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Collaborative Research Centre 901

Individualised IT Services in Dynamic Markets

Today, we find ourselves at the start of a new era in the devel­opment and implementation of IT services. We are witnessing the beginnings of a shift away from the 40-year-old principle of either acquiring software by purchasing expensive, relative­ly inflexible standard solutions or relying on the even more expensive method of commissioning customised solutions from external software companies or in-house software departments. With Grid and Cloud Computing, it is now possible to purchase IT services and their essential resources only when necessary and only in the required form. The service-oriented architectures provide methods to put together software at the in-house level, at a minimum. These initial advances towards a new way of providing IT services are the starting point for the research activities in the CRC 901 “On-The-Fly Computing”.

The vision of “On-The-Fly Computing” is one of individually and automatically configured and implemented IT services, consisting of flexibly combinable services that are available on free markets. At the same time, CRC 901 is aimed at organising markets whose participants maintain a lively service landscape by dedicated entrepreneurial action. With this vision, CRC 901 looks far into the future of IT development and usage, the transformation of which we are already experiencing today. In order to research the extent to which this vision can be realised, CRC 901 will develop methods and techniques that

  • enable an almost entirely automatic configuration, implementation and adaptation of IT services from the services available on worldwide markets,
  • guarantee the protection not only of the services acquired in this way but also of the active participants in the markets, and
  • support the organisation and further development of these markets and the necessary interaction between those involved.

To reach these goals, computer science experts from diverse disciplines, such as software technology, algorithmics, computer networks, system design, security and cryptology are working hand-in-glove with economists who contribute their specific expertise on how to promote the organisation and the further development of the market.

On an organisational level, CRC 901 is represented by its Executive Board, consisting of Professor Friedhelm Meyer auf der Heide as Chairman with Professor Heike Wehrheim, Professor Marco Platzner and Professor Claus Jochen Haake as Deputy Chairmen and Dr. Ulf-Peter Schroeder as Executive Officer. In total, three workgroups from the Heinz Nixdorf Institute, eight university chairs from Computer Sciences, five university chairs from the Faculty of Economics, and one university chair from the Faculty of Humanities are involved in the CRC.

Previous Funding Periods for CRC 901: July 2011 to June 2015 as well as July 2015 to June 2019
In the first two funding periods, we have taken significant steps towards demonstrating the feasibility of On-The-Fly Computing by developing basic methods and techniques for solving key issues of the On-The-Fly Computing paradigm. In the current second funding period, the focus was and is also the exemplary implementation of a variant of an On-The-Fly software architecture as part of a Proof-of-Concept and its application in the field of Machine Learning. This development will also serve as a holistic demonstrator for the feasibility of On-The-Fly Computing at the next evaluation of the CRC at the end of February 2019.

Proposed Third and Therefore Final Funding Period of CRC 901: July 2019 to June 2023

For the final funding period, we want to tackle further basic challenges and, at the same time, round off the work we started in 2011 until the end of the CRC. A central task will be to investigate a suitable degree of automation for On-The-Fly Computing and an appropriate trade-off between the generality of the application domains covered and the quality of the configured IT services. In addition, we will try to achieve the continuity of the On-The-Fly Computing paradigm beyond the CRC by passing on the expertise gained in the CRC through targeted events with industrial partners as well as transfer and similar cooperation projects. We have already developed and launched initiatives for this in the current funding period. For example, by hosting the 10th Heinz Nixdorf Symposium, we invited the scientific community to a discussion forum on On-The-Fly Computing, initiated a knowledge transfer based on the results of individual subprojects with the successful application of two transfer projects together with Weidmüller Interface GmbH and Diebold Nixdorf Inc., and intensified the exchange and discussion with industry with the series “SFB meets Industry”.

On 13 June 2018, the first half-day event in the series “SFB meets Industry” took place in the foyer of the Heinz Nixdorf Institute. Dr. Gero Herkenrath from Trusted Shops GmbH was a guest. Trusted Shops GmbH is Europe’s leading service provider for secure online shopping. In his exciting keynote lecture, Mr. Herkenrath addressed the topic “Dealing with trust – Improving the reputation of a company with trusted shops”.

On 18 July 2018, the second event in the series “SFB meets Industry” took place again in the foyer of the Heinz Nixdorf Institute. This time, two representatives of SAP SE, Harini Gunabalan and Dr. Thomas Decker, were guests. SAP SE is Europe’s leading software group that produces enterprise software for managing business processes and customer relationships. The central theme of the keynote lecture given by Harini Gunabalan was “How the future of software development can be shaped with cloud computing and artificial intelligence”.

Harini Gunabalan (SAP SE)


On 15 October 2018, Dr. Konstantinos Samdanis, a “Principal Researcher” of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., was a guest at the third event in the “SFB meets Industry” series. Huawei is the largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment and the second largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. With Kostas Samdanis, we discussed the question of “How the results of the Network Function Virtualization (NFV) community and the CRC can work together to bring to life an IT infrastructure that can rapidly deploy and support a variety of complex applications”.