Proseminar Assignment Summer 2023

The central registration for all computer science seminars will open on March 13th.

This system is used to distribute students among the available seminars offered by the CS department. To register for any of the seminars, you have to register here until April 12th, 23:59 CET. You can select which seminar you would like to take, and will then be automatically assigned to one of them on April 15th.

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 seminars are more popular than others, yet these seminars cannot fit all students.
  • Please only select seminars if you are certain that you actually do want to complete a seminar this semester. If you have already obtained sufficient seminar credits, or plan to take other courses this semester, feel free not to choose any seminars. Students who drop out of seminars take away places from those, who might urgently need a space or are strongly interested in the topic.
  • We encourage those students who wish to take a seminar this semester, to select their preferences for all available seminars, which eases the process to assign students that do not fit the overly popular seminars to another, less crowded one. So if you are serious about taking a seminar this semester, please select at least three seminars (with priority from "High" to "Low").
  • If you urgently need to be assigned to a seminar in the upcoming semester, choose at least five seminars (with priority from "High" to "Low"). We will then guarantee that you will be assigned to a seminar (yet not necessarily one of your choice).
  • If you are really dedicated to one particular seminar, and you do not want any other seminar, please select the "No seminar" as second and third positive option. However, this may ultimately lead to the situation that you are not assigned to any seminar. 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 April 15th, 2023. You will be added to the respective seminars automatically and be notified about this shortly thereafter. Please note that the assignment cannot be optimal for all students if you drop the assigned seminar, i.e., make only serious choices to avoid penalty to others.


Elementare Effiziente Algorithmen für Stochastische Fragestellungen by Johanna Schmitz and Sven Rahmann

Dieses Proseminar ist fúr Studierende gedacht, die sich für die Kombination von Algorithmen und Stochastik interessieren. Wir werden einige klassische und moderne Ergebnisse erarbeiten aus den Bereichen Effiziente statistische Algorithmen, Stochastische Algorithmen-Analyse und probabilistische Datenstrukturen. Beispiele können sein (die Liste ist nicht vollständig):

- Berechnung des Medians (oder eines beliebigen Quantils) in erwarteter Linearzeit oder sogar garantierter Linearzeit,
- Algorithmen für gleitende Mediane
- Berechnung von Momenten in Datenströmen
- Das Problem des multiplen Testens, Korrekturverfahren, "false discovery rate"
- Analyse von Bloom-Filtern und ihrer Varianten
- Untersuchung moderner Minimaler perfekter Hashfunktionen (z.B. BBHash)
- Probabilistisches Zählen, z.B. HyperLogLog
- Algorithmen für robuste Regressionsprobleme (ℓ1-Fehler-basiert)
- Schätzung von Diversität in einem Datensatz
- Dichtebasiertes Clustern
- Effizientes Ziehen aus diskreten Verteilungen
- Bootstrapping und andere Resampling-Verfahren, sowie ihre Anwendungen

Alle diese Methoden haben wichtige Anwendungen in der Bioinformatik; daher ist diese Prosemianr insbesondere auch für Studierende der Bioinformatik sinnvoll belegbar.

Requirements: Sichere Beherrschung algorithmischer und stochastischer Grundlagen ist eine Voraussetzung für die Teilnehme an diesem Proseminar. Wer die erwartete Laufzeit von Quicksort kennt und weiss, was eine Poisson-Verteilung ist, ist hier gut aufgehoben. Ein kurzes Motivationsstatement für dieses Proseminar ist notwendig für die Teilnahme.

Places: 15

Ethics in Security Research by Katharina Krombholz

In this seminar, we discuss ethical considerations on cybersecurity research. We will mainly focus on empirical and offensive security research. You will learn how to identify "good" and "bad" ethical practices and how to modify research setups in order to comply with high methodological standards and ethics guidelines.

Places: 10

Optimization Methods for Large-Scale Machine Learning by Sebastian Stich

Optimization lies at the heart of many machine learning algorithms. This proseminar teaches how to give scientific presentations, and gives an overview of modern mathematical optimization methods for applications in machine learning and data science. We will closely follow the book "Optimization Methods for Large-Scale Machine Learning" by Bottou, Curtis and Nocedal. (available on arXiv:


Topics include:
- Formal Machine Learning Procedure
- Formal Optimization Problem Statements
- Stochastic vs. Batch Optimization Methods
- Analyses of Stochastic Gradient Methods
- Noise Reduction Methods
- Second-Order Methods
- Other Popular Methods
- Methods for Regularized Models

Note that a particular focus will be put on the proof framework commonly used in this domain (e.g. assumptions on the stochastic noise, assumptions on the objective functions, convergence statements and proofs). Students are expected to (learn to) explain such technical concepts.

As a proseminar's primary purpose is to learn presentation skills, the seminar will feature two presentations from each student. The first presentation will be on a chapter/section of the book, and the second one on a paper of their choice that is related to the book section that they presented already. Both presentations will be graded.

The first presentation will count towards 30% of the overall grade, the choice of the second reference will count for 10% and the second presentation itself will count for 50% of the overall grade. 10% of the grade will be determined by oral participation in the sessions. Attendance in the proseminar meetings is mandatory.

The seminar will likely be organized in a hybrid format. The presentations will be scheduled/clustered in the middle and towards the end of the semester.

Topic-assignment/kick-off meeting: Tuesday, April 18, 5.15pm-6pm.

Requirements: Previous experience in machine learning, data analysis, or optimization is beneficial.

Places: 10

Physical-Layer Security by Nils Ole Tippenhauer

The practical implementation of (theoretically) secure systems adds physical aspects that can be exploited by an attacker. In this seminar, students will learn to present, discuss, and summarize papers on established and recent attacks that are leveraging the physical layer, and potential countermeasures and mitigations. Example topics to be discussed are attacks leveraging physical access to devices, attacks related to sensing and control of IoT and Industrial Control Systems. The seminar is taught as a reading group with bi-weekly meetings. Students will get a paper assigned to them to present. All students in the seminar are required to have read the paper and participate in the discussions during the meeting.

Requirements: Students should be familiar with core security concepts, e.g. through the Security core lecture, or Cysec1/2.

Places: 12

Proofs from the book / Das Buch der Beweise by Markus Bläser

The famous Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdös had the idea that there exists a book that contains the perfect proof of every mathematical statement. ("You don’t have to believe in God, but you should believe in The Book“). Martin Aigner and Günther Ziegler created an approximation of this book: "Proofs from the book" ("Das Buch der Beweise"), published by Springer. In this proseminar, we will understand and present some of these proofs.

Presentations can be in English or German.

The proseminar will be a block course during the summer break.

Requirements: MfI 1-3 is highly recommended.

Places: 14

Seminal Papers in Security Protocol Verification by Cas Cremers

Most modern long-distance communications take place over untrusted communication media such as the internet or GSM networks. So ensure that these communications provide some form of security, we all use a range of security protocols including TLS, SSH, IKE, Wireguard, and Signal. But how can we be sure that these (often very complex) mechanisms actually provide any form of security? During the last three decades, a lot of research has been dedicated to providing mathematical proofs of various properties of such mechanisms, using a variety of techniques.

In this proseminar, we will explore some of the classic works in this area and learn about the evolution from the idea of security protocol verification, to modern protocol analysis techniques.

Requirements: Students should be familiar with core security concepts. For example, through Cysec1/2 or the Security core lecture.

Places: 10

Simulation der Welt by Kristina Schaefer, Joachim Weickert

Typische Probleme der realen Welt wie Epedimien, Verkehrsstaus oder Umweltkatastrophen
können durch geeignete mathematische Ansätze modelliert und am Computer simuliert werden.
Ziel des Proseminars ist es, die mathematischen Grundlagen solcher Simulationen kennenzulernen. Anhand ausgewählter Beispiele wird der Prozess von der Modellbildung über die Simulation bis hin zur Interpretation der Ergebnisse deutlich gemacht.

Weiter Inforamtionen unter:

Requirements: Informatik und Mathematik mit Mathematikkenntnissen im Umfang von 2-3 Semestern.

Places: 11

Software Engineering Research in the Neuroage by Sven Apel, Annabelle Bergum, Thomas Bock, Sebastian Boehm, Christian Hechtl, Christian Kaltenecker, Lina Lampel, Norman Peitek, Florian Sattler, Kallistos Weis

The pivotal role of software in our modern world imposes strong requirements on quality, correctness, and reliability of software systems. The ability to understand program code plays a key role for programmers to fulfill these requirements. Despite significant progress, research on program comprehension has had a fundamental limitation: program comprehension is a cognitive process that cannot be directly observed, which leaves considerable room for (mis)interpretation, uncertainty, and confounding factors. Thus, central questions such as “What makes a good programmer?” and “How should we program?” are surprisingly difficult to answer based on the state of the art.
Recently, researchers began to lift research on program comprehension to a new level. The key idea is to leverage recent methods from cognitive neuroscience to obtain insights into the cognitive processes involved in program comprehension. Opening the “black box” of human cognition will lead to a breakthrough in understanding the why and how of program comprehension and to a completely new perspective and methodology of measuring program comprehension, with direct implications for programming methodology, language design, and education.
In this seminar, we will review and discuss the past, current, and future developments in this area.

In this seminar, each participant has to perform a literature search and propose an experiment for the given topic.
Subsequently, the topic, the results of the literature search, and the proposed experiment have to be incorporated into a presentation and a written thesis.
To aid the literature search, the experiment proposal, and the presentation, this seminar includes multiple preparatory sessions at the beginning of the semester.
The student presentations will be held in June and July 2023.
All sessions will take place on-site at the university on Thursdays 12:15 PM - 2:00 PM.
Participation to all sessions is mandatory.

The topic assignment will take place on Thursday April 20, at 12:15 PM. Further information will be provided via e-mail after registration.

Requirements: Basic knowledge on software engineering and programming.

Places: 5

Theory on Consensus by Christoph Lenzen

We will study a selection of key results on the fundamental consensus problem. In consensus, each of n parties receives an input, and the goal is to compute an output that (i) is the same for each party and (ii) satisfies a validity constraint (the most basic one would be: if all honest parties have the same input, this must be the output). The challenge is the an unknown subset of the parties may be faulty, to the point of maliciously trying to prevent consensus.

In this proseminar, you will be assigned a groundbreaking result to present to the other participants. The quality of your presentation matters most (75%), but you will also be expected to follow your fellow students' presentations and participate in the discussion (25%). There will be a test run of your presentation with me, to help you prepare the best presentation possible.

For further details, please visit .

Requirements: There are no specific requirements. However, be aware that this course will put significant focus on proofs, so I recommend to pick it only if you are inclined towards and proficient in mathematical reasoning.

Places: 10

Through the eyes of the user: Seminar on eye tracking for intelligent interfaces by Anna Maria Feit

Looking into someone's eyes can tell you a lot about their state of mind, their intentions or their next actions; whether they are daydreaming or concentrating, whether they understand the math teacher's explanations or whether they are going to eat that last cookie. Using eye tracking, we try to bring that kind of understanding about a user's mind to a computing device, to enable a smoother, more efficient or more enjoyable interaction, be it on web pages, for gaming or with augmented reality interfaces.

This seminar will introduce students to the area of eye tracking research in particular with a focus on intelligent user interfaces. We will see how a person's gaze can be tracked, how we can infer their intentions and interests, their cognitive load, their language understanding, or expertise, and how such information can be used to improve our interaction with computers.

Students can take this course as either a seminar or a proseminar. As such, it brings together Master and Bachelorstudents. It is highly interactive and builds on the active participation of all students throughout the semester. Every week students will read papers from eye tracking and human-computer interaction and prepare a set of discussion questions. In addition, participants take turn in assuming different roles, such as presenter, teacher, journalist, etc. looking at the material from different viewpoints.

See here for more details:

Regular meeting slots are on Thursdays 14:15 - 16:00

Places: 9