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FAU Open Research Challenge

Young scientists invited to compete in global Open Research Challenge

Germany’s Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg launches international contest seeking innovative solutions to cutting-edge science problems: Bright minds and creative thinkers from the global research community have the opportunity to test their skills with their peers in a worldwide competition organised by FAU – the FAU Open Research Challenge. From April to July 2015, teams of up to five researchers can tackle one of three questions at the forefront of information technology, optics, or applied mathematics in energy research.

The three questions are published online at www.openresearchchallenge.fau.de. Designed to be engaging as well as challenging, the contest reflects some of FAU’s major research areas. The topics are:

Digital Forensics:

More and more data is stored and shared by digital devices in our networked world. With this increase and recent data breaches, the question of information security is highly relevant. Besides actively securing data and devices, proving and investigating a potential hack is an equally important skill needed for digital crime scene investigation. The Digital Forensics challenge provides a scenario with a data set and asks researchers to investigate the case.

Discrete Optimization:

The global community is searching for new ways to mitigate its growing energy demands and offer sustainable solutions for a rapidly developing world. This challenge focuses on the crucial aspect of electric rail transportation, specifically: how can rail timetables be optimized to prevent costly fluctuations, or peaks, in power consumption. Participants in this challenge are asked to find an efficient solution to optimize a given rail timetable.

Photonic Technologies:

Modern technology makes the life of counterfeiters increasingly difficult. It allows us to create complex holograms as a security measure. A seemingly random pattern reveals its concealed security information when read out with a laser. The challenge is to decode analytically the message hidden in a hologram.

The submitted answers will be judged by a panel of experts in the respective fields. The three winning teams will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to visit FAU. During a week-long autumn school in Erlangen-Nuremberg in October 2015, they will have the chance to visit the research groups and laboratories, discuss their solutions, explore possibilities for future collaboration or careers, and present their work at a high profile public event, the Long Night of Science. The winners will also experience the cultural and nature highlights of FAU’s historic and innovation-driven region of northern Bavaria including the picturesque medieval city of Nuremberg.

The FAU Open Research Challenge is one of three projects awarded with a prize by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in 2015 for best concept in international research marketing.

About Long Night of Science

Founded in 2003, the Long Night of Science is held every two years in the Metropolitan Region Nuremberg. A comprehensive program covering a wide spectrum of scientific fields is supported by more than 300 regional partners ranging from universities, schools and research institutes including Fraunhofer and the Max-Planck-Institute for the Science of Light to major companies such as Siemens, Areva, Deutsche Bahn, MAN and Schaeffler.

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