Fellows WS 2014/15

Remote sensing, remote control

I am interested in the military history of remote control as a predecessor of these consumer electronics. During my stay at mecs, I will focus on the complex interfaces in simulated piloting / piloting from a distance. Being a tactile interface, I will understand remote control in its duality, as both steering (touching) and perceiving (being touched), in which both automation/programmability (gyroskope) and haptic simulation (servo feedback) play crucial roles when operating an aerial vehicle from afar.


Automatization of the observer

With the invention of electronic computers and later micro processors measurement devices were equipped with computer chips delegating the controlling of the instrument as well as the data analysis to machine algorithms. In the 1980s algorithms decided that the ozone whole does not exist by evaluating the data as measurement errors. Today, probably every measurement device is equipped with computer chips and algorithms. Furthermore, due to the flood of data scientific information is hardly directly achievable by humans anymore. Machines tell researchers that something has been recorded and what it is.


Simulation of Flatness

My work at mecs includes one research project and two editing projects: (1) Research project: A reflection on aspects of the digital in the context of the 'cultural technique of flattening' under the title 'Simulation of Flatness'. (2) Editing project: The conception of a volume on Ada Lovelace, the 'first computer programmer', which will be published by Fink Verlag. (3) Publishing project: The completion of my monograph 'Cognition and Figuration: Principles of Diagrammatology', which will be published by Suhrkamp Verlag.


Re-Engineering Biology

For twelve years I have been conducting an investigation into the cognitive and learning practices in four cutting-edge bioengineering sciences research labs – two in biomedical engineering (a tissue engineering lab; a neural engineering lab) and two in integrative systems biology (one is purely computational with external biosciences collaborators; one has a wet-lab for conducting biological experiments in the service of model-building). I am working on a book, “Re-Engineering Biology: Modeling Practices in the Bioengineering Sciences”, that will bring together insights stemming from these investigations. These modeling practices take place in contexts where, primarily, engineers conduct basic biological research in the context of application.



The broader research project on which I would like to work at the mecs carries the title "Experimentality". The expression points to the manifold forms and ways that allow, not only in the sciences and the arts, but also in other creative areas of cultural life, to explore the unknown in a controlled fashion. They are not only reflected in "tentative" actions, but also in "tentative" objects. In the sciences, besides preparations - in the life sciences in particular -models and simulations play a more and more increasing role. To determine the experimental character of simulations in more detail is the aim of my work at mecs. I would like to look at how forms of simulation have found their way into molecular biology in the course of its history. I hope that I will be able to profit from the concentrated competence of the colleagues at MECS in this matter.


Haptic Rendering

My project focuses on the relation of the human body and virtuality in terms of haptics. With special regard to media studies there are pivotal issues concerning the human body, which are up to debate: the scope ranges from assumedly simple prosthetics including variable types of digital human to haptic manipulations. As haptic rendering those manipulations enable the simulation of reality in technical surroundings for a variety of reasons (from ergonomics to entertainment). "Haptic rendering allows users to 'feel' virtual objects in a simulated environment"(Salisbury/Conti/Barbagli 2004:24). 


The epistemic opacity of computer simulations

I am a professor of philosophy  at Leuphana University Lueneburg. He holds a Ph.D. in economics since 2001 and obtained his venia legendi in philosophy at Zurich University in 2007. After teaching as interim professor at University of St. Gallen, Ludwig-Maximilian University Munich and Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Muenster, he joined Leuphana University as full professor in 2010. Among his academic hobby-horses are computer simulations of strategic interaction in the tradition of Axeldrod's Evolution of Cooperation (1984).


Analysis of brain simulation

My project proposed intends to identify relevant objectives, models, imginations of quality, ideas and background assumptions used in the design of systems in the context of neuroinformatics. Factors for both the production of knowledge as well as for the publication practice of research results shall exemplarily be explicated for newer AI methods and practices of Machine Learning used in modern neuroinformatics platforms and systems. Possible effects of these practices will be pointed out with regard to the validity of the developed knowledge, the norms and standards, as well as the exclusions produced. This may give suggestions for more adequate and poorer of undesirable consequences grown development strategies.


Cultures of calculation and computation

The question concerning "Media Cultures of Computer Simulation" is obviously also the question concerning the role of calculation and computation for a given culture. The role that computer simulations have had since 1945 for the sciences, but also for economics, politics and finally for entertainment (e.g. special effects and computer games) can hardly be overestimated. Insofar, we are living in a culture of calculation and computation, as has been observed already early on and with a critical undertone by Martin Heidegger. But we are also living in a culture of calculation and computation in a different sense - and even longer so.