The Department of Informatics at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is 50 years old!
Exactly 5 decades ago, the first faculty of this kind in Germany was founded at the then University of Karlsruhe (TH), thus giving the then still young subject of computer science its institutional framework.
At the University of Karlsruhe (TH), the development of computer science began in the late 1950s in the faculties of mathematics and electrical engineering. On the one hand, the Institute of Applied Mathematics dealt with electronic calculators and programmed under the guidance of Karl Nickel on the Zuse 22 computer; on the other hand, the Institute of Communications Processing and Communications Transmission under Karl Steinbuch promoted programming training on the ER 56 computer. After the foundation of an institute for computer science and the introduction of the diploma course in computer science, the development into a faculty was strongly influenced by the Supraregional Research Program in Computer Science (ÜRF) of the Federal Government and on 01.10.1972 the Faculty of Computer Science was founded as the first so called unit for research and teaching with four institutes in Germany.
Much has happened in the decades since its founding. Initially considered a marginal development, computer science has now become a key technology in the 21st century. Computer science systems have permeated our lives and are the basis of countless devices and applications that make our everyday lives easier and that hardly anyone would want to do without. With more than 40 research groups and over 3000 students, the Faculty of Computer Science in Karlsruhe is one of the largest and most diverse computer science faculties in Germany.
The faculty celebrated its 50th birthday on October 20, 2022, with a festive colloquium in the Tulla lecture hall of KIT. After greetings and congratulations from representatives of KIT, the BMBF, the city of Karlsruhe, and the Gesellschaft für Informatik, Professor Dorothea Wagner and Vice Dean Ralf Reussner looked back on the early years in a dialogue. After the lunch break, four scientists gave insights into the current top research, aligned with the four main topics of the faculty: Security and Reliability, Internet and Society, Robotics and Cognitive Systems, and Algorithm Engineering. Professor David Basin of ETH Zurich highlighted security vulnerabilities in electronic payment system protocols, and Professor Henning Schulzrinne of New York's Columbia University pointed out the societal role of Internet technology as critical infrastructure in his talk. Afterwards, Professor Wolfram Burgard from the Technical University of Nuremberg showed which problems robotics research still has to face in the development of autonomous systems, especially in autonomous driving, and pointed out possible solutions, before Professor Armin Biere from the University of Freiburg referred to the historical development and the current state of SAT research. At the end of the anniversary event, the chairwoman of the German Science Council Dorothea Wagner, GI President Christine Regitz together with the four speakers took a look at the "Future of Computer Science" and discussed what framework conditions are needed to continue to positively drive the development of computer science as a scientific discipline and as a subject of study.
The fact that computer science is indispensable as a driver of technological progress today and in the future is also reflected in the rapid growth of the faculty as an institution: from an initial 10 professorships in 1972, the mark of 40 professorships was exceeded in 2022, and the new appointments already planned will continue in 2023 and 2024, so that computer science in Karlsruhe will continue to be well equipped to address the socially important issues surrounding digitization in the future.
All professorships, facts and figures are available in the portrait of the KIT Faculty of Computer Science 2022.