Proseminar Assignment for Winter 2022/2023

The central registration for all computer science proseminars will open on September 26th.

This system is used to distribute students among the available proseminars. To register for any of the other proseminars that are offered by the computer science department, you have to register here until October 26th 23:59 CET. You can select which proseminar you would like to take, and will then be automatically assigned to one of them on October 30th.

Please note the following:

  • We aim to provide a fair mapping that respects your wishes, but at the same time also respects the preferences of your fellow students.
  • Experience has shown that particular proseminars are more popular than others, yet these proseminars cannot fit all students. We thus encourage students, who want to take a seminar, to select their preferences for all available proseminars, which eases the process to assign students that do not fit the overly popular proseminars to another, less crowded one. Each student who wants to take a seminar is therefore encouraged to select at least three proseminars (with priority from "High" to "Low").
  • If you urgently need to be assigned to a proseminar in the upcoming semester, choose at least five proseminars (with priority from "High" to "Low"). We will then guarantee that you will be assigned to a proseminar (yet not necessarily one of your choice).
  • If you are really dedicated to one particular proseminar, and you do not want any other proseminar, please select the "No proseminar" as second and third positive option. However, this may ultimately lead to the situation that you are not assigned to any proseminar. Also, choosing "No seminar" as second/third option does not increase your chances of getting your first choice.

The assignment will be automatically performed by a constraint solver on October 22nd. You will be added to the respective proseminars automatically and be notified about this shortly thereafter. Please note that the assignment cannot be optimal for all students if you drop the assigned proseminar, i.e., make only serious choices to avoid penalty to others.


AI for HCI by Anna Maria Feit

The recent advances in AI and other computational methods have opened new opportunities for users to interact with computing systems, creating entirely new interaction technologies, enabling novel ways to understand, model, and predict user behavior and changing even how interfaces are designed.

In this proseminar we will learn about specific algorithms and AI methods from machine learning, optimization, bayesian theory, and other AI-related areas and see how they are applied to Human-Computer Interaction. This seminar is highly interactive and builds on the participation of all students. Every week you will read a paper from the HCI domain and prepare a set of discussion questions. In addition, students take turn in assuming different roles, acting as presenter, journalist, or PhD student. See the seminar page for more details:

This proseminar is held together with the seminar AI for HCI.

Requirements: Experience with or interest in human-computer interaction is required.
Experience with some of the following topics will be helpful but not required (please indicate):
- Reinforcement learning
- Deep learning methods (e.g. CNN, RNN, Autoencoder, etc. )
- Natural language Generation
- Optimization methods (e.g. integer programming, simulated annealing)
- Bayesian methods (e.g. bayesian inference, bayesian optmization)
- Statistical modeling (e.g. gaussian mixture models)

Places: 7

Algorithms and Complexity by Daniel Marx

This proseminar is meant to provide students an overview over foundational results in the area of algorithms and complexity. As a proseminar's primary purpose is to learn presentation skills, the seminar will feature two presentations from each student.


Depending on the Covid-19 situation, this proseminar will be organized via a videoconference system or on-site in block sessions.

After each presentation, the fellow students and lecturers will provide feedback on how to improve the presentation. This general feedback must then be taken into account for the second block of the course, where again each student will present.

For the first presentation, the student will present one of the proposed topics (based on one or two of the suggested references).

To not bore the audience, the second presentation will be on a related topic and based on a different reference document (book or research article).
This second reference will be chosen by the students (not from the initial list of references) and the relevance of the choice will be part of the grading of the second presentation.

The first presentations will count towards 30% of the overall grade, the choice of the second reference will count for 30% and the second presentation itself will count for the remaining 40% of the overall grade. Attendance in the proseminar meetings is mandatory. Because of the block structure, any absence needs a doctor's note as justification.

Requirements: Knowledge of programming, algorithms, and basic algebra

Places: 10

Analysis jenseits von Leibniz und Newton by Michael Ertel, Kristina Schaefer und Prof. Dr. Joachim Weickert

Der Ableitungs- und Integralbegriff sind grundlegende Konzepte der Analysis. Aus ihnen leiten sich eine Reihe wichtiger Resultate ab, beispielsweise Ableitungs- und Integrationsregeln, Mittelwertbegriffe und Mittelwertsätze, die Taylorentwicklung und der Hauptsatz der Differential- und Integralrechnung. In der klassischen Analysis, die auf Leibniz und Newton zurückgeht, werden Ableitungen und Integrale so definiert, dass sie das Prinzip der Linearität erfüllen.

Wenn man sie durch nichtlineare Definitionen ersetzt, hat man unendlich viele Möglichkeiten, alternative, nichtlineare Kalküle zu betrachten. Jeder dieser Kalküle hat eigene Ableitungs- und Integrationsregeln, Mittelwertbegriffe, Mittelwertsätze und eine eigene Taylorentwicklung. Obwohl erste Ideen hierzu bereits auf Vito Volterra (1860-1940) zurückgehen und nicht schwer zu verstehen sind, sind sie selbst unter Mathematikern weitgehend unbekannt. In unserem Proseminar werden wir einige der spannendsten nichtlinearen Kalküle kennenlernen und überlegen, für welche Anwendungen sie von besonderem Interesse sein können. Die Anwendungsmöglichkeiten erstrecken sich von Verzinsungen und anderen Wachstumsprozessen bis hin zu hochaktuellen Themen der digitalen Bildverarbeitung.

Weitere Informationen finden Sie auf der Webseite

Requirements: Das Proseminar richtet sich an Studierende der Mathematik und Informatik mit Mathematikkenntnissen im Umfang von mindestens 2-3 Semestern. Es ist auch gut für Lehramtsstudierende geeignet, die Grundkonzepte der Analysis aus einer neuen Perspektive betrachten möchten.

Places: 12

Block course 'Computational Pragmatics' by Volha Petukhova

Pragmatics as a branch of linguistics can be characterized as the study of language use in context and concerns with interpretation of utterance meaning in context. Computational pragmatics is pragmatics with computational means, which include models of dialogue management processes, collections of language use data, annotation schemes and software tools for corpus creation, process models of language generation and interpretation, context representations, and inference methods for context-dependent utterance generation and interpretation processes. Work on computational pragmatics often takes place within research on dialogue systems.

In this proseminar, we will learn how to perform research in computational pragmatics:
(1) understand how to compute pragmatic meaning;
(2) study the mechanisms underlying the main pragmatic inferences and aspects of pragmatic meaning;
(3) discuss algorithms that enable the use of theoretical concepts in practical applications. Focus will be put on computational dialogue modelling for dialogue system design.

Organization: We plan to hold a first planing meeting early in the semester. For the actual seminar (doodle decision on time slots in March-April and papers) we will have a talk for each participant of 30 minutes followed by 10 minutes discussion (discussions participation will be also graded). After the talk, the presenter has to prepare a short about 10 pages report and hand it in for grading.

Grading: 40% based on the talk, 20% based on discussion participation and assignments; 40% based on the report

Course website:

Requirements: The course is intended for Bachelors students in Language and Speech Technology, but Computer Science students are also welcome to participate. There are no formal prerequisites.

Places: 8

Introduction to Digital and Privacy-Preserving Signatures by Lucjan Hanzlik

Digital signatures are a basic cryptographic building block that ensures messages' authenticity (who signed) and integrity (what is signed). The goal of this proseminar is to improve students' presentation skills and, at the same time, learn about digital signatures and schemes that relax the above properties to increase the privacy of signers. We will discuss seminal research papers introducing, among others: Ring signatures, group signatures, and blind signatures.

Each week two students will present their assigned paper, followed by a group discussion about the presentation and the article (it is highly encouraged that all students have read the article). After the first round, there will be a second round where students will present their improved presentation, and only the second round will be graded.

The kick-off meeting will be during the first week of lectures. The proseminar will be held in English and remotely via Zoom.

Requirements: A basic understanding of cryptographic primitives such as encryption, signatures, and hash functions is required.

Places: 10

Introduction to Distributed Consensus by Julian Loss

Distributed Consensus is the fundamental problem of reaching agreement on a common output over a point-to-point network. This problem has been studied for many decades and has recently seen renewed interest in the context of blockchain protocols. In this seminar, we will cover some of the most important results in this area. This fascinating journey will take us from early feasibility/infeasibility results to high-performance algorithms that scale to billions of users.

The seminar will follow a mixed mode of lecturing and presentation by participants. In about half of the lectures, we will focus on classical works from the literature. For the other half, you will be asked to give a 45-minute presentation about a recent paper, which will determine your grade for the seminar.

Places: 10

Machine Learning meets Communication Networks by Thorsten Herfet

With the deployment of 5G and time-sensitive networks, communication systems are now able to support more demanding applications than ever. Providing such strict performance guarantees (i.e., predictable delay and reliability) comes at the cost of increased complexity, since network functions must be more reactive to adverse conditions. This opens many opportunities to apply Machine Learning (ML), which has proven to be very valuable in solving complex problems by finding patterns in large collections of data. Deep reinforcement learning, imitation learning, binary neural networks, transfer learning, and other techniques can be applied to solve the challenges of providing a predictable, high quality-of-service in telecommunications. This seminar gives an overview of ML solutions in different layers of the protocol stack. The discussion of proposed solutions in scientific papers aims to shed light on the questions of what the benefit of ML techniques is, why ML replaces algorithmic solutions, and what metrics are used to justify the use of ML.

Requirements: It's advantageous but not strictly required to have passed Digital Transmission & Signal Processing (DTSP) or Audio/Visual Communication and Networks (AVCN).
You should be ready to read and review three scientific papers.

Places: 5

Microarchitectural Security via Hardware-Software Contracts by Jan Reineke

Spectre, Meltdown, and other microarchitectural attacks have been in the limelight in recent years. These attacks exploit subtle timing and behavioral differences of processors that are caused by microarchitectural optimizations such as caches and speculative execution to gain access to secret information.

The vulnerabilities exploited by microarchitectural attacks are not captured by today's hardware-software contracts, i.e. instruction-set architectures (ISAs). Traditionally, ISAs only capture the "functional" behavior of a system and thus have a blind spot when it comes to side channels. Recently, there has been a push to augment conventional ISAs with a formal specification of information leakage, resulting in more general hardware-software contracts. Such contracts enable writing secure code, e.g. implementing cryptographic algorithms, in a rigorous manner.

In this seminar, we are going to study
- novel hardware-software contracts that capture microarchitectural vulnerabilities,
- verification of hardware-software contracts,
- fuzz testing of hardware-software contracts,
- techniques to automatically synthesize hardware-software contracts from hardware models, and
- techniques to analyze security properties of software on top of contracts.

Each participant will give a presentation of an assigned paper, followed by a group discussion. All students are expected to read each paper carefully and to actively participate in the discussions. Each student will write a summary of the paper they have presented, including a general overview of the topic and reflecting the group discussion.

The seminar website can be found here:

[This is a combined proseminar/seminar.]

Requirements: Basic knowledge of computer architecture (e.g. due to Systemarchitektur) is required. Knowledge of security and formal methods is a plus.

Places: 3

Mobile Agents by Sebastian Brandt

Ants collaboratively searching for food, robots exploring an unknown terrain, people trying to escape from a maze or simply meet each other, tokens being moved in a board game---there is a multitude of scenarios where one or multiple mobile entities traverse some space with a specific objective in mind. In this proseminar, we want to take a look at a selected subset of questions and papers related to mobile agents, from the theory side. How many ants, modeled as finite automata, does it take to locate an adversarially hidden food source in the plane, abstracted as a grid of cells? How many pebbles, to be placed on crossings as markers, does an agent with limited computational power need to escape from any maze? How fast can certain exploration tasks be accomplished?

Each student will be assigned one or two papers, and has to present the assigned paper(s) twice. The first presentation is followed by a group discussion about the presented content as well as a feedback round where suggestions for improvements are made. The second presentation will be given at a later stage and is the part of the proseminar that is mainly responsible for your grade.

The required language for the presentations is English. Depending on the covid situation, the proseminar will take place in person or via zoom.

News can be found on the seminar website

Requirements: There are no strict requirements, but familiarity with basic graph theory and basic automata theory can be helpful.

Places: 10

Reinforcement Learning by Timo P. Gros, Joschka Groß, Verena Wolf

Reinforcement learning (RL) is a popular technique to solve decision-making problems. In combination with artificial neural networks, it has achieved huge successes in challenging domains such as mastering Atari Games, Chess, or GO.

In this proseminar, we will discuss the basic concepts of classical reinforcement learning (RL). Each participant will give
a short presentation and submit a write-up.

In parts, this proseminar will take place jointly with a deep reinforcement learning seminar running in parallel.

The kick-off will take place Wednesday, November 2, 10.00 am.

Requirements: Background knowledge in statistics.

Places: 8

Understanding of Configurable Software Systems by Sven Apel, Annabelle Bergum, Thomas Bock, Sebastian Boehm, Christian Hechtl, Christian Kaltenecker, Norman Peitek, Florian Sattler, Kallistos Weis

Most recent software systems offer the end-user many knobs to personalize the software system. The sheer size of different configurations that arise from combining different knobs leads often to unforeseen behavior of the software system. Even understanding the impact of changing a single knob on the behavior, e.g., runtime, reliability, or robustness, of the system imposes a major challenge.

In this seminar, we address and discuss possible solutions and trade-offs, theoretically, by addressing the state of the art in research regarding black-box, white-box, and causal analyses.

In this seminar, each participant has to perform a literature search and present the state-of-the-art in research on configurable software systems.
Subsequently, the topic and the results of the literature search have to be incorporated into a presentation and a written thesis.
To aid the literature search and the presentation, this seminar includes multiple preparatory sessions at the beginning of the semester.
All sessions will take place on-site at the university (under the caveat that the pandemic situation admits in-person sessions) on Thursdays 12:15 PM - 2:00 PM.
Participation to all sessions is mandatory.

The topic assignment will take place on Thursday November 03, at 12:15 PM. Further information will be provided via e-mail after registration.

Requirements: Basic knowledge on software engineering

Places: 5

Wireless and Mobile Security by Mridula Singh

We employ wireless systems today to share confidential data, pay parking tickets, report heart rates with the doctor, find lost luggage, and much more. Therefore, it is an essential requirement that wireless systems provide confidential communication, secure localization, location privacy, and secure access control. In this proseminar, we will discuss security vulnerabilities of different wireless systems like WiFi, Bluetooth, Cellular, UWB, etc.

We will begin the proseminar at the kick-off meeting by assigning papers to the students and providing some background about the proseminar. We will provide advice and resources to help you prepare and deliver a scientific presentation. There will be two rounds of presentations. In the first round, the students will present a paper and receive detailed feedback from all participants. The primary evaluation will be done in the second round of presentations. At the end of the semester, students would be required to submit a short 1-2 page summary of the paper they have presented.

Please see the proseminar page for more details -

Places: 10