Interview with Benjamin Uekermann

January 25, 2021 / SaSä

Also Benjamin Uekermann joined SimTech at the beginning of January. He is the professor for Sustainability and Usability of Simulation Software. For more information check also the news about him, his website and preCICE. In order to get to know him better, please find below a short interview with him.

Maybe you can introduce yourself briefly. Where do you come from? What have you done so far?

I grew up near a small village, which is near another small village in the Bavarian Forest. I moved to Munich to study Mathematics and later do my PhD in Computer Science. Afterwards, I was the scientific programm manager of the German priority program for exascale software (SPPEXA). In total, I lived in Munich for 12 years, only interrupted by several stays abroad in Paris, Barcelona, and California. The last two years, I was a postdoctoral researcher in Eindhoven. And now Stuttgart.

What are your focuses and in which direction have you done research so far?

I always use this sentence: Development of numerical methods and algorithms for multi-physics, multi-scale simulations, their efficient implementation on parallel systems, and their realization in easy-to-use, sustainable, and free software. So, quite interdisciplinary. I guess at heart I’m a software developer. A big part of my day-to-day work has to do with the software I develop together with many others: the coupling library preCICE.

What are you plans and goals as a junior research group leader?

preCICE is currently made mainly for so-called multi-physics problems. I want to extend it to more and more multi-scale problems. So, problems where you need to bring together different length and time scales. This requires new mathematical coupling algorithms, but also completely new software interfaces.

Which will be your main topics?

I’m not sure if there’s really one main topic, but an important milestone will be macro-micro coupling. So, coupling between two scales in space: a smaller micro scale, where often many different simulations are needed, and a larger macro scale, where all information is put together.

What do you expect from the cooperation with and within SimTech?

I like the interdisciplinarity of SimTech: people with various different backgrounds, but all focussing on pushing simulation technology forward. In particular, I’m looking forward to working with and contributing to other simulation software projects in SimTech.

Why did you decide on the University of Stuttgart and SimTech?

With SimTech, the University of Stuttgart is currently really the place to be for ambitous CSE researchers – Germany-wide, but also internationally. So much expertise and so many possibilities for collaboration.

Do you have any open positions to fill?

Yes, good point. Currently, we have an open position for a part-time student researcher (HIWI). If you’re interested in modern research software engineering and like working in a start-up-like atmosphere, please let me know. We already have and need people with various backgrounds in our team: computer science, mathematics, engineering.

Have you ever been to Stuttgart? Do you know the city?

I’ve been collaborating with researchers in Stuttgart for a long time now. I guess I know the campus in Vaihingen pretty well. But the city actually not too much.

What are you looking forward to?

A post-Corona life with a proper start in Stuttgart.

What did you want to become as a kid?

Not sure, I guess someone in professional sports, but I guess that ship has sailed.

Quickly asked

Movie or book?
A big part of my work is reading. So after work typically movie.
Mountains or beach? In recent years that has shifted more and more from beach to mountains.
Champagne or sparkling water? I do like a good drink. Champagne not so much, but can sparkling water be the solution?
Watch sports or do sports? Both very regularly.
Car or bike? 100% bike. I know that’s not the best starting condition for Stuttgart :)
Cat or dog? I grew up with both, but unfortunately no suitable pets for cities.
Cinema or concert? Neither currently :/ Normally both and a lot.
Early riser or night owl? I guess I am most efficient directly in the morning.

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