Institute for Automation and Applied Informatics


Research and development work of IAI concentrates on two areas. Potential synergy effects in terms of the methodological basis and application will be made use of.

Content overview


Energy Informatics

We understand “energy informatics” as an area of informatics covering studies, development, and use of methods of informatics and related disciplines, such as electrical engineering, cybernetics, automation, and economics to solve problems relating to complex energy systems and in particular the design, operation, and optimization of distributed and networked energy systems. The overall objective is a reliable, sustainable, and efficient energy supply.

Several research groups of IAI work on various projectsin the wide area of energy informatics.

One field of work is the development of an infrastructure (software and hardware tools) for modeling, simulation, monitoring, and analysis of power grids. Fundamental issues relating to distributed control and optimization are studied.

Work in the area of “energy systems analysis” covers energy supply of buildings. As a basis, semantic data models for spatial data are developed, used, and standardized. Integration of heat and electricity supply in the building sector is analyzed.

Work in the area of “data management” covers solutions for the storage of time series, model data, and metadata in a system of generic data services. Other activities focus on smart retrieval methods, web-based or mobile front-end applications as well as on energy technology related information and collaboration portals. Various data mining methods are developed.

To optimize technical processes, work also covers mathematical modeling of technical processes and planning of the instrumentation and control of large-scale facilities. For combustion and high-temperature processes, industrial image processing methods and intelligent sensor technologies as well as spectral measurement techniques and camera technologies are developed and tested. In addition, issues of data analysis and the reliability and security of software are addressed. In the area of “geo-thermal energy”, a system platform for new probes is being developed. Aspects of heat management, energy supply, and communication under borehole conditions are addressed.

Large-scale projects are coordinated and studied across programs and working groups. Under “Energy Lab 2.0”, a program to study interactions of various components of future energy systems, IAI is responsible for the conception and establishment of the “Smart Energy System Simulation and Control Center (SEnSSiCC)” and studies scientific aspects of future energy systems. SEnSSiCC pools the IT-related work and research into the Energy Lab 2.0. Under the joint initiative “Energy System 2050” of the Helmholtz Association that is funded with EUR 15 million over a duration of five years and pursues a systemic solution approach for the energy transition in germany, IAI is involved in Topic 5 (Data Formats, Simulations, Prognosis, Control).


Mechatronics/Automation technology

We regard “mechatronics” as an interdisciplinary field. Hence we research, develop and apply methods at the interface of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science to analyse and optimise complex systems. The methodical strength of our institute consists of research and development of complex systems by means of a close interaction between hardware and software competences. The principles and the works in development of algorithms, mechatronic systems as well as conceptual activities from all Helmholtz Programmes can be transferred to manifold tasks, e.g. in automation.

Our main fields of activity are the Helmholtz Programmes “Science and Technology of Nanosystems” and “Biointerfaces in Technology and Medicine”.

IAI contributes to the programme “Science and Technology of Nanosystems” in the fields

  • system design (modeling, simulation, decision support)
  • development and optimization of system integration processes (printing, dispensing, assembly and optical inspection)
  • mechatronic systems for technical realization of these processes

The focus of our activities in the programme “Biointerfaces in Technology and Medicine” lies on

  • automated analysis of large numbers of images and data sets
  • lab automation and robotics

Moreover we are involved in numerous European projects, national projects and in direct cooperation with industry.