Research Field Information

Almost every aspect of modern society has been witnessing a massive increase in digitalization. The crucial importance of information places enormous constraints on the handling and processing of data as well as on current computer technologies. Security is as much a key issue as data storage and processing, computing capacities and energy consumption.

In order to address these highly dynamic and major future issues, the scientific focus of the research field information is on fundamental methods and general concepts for the use of information: from the basic principles of information processing to the creation of future data analytics and computing technologies to innovative materials development, addressing the entire design and process cycle. Through our research, we study natural, artificial, and cognitive processing systems, explore new materials and concepts, and develop strategies to translate this new knowledge into algorithms and build the most powerful next-generation computers. In doing so, we not only design new technologies such as quantum computers or smart materials, but also evaluate the ethical and sociological consequences of our digital actions.

We implement our information-oriented research in three strategic programs:

  • The program "Engineering Digital Futures" will deal with the enormous methodological, technical, organizational and societal challenges facing modern science, technology and society in the age of digital transformation. Our scientists will further develop established methods of data processing and combine them with innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence.
  • The program “Natural, Artificial and Cognitive Information Processing” focuses on the development of future information systems that are powerful, energy-efficient, and neuro-inspired, that means they are capable of imitating the functioning of the human brain. Our research ranges from physical principles to technical implementations and includes neural information processes as well as clinical and technical applications and the development of quantum computers.
  • The program “Materials Systems Engineering” will address the digitalization and biologization of materials sciences and materials engineering through the digital imaging of materials, manufacturing processes and applications. As such, it will form a strong link with the other two programs. Among other things, we will develop biomaterials for medical applications in order to be able to research, design and manufacture materials and novel devices in the required level of detail.

Four Helmholtz centers are involved in the research field Information: Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ), Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB), Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht (HZG) and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). 

With this strategically oriented research, we want to achieve a quick transfer of the developed generic and information-oriented methods, technologies and research infrastructures within the Helmholtz community and outside to society. Our goal is to demonstrate the great potentials of these future technologies for value creation and industry and, at the same time, to analyze what impact they have on society.

In this sense, the research field Information is becoming a methods- and technologies-oriented enabler of the digital future within the Helmholtz Association and beyond – for science, industry and society.

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