 doctoral. The Graduate School will be presenting its doctoral program from the 10th through the 14th of March at the computer trade fair Cebit in Hanover (hall 9, booth E13).
Since October 2012, Hazem Torfah has been doing his doctoral research work with Professor Finkbeiner in the reactive systems group. Torfah is one of about 375 doctoral candidates currently enrolled in the Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science.
Talented students can be admitted to the graduate program right after completion of their bachelor's degree. Every semester, several hundred candidates from all over the world apply for roughly 30 fellowships. The Graduate School aims to be on par with the best locations worldwide for doctoral studies in computer science. "The unique possibilities in Saarbrücken makes our program competitive with those of top universities such as Cambridge or Stanford", says Michelle Carnell, program manager of the Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science.
In keeping with other programs internationally, the Graduate School's program is divided into two phases. During the preparatory phase, besides taking a wide range of courses, students gain deeper insight into computer science research. "The preparatory phase is customized for the individual students based on their interests and prior knowledge. They have the opportunity to try out different research areas and find an advisor for their thesis work", explains Carnell. A particular strength of the Graduate School is that students have the chance to work with research groups at Saarland University as well as at several renowned research institutes co-located on campus, such as the Max Planck Institute for Informatics. All in all, students can choose among 75 research groups covering almost all areas of computer science.
Hazem Torfah greatly appreciated the possibilities of the preparatory phase. He took the opportunity to do research in three different research groups before deciding to pursue his doctorate under the supervision of Professor Finkbeiner. He notes: "A special feature is that doctoral students can actively participate in the research work of more than one group before settling on an advisor. This distinguishes Saarbrücken from other universities in Germany."
The Graduate School assigns a faculty member as a mentor for every student from the beginning. In addition, students are supported with a monthly fellowship of at least 800€ so they can concentrate on their studies and find their way into research.
The Graduate School also supports PhD candidates in the dissertation phase of their doctoral studies. "In addition to the traditional support by their advisor, candidates benefit from an environment in which their progress is seen as the common responsibility of all computer science faculty members", emphasizes Carnell. Altogether, doctoral students can turn to 75 professors and independent researchers with PhD supervision rights as well as rely on the general infrastructure of the Graduate School.
Besides the Department of Computer Science at Saarland University, the two Max Planck Institutes for Informatics and for Software Systems, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence and the Intel Visual Computing Institute are partners in the Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science. Now in its second funding period, the Graduate School has been supported by the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments since 2007.
Computer science research on the Saarland University campus
Several renowned research institutes are located in immediate proximity to one another on the campus inSaarbrücken. Besides the participating institutes mentioned above, you will also find the Center for Bioinformatics, the Center for IT-Security, Privacy and Accountability, and the Excellence Cluster "Multimodal Computing and Interaction"