© Peter Winandy / AICES
The Aachen Institute for Advanced Study in Computational Engineering Science (AICES) is a graduate school established in 2006 under the auspices of the German Excellence Initiative. AICES offers a new doctoral program for Bachelor and Master students enabling a shortened and attractive path to the doctorate. The graduate school conducts interdisciplinary research at the intersection of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Mechanical Engineering, with a focus on the analysis and synthesis of technical systems.
Today's industry requires modern simulation tools. An increasing number of industries - such as the automotive and aviation industries, for example - draw on these tools to implement planning and optimization measures. To manage the ever-increasing complexity of these simulation tasks, the mere availability of faster computers is insufficient: the challenge lies in the mathematical representation, or modeling, of technical problems and their implementation on computer systems. Consequently, modern simulations are inherently interdisciplinary. Thus, AICES sets out to produce a new generation of experts who have mastered these simulation methodologies and are capable of applying them to technically challenging problems.
AICES' interdisciplinary approach is also reflected by the collaborative effort of more than 25 institutes from eight academic departments (Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Medicine, as well as Georesources and Materials Engineering). In addition, the Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research Düsseldorf are also involved in AICES' research activities.
The graduate school offers a program that attracts science and engineering students from around the world. The program leads directly to a doctoral degree in a "fast-track" curriculum: the course-based master's phase is followed by intensive research in the doctoral phase. A core element of the doctoral program is the mentoring team, which comprises a principal doctoral advisor (an independent young researcher), a co-advisor (a senior faculty member), a senior doctoral candidate mentor, and a member of the AICES service team. The mentoring team facilitates the candidate's progress through both the curriculum and the research phases. Furthermore, close scientific as well as administrative interaction and guidance leads to reduced time-to-degree.
Moreover, AICES brings together researchers from academia and industry, from both Germany and abroad. Regular workshops and seminars foster international collaboration as well as scientific exchange.
The AICES program is open to a limited number of qualified graduates. We guarantee those students admitted to AICES a HIWI job for one year during the Master's phase with an option to extend for a further year. Doctoral candidates receive a stipend of € 2,000 per month during the three-year program. Support for other education-related expenses, such as travel funds to enable collaborative research visits, is also available to AICES-funded fellows.
The AICES Graduate School focuses on challenging aspects of computational modeling and analysis in the application areas considered: Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics, Mechanical, Electrical, and Civil Engineering, Medicine as well as Georesources and Materials Engineering. This broad spectrum provides fertile ground for targeted research on broadly defined inverse problems.
Numerical analysis plays a major role at AICES. Focus areas are discretization methods for partial differential equations (PDE) and related fields, such as fast iterative solvers, preconditioning methods, and adaptive methods. Another major research theme is given by discrete and continuous optimization, including research on PDE-constraint optimization, and deterministic global optimization. In the context of control and optimization methods, an important field of research at AICES is model order reduction, such as reduced basis methods for parameterized PDE.
The emphasis is on the development of algorithms and tools for the whole range of parallel computers, including multicore, accelerated, distributed, and hybrid platforms, as offered by the Rechenzentrum at RWTH and the Jülich Supercomputing Center. On the one hand, AICES provides critical building blocks for large scale simulations: geometric algorithms for data processing and acquisition, algorithmic differentiation, domain-specific compilers, and high-performance linear algebra libraries. On the other hand, AICES focuses on interactive and 3D visualization, computer vision and image synthesis, as well as on programming tools for the generation, analysis, and optimization of parallel codes.
Modeling provides a mathematical and algorithmic formulation describing a given scientific problem. For complex problems, suitable models often include several submodels that describe aspects of the problem. At AICES, modeling research covers a wide range of techniques, including both discrete methods, like molecular dynamics and quantum mechanics, and continuum methods, like fluid and solid mechanics, thermodynamics and transport problems. These are generally characterized by strong nonlinearities, leading to many challenges, such as non-uniqueness, bifurcation, and instability. Both strong-form and weak-form descriptions are considered. Efficient computational descriptions require different spatial and temporal discretization approaches, based on finite-difference or finite-element schemes. Efficiency can also be increased by using reduced-order models. AICES also applies and refines modeling approaches for surface mechanisms, multi-scale and multi-field problems, constrained problems, inverse problems and optimization problems.
Inverse problems determine or optimize system inputs and parameters, and other system characteristics using observations of outputs of real systems or the desired specifications of engineered systems. Inverse problems describe many topics, where computational approaches can lead to breakthroughs in design quality, efficiency of operation,and performance of engineered solutions. In this context, numerical simulation no longer replaces the more traditional experimental or analytical methods, but becomes instead a new tool that can discover and identify models for complex phenomena and processes. AICES is advancing computational engineering science in three critical areas of synthesis: model identification supported by model based experimentation, understanding scale interaction and scale integration, and optimal design and operation of engineered systems.
Computational materials science models the structure, properties, and behavior of materials. Current work at AICES includes molecular simulations of interfaces and energy-related systems, phase-field modeling of microstructures, multiscale modeling of contact, radiation transport, and group contribution methods. Research at Jülich and Düsseldorf complements work at RWTH, studying biomaterials, structure-property relationships in alloys and magnetic materials, and eigensolvers for density-functional theory. Many problems also require coupling methods to study the full range of material interactions, and close collaboration with experimentalists In addition, since many CMS applications demand significant high-performance computing resources, development of more accurate and efficient algorithms and analysis tools is an active component of CMS research at AICES.
Understanding the cooperation of countless proteins, genes, and other biological entities is crucial for further success in biomedicine. Available data is usually extremely high-dimensional and associated with varying levels of control in biological systems. These problems can be mathematically formulated as inverse problems requiring novel combinations of machine learning, multi-scale modeling, and model order reduction techniques. Examples of current research includes assessing induced pluripotent stem cells by analyzing genome-wide expression patterns (www.pluritest.org), genetic biomarkers for assessing drug action in cancer cell lines, tracking of the dynamics of cellular differentiation or disease propagation, and optimal schemes for insulin dosing. Using a combination of atomistic and coarse-grained modeling, it is possible to explore the relationship between molecular structure and biological processes such as self-assembly and aggregation, which play an important role in many diseases.
The AICES Graduate School offers a flexible, English-language study program, which is tailored to lead directly to a doctoral degree in a "fast-track" curriculum. A tight academic coursework schedule combined with intensive advising in the doctoral phase leads to a doctorate within five years.
In the coursework phase, students holding Bachelor's degrees can choose among various Master's programs. However, most students enroll in the Master's program in Simulation Sciences, a flexible, English-language study program. The degree consists of three semesters of coursework plus a one-semester thesis research project. The coursework offers a broad introduction to methods and applications of numerical sciences, ranging from quantum physics to large-scale computational fluid dynamics and solid mechanics. Early research activity culminates in a written master's thesis, which should include a research proposal for the doctoral phase; in this sense the Master's thesis serves as a stepping-stone for the doctoral research.
As an alternate entry point, students may enroll in any of the Master's programs offered by RWTH Aachen University in Mathematics, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Material Sciences, or Computational Engineering Sciences. Evidence of adequate background, essentially equivalent to a Bachelor's degree in the same field, usually must be demonstrated. Currently these programs are offered predominantly in German. Students who wish to enroll need to fulfill the admission requirements of the respective departments. For further information please visit our website: www.aices.rwth-aachen.de/academics
Fast-track students, who entered the AICES program with a Bachelor's degree, have the opportunity to continue to the doctoral phase of our program after successfully completing the Master's program. Alternatively, students who have obtained a Master's degree (or equivalent) outside the fast-track program may be admitted directly to the doctoral phase.
The doctoral candidate defines the thesis topic with the assistance of the junior advisor, who is the candidate's primary research advisor. At the end of each year, the doctoral candidate must summarize his or her progress in an oral presentation.
Research projects leading to a doctoral degree (Dr. rer. nat. or Dr.-Ing.) are currently offered in the following topics: automatic differentiation, bioinformatics, biomedical engineering, computational fluid dynamics, computational solid mechanics, electrical engineering, energy systems, computational geoscience, global optimization, high-performance computing, inverse problems, materials science, model identification, multiscale modeling and simulations, numerical linear algebra, numerical methods for PDEs, optimal control and design, and process systems engineering.
Each semester the Graduate School organizes a series of lectures, which bring together experts from around the world to present their current research activities on Computational Engineering Science. Moreover, the "EU Regional School on Computational Engineering Science" is held for graduate students from German, Belgian, and Dutch universities and presents one- and two-day introductions to various aspects of computational science. In addition, AICES cooperates with the Centre for Doctoral Studies, which provides soft-skill training as well as many other student services.
The AICES doctoral program is open to a limited number of extremely well qualified students with a substantial background in Computational Engineering Science, Computer Science, Mathematics, Engineering, Natural Sciences, or Geosciences.
Holders of bachelor's degrees applying for the combined master's and doctoral program should submit their application by December 15 for admission in the summer semester and by April 15 for admission in the winter semester. Candidates holding master's degrees (or equivalent) may apply for direct admission to the doctoral phase; applications may be submitted at any time.
We guarantee those students admitted to AICES a HIWI job for one year during the Master's phase with an option to extend for a further year. Doctoral candidates receive a stipend of € 2,000 per month during the three-year program. Support for other education-related expenses, such as travel funds to enable collaborative research visits, is also available to AICES-funded fellows.
To apply, fill out the application form, which can be found on our website: www.aices.rwth-aachen.de/admission. Moreover, be sure to submit:
The AICES Graduate School and RWTH Aachen University do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age, or national or ethnic origin. Further information can be found on our website: https://www.aices.rwth-aachen.de/en/about-aices/people/gender-and-diversity
Aachen Institute for Advanced Study in Computational Engineering Science (AICES)
Prof. Marek Behr, Ph.D.
Chair for Computational Analysis of Technical Systems
52062 Aachen, Germany
Dr. Nicole Faber
Aachen Institute for Advanced Study in
Computational Engineering Science
52062 Aachen, Germany