Data Science with scientific expertise: IT Incubator supports Saarbrücken start-up
Expertise in data science is in demand in every industry now. To hold their own against competitors, companies need to draw the right conclusions from their digital data and evaluate them carefully. Four renowned informatics experts from Saarland University want to support such companies. Hence they are in the process of founding the consulting company „D:AI:MOND“. In their „Data Science Consulting“ service they want to incorporate the latest research findings in order to provide more evidence-based advice to their customers. Now, the IT Incubator of Saarland University and the Max Planck Society is supporting their idea.
Digital data and its evaluation are the foundation of every successful company today. „Big data“, the analysis of huge amounts of data, is just as much a part of it as „artificial intelligence“ and its sub-discipline „machine learning“, which with „deep learning“ has recently become very popular in industry and research. „The confusion in the industry regarding all these buzzwords is unfortunately very great,“ explains Jens Dittrich from Saarland University, but „as researchers, we can clear this fog.“ Dittrich is a professor of computer science in databases, data management, and big data at Saarland University. He is a member of the scientific advisory board of Software AG and is invited as a keynote speaker for international conferences, regarding the interaction of data management and data science.
A big problem, according to Dittrich, is that some companies misjudge the data analysis process. Often companies focus too much on a particular tool or analysis technique: „The companies dream of a penthouse on the 10th floor, but unfortunately forget to plan the entire foundation and building below. Another pattern we see is that some companies believe that it will be a very large building, so they buy a costly tunnel-boring machine before planning.“
However, such a „data analysis building“ also includes gathering the right data, cleaning and merging the data, removing errors, curating the data, setting up a scalable data architecture, and defining the characteristics critical to the analysis. This is usually much more important than the subsequent analysis, says Dittrich. Hence, he has been working with his colleagues since the spring of 2017 to start a business that offers better advice than other companies because it is combined with scientific experience.
His comrades are internationally known as scientists, too. Verena Wolf is a professor of computer science at Saarland University with a focus on modeling and simulation. In 2013, the German edition of the MIT Technology Review gave the „Young Innovator under 35“ award to her. PhD researcher Endre Palatinus is an expert in the field of data management, and Thilo Krüger, computer scientist and chemist, is an expert in statistics and machine learning in the fields of chemistry and epigenetics.
The international abbreviations of the scientists‘ research areas, databases, artificial intelligence (AI) and modeling, are therefore included in the company’s name „D:AI:MOND“. The slogan is „databases meets AI meets modeling“. The scientists have already mastered their first important step. The IT Incubator, founded by the University of Saarland and the Max Planck Innovation GmbH, has included the prospective startup in its incubation program. Thus, not only researchers, but also students will receive assistance in developing their ideas entrepreneurially. The IT Incubator offers expert knowledge, financing, network and operational support.
„The leap from research to industry is not easy. Therefore, we are very happy that the incubation managers show us what we are not doing well and what is still important,“ says Endre Palatinus. The researchers have already held initial conversations with IT, chemical and automotive companies. Palatinus is convinced that the consultation will also serve to understand the needs of the customers fundamentally in order to develop and sell special solutions and products.
Questions can be directed to:
Professor Verena Wolf
Modeling and Simulation
Saarland Informatics Campus E1.3
Tel.: +49 681 302-5636
Professor Jens Dittrich
Big Data Analytics Group
Saarland Informatics Campus E1.1
Tel: +49 681 302-70141
Competence Center Computer Science Saarland
Saarland Informatics Campus E1.7