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Lecture by Prof. Hermann Maurer

The Academia Europaea Wrocław Knowledge Hub had the pleasure to invite local scientists, scholars, and members of a broader audience to a lecture by an Academia Europaea Member, Prof. Hermann Maurer from Graz University of Technology (Austria).

We need lots of imagination to solve some of the big problems facing mankind

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In this talk, the scientist claimed that many of the biggest problems facing mankind cannot be solved by just minor changes, but entirely new approaches are needed. He attempted to show it by discussing some major problems and unusual ways to potentially handle them, starting with a new look at CO2, global warming, and the often ignored consequences of population growth and migration. We need much more clean energy for many reasons, but traditional production techniques will not suffice. A solution for the traffic of the future was presented. Then, Prof. Maurer showed weaknesses in the analysis of big data, as well as how automation would change the world in ways rarely discussed, how the Internet was reducing our cognitive capacities and changing our culture, and why some of the dreadful-sounding consequences were not as bad when considered carefully. He finished the lecture by pointing out one of the main problems of ongoing digitisation through a presentation of one rather amusing example, and one that certainly was far from amusing.

The rather provocative talk was suitable for a wide audience. All statements were based on results that are testable or replicable in laboratories, yet whether they could impact society as it was discussed will depend on economic and other parameters, and that was where there was ample room for speculation (by the speaker) and discussion (with the audience).

The Interdisciplinary Scientific Seminar of Wrocław University of Science and Technology

Prof. Hermann Maurer’s lecture was organised in cooperation with the Academia Europaea Wrocław Knowledge Hub as part of a cycle of open meetings, held by the University of Science and Technology under the name of the Interdisciplinary Scientific Seminar. These consist in lectures delivered by globally known speakers and are addressed to broad audiences – students, including PhD students, research staff, and all those interested in broadening their knowledge of strict sciences.


Every month, Wrocław University of Science and Technology hosts one expert, who talks about the most recent research in their field.
Detailed information about the Seminar is available on the Seminar website (in Polish).
The seminar was financed by the resources granted to AE by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

Hermann Maurer – Curriculum Vitae

Study of Mathematics at the Universities of Vienna (Austria) and Calgary starting in 1959. System Analyst with the Government of Saskatchewan in 1963. Mathematician-programmer with IBM Research in Vienna 1964-1966. PhD in Mathematics from the University of Vienna 1965.

Assistant and Associate Professor – Computer Science at The University of Calgary 1966-1971. Full Professor of Applied Computer Science at the University of Karlsruhe, West Germany, 1971-1977, Visiting Professor at SMU (Dallas), University of Brasilia (Brazil), and the University of Waterloo, during the same period, for three months each.

Full Professor at the Graz University of Technology since 1978, Dean of Studies 2000-2004, Dean of the new school of computer science 2004-2007. Founder, and later scientific advisor of the first research centre for Knowledge Management in Austria.

Adjunct Professor at Denver University 1984-1988; Professor for Computer Science at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, in 1993 (on leave from Graz). Visiting Researcher for half a year at Edith Cowan University (Perth, Australia) in 2003.

Prof. Maurer has received a number of awards, among them German Integrata-Prize (for Human Software) in 2000, the ‘AACE Fellowship Award’ of the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education in 2003; he became Foreign Member of the Finnish Academy of Sciences in 1996 and member of the Academia Europaea in 2000, where he was elected chairman of the Informatics section in April 2009 and as member of the Board in 2012. In 2001, he was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honors for Arts and Science Class I, also in 2001, the Large Medal of Honour of the Province of Styria. He received Honorary Doctorates from the Technical University of St. Petersburg in 1991, the University Karlsruhe, Germany, in 2002, and the University of Calgary in 2007.

Prof. Maurer has authored twenty books and over 750 papers. He has been involved with many journals and international conferences. Founder of the conference series ED-MEDIA, WebNet and  I-KNOW.

He was project manager of multimillion-dollar undertakings including a patent for an optical storage device, the development of a colour-graphic microcomputer (MUPID), an electronic teaching experiment COSTOC, multi-media projects such as „Images of Austria” (Expo’92 and Expo’93), as well as various electronic publishing projects such as the open access journal J.UCS. Also he was responsible for the development of the first 2nd generation Web Based Information System Hyperwave and a large electronic information system Austria-Forum, whose current version has over 960.000 entries.

He has been involved in the multimedia part of a number of museum projects. He participated in or headed several national and EU projects, and continues to do so. Successful supervision of over 400 MSc theses and over 70 PhD theses. Some of his students are now professors at prestigious universities, e.g. Emo Welzl at ETH, Dieter Fellner at Fraunhofer Darmstadt, Herbert Edelsbrunner at IST-A, etc.

Prof. Maurer has travelled extensively and given over 1,100 talks. His original research was in compiler design and formal languages, algorithms, and data-structures, followed by applications of computer-supported new media and techniques for combating plagiarism. His current main research areas are networked multimedia systems used for cultural and educational applications; electronic publishing, information integration, and the societal implications of future developments in computers.

He is a member of the ACM, GI, OMG, OCG, Fellow of AACE, and WG 3.6 of IFIP. He is a life-long honorary member of MCCA, Vienna, and of the Computer Engineering Society, Graz. Since 1980, he has been a member and official of Kiwanis.

His hobbies include writing science fiction, hiking, and scuba diving.