For a long time, it was possible to divide the research into just two different areas: theoretical research, which seeks to describe the world using formulas and laws of nature, and experimental research, which checks the predictions of the theories and discovers new natural phenomena. And then a third area came along: computer-aided research.

Many academic questions are so complex that they cannot be solved using pen and paper. Experiments are also often insufficient for analysing these types of complex systems. Modern computer technology offers an opportunity to simulate such systems with precision and gain completely new insights. The key research area of Computational Science and Engineering has enjoyed international acclaim for many years.  

Faster, better, more accurate

TU Wien carries out research not only into the fundamentals of computer technology but also into applications for specific scientific and technological questions. New mathematical methods are being developed to be able to solve a wide variety of computational tasks more efficiently. In information technology, established knowledge in the software and hardware fields is used to extend the limits of the possible ever further. However, irrespective of how powerful modern parallel computers become and irrespective of how intelligent modern numerical methods are, for the increasing demands that science and technology place upon computers and their computational power, the best is still only just good enough. Whether it is in nuclear physics or construction analysis, in materials chemistry or fluid mechanics, every advance in computing power is used immediately to increase the accuracy and depth of detail of simulations and modelling calculations. At TU Wien, a particularly powerful mainframe computer is available for numerical simulations: the Vienna Scientific Cluster (VSC) is operated at TU Wien and, in collaboration with other Austrian universities, is used for a variety of research projects. 

Basic research and cross-disciplinary collaboration as a springboard

To solve scientific questions efficiently and reliably, you also need basic research in computer science, for example to improve computer processes – at the levels of software, hardware and system design. Analysis of the flow behaviours of fluids and gases is traditionally one of the most complicated problems to calculate in science. 
Once the behaviour of the very smallest material component is understood, it is possible not only to solve fundamental scientific mysteries, but also to develop new materials for industry. Materials science, quantum theory and computational science combine to form a new, innovative cross-disciplinary field in which TU Wien has had significant success (partly in cooperation with national and international research partners). 

Complex processes and relationships can be analysed and modelled with cross-disciplinary approaches and computer-aided methods.

  1. Computational Materials Science 
  2. Computational Fluid Dynamics
  3. Computational System Design
  4. Mathematical and Algorithmic Foundations
  5. Computer Science Foundations
  6. Modeling and Simulation

Computational Science and Engineering is a particularly multifaceted research focal area with projects in all faculties. Two thirds of the project volume is research carried out by three faculties – Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, and Mathematics and Geoinformation. Around 86% of the institutes are carrying out research in the field of computational science with 94 research groups. 

The success of this focal research area can be seen in lucrative research grants – such as a Special Research Programme awarded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), the Christian Doppler Laboratories or COMET projects by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). The third-party funding obtained in 2016-2018 for research projects in Computational Science and Engineering is approximately 13 million euros per year (about 175 projects annually). The academic output is reflected in the approximately 450 publications per year.  

Article on the development of recent years (German only)

CSE data

Breakdown of project volume by share of research types and share of faculties, project volume in the individual research fields, and breakdown of publications

In the Research Focal Area Computational Science and Engineering, 60% basic research, 33% applied research and 7% experimental development is carried out.

The project volume is divided among the faculties as follows: 19.7% Mathematics and Geoinformation, 13.9% Physics, 5.4% Technical Chemistry, 7.9% Informatics, 7.6% Civil Engineering, 0.4% Architecture and Planning, 24.1% Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, and 21.0% Electrical Engineering and Information Technology.

The project volume in the individual research fields can be presented as follows: EUR 2.4 million in the research field Computational Materials Science, EUR 0.5 million in the research field Computational Fluid Dynamics, EUR 0.9 million in the research field Computational System Design, EUR 3.0 million in the research field Mathematical and Algorithmic Foundations, EUR 0.9 million in the research field Computer Science Foundations and EUR 5.4 million in the research field Modeling and Simulation.

The publications are divided into 52% SCI publications and 48% non-SCI publications.

All data and information provided relates to the research period 2016-2018 (based on the period of the Performance Agreement).