Two central non-research projects add central coordination and infrastructure to the collaborative research center.
The Intergrated Research Group (MGK) aims to offer high-quality doctoral training, thus guaranteeing and increasing the long-term attractiveness of Saarbrücken Computer Science for outstanding junior academics from both Germany and abroad. The main focus of the qualification concept is to support the doctoral researchers in their development to independent researchers by educating them to critically assess their work, communicate science, and interact with others in the scientific community.
Therefore, the MGK was designed to build upon and complement existing structures for doctoral education at the participating institutions of the CRC 1223. Most notable it was part of the Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science, which encompasses all Computer Science PhD students, their supervisors and advisors and coordinates a doctoral program especially designed for the needs of PhD students in Computer Science. The CRC 1223 also cooperated with the International Max Planck Research School for Computer Science (IMPRS-CS), which is an additional program for doctoral students at MPI-INF and MPI-SWS, as well as with GRADUS, the Graduate Center at Saarland University which provides services and support to doctoral students in all research fields.
The MGK complemented these generic structures with contents and support that were specific to the topic and needs of the CRC 1223. It also served as a means of guaranteeing and fostering tight integration of joint research activities across its PIs and institutions and stimulated internationalization by enabling research stays abroad and conference visits for the doctoral researchers, as well as attracting international scholars for a visit in Saarbrücken from abroad. The structural organization of courses and formal requirements were aligned with the Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science and complied with the formal regulations for doctoral training at Saarland University.
The doctoral program of the Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science includes special features, such the dissertation phase; continual monitoring in progresss; guaranteed financial support. All Phd students of the CRC 1223 at Saarbrücken campus went through this program. During the preparatory and dissertation phase the Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science provides facilities for PhD students to meet and exchange,as well as courses in which PhD students are taught best practices for scientific work, presentation techniques, developing a sustainable research agenda, or work-life balance. Since the Saarbrücken Graduate School of Computer Science, with the additional offers from IMPRS-CS and GRADUS, already encompassed all PhD activities, the CRC 1223 did not strive towards an independent Graduate School program; instead, it coordinated, integrated, and extended with the existing structures. PIs from the CRC acted as examiners, mentors, and teachers within the Graduate School, both for students within, as well as for students outside of the CRC 1223. Likewise, PhD students would benefit from the several courses of both Graduate Schools as well as GRADUS, which in turn also were supported from within the CRC 1223.
As customary at Saarland Computer Science, PIs offered advanced lectures and seminars on the research topics discussed in the CRC 1223. These courses helped to identify and attract talented students for theses and further scientific work within the field of security and privacy.
Most projects of this CRC need to handle considerable amounts of data, perform experiments with that data, build models and software artifacts, and eventually produce experimental results. Handling these very diverse, possibly large datasets and models is a challenge in itself.
Since the start of the CRC 1223 in 2016, major advances have been made on scalable platforms for data analysis and experimental research. These include, for example, the Spark system and the TensorFlow library. Both of these and various other open-source software packages have matured, in the last few years, to a level where they can handle very large datasets and run on all kinds of parallel architectures including GPU clusters. Because of these advances, which were not foreseeable at this strong level, the need for designing a dedicated system platform for the CRC became more or less obsolete. This development changed the focus of the research infrastructure and data management within the CRC. Instead of designing new system architectures, the priority was set on collecting and curating datasets as re-usable assets for reproducible experiments.