Winning a $100,000 Machine Learning Competition

How can parcel delivery be optimized with a mass of routes and parcels? More precisely, how can algorithms learn and use the knowledge and behavior of experienced drivers? To solve this problem, mathematician Prof. Dr. Stephan Held from the University of Bonn, together with two colleagues from Canada and Denmark, has now emerged as the winner of a worldwide competition - the "Amazon Last Mile Routing Research Challenge". The competition is organized by Amazon and the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics in Boston. The prize money of $100,000 for the winning team attracted 2,285 participants from all over the world this year.

"I want to pass on knowledge"

What influence do endogenous cannabinoids have on neurodegenerative diseases? Bolanle Fatimat Olabiyi is investigating this question in her doctoral thesis at the ImmunoSensation2 Cluster of Excellence. Her big goal for the future is to continue boosting research in her home country of Nigeria. An article from forsch 2021/01

Thawing permafrost releases greenhouse gas from depth

Which effects did the heat wave of summer 2020 have in Siberia? In a study led by the University of Bonn, geologists compared the spatial and temporal distribution of methane concentrations in the air of northern Siberia with geological maps. The result: the methane concentrations in the air after last year's heat wave indicate that increased gas emissions came from limestone formations beneath the thawing permafrost. The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Seeing better by looking away

When we fixate an object, its image does not appear at the place where photoreceptors are packed most densely. Instead, its position is shifted slightly nasally and upwards from the cellular peak. This is shown in a recent study conducted at the University of Bonn, published in the journal Current Biology. The researchers observed such offsets in both eyes of 20 healthy subjects, and speculate that the underlying fixation behavior improves overall vision.

“Who makes history?” The return of the person-centered approach

What influence do individual personalities have on political decisions and the course of history? This question lies at the heart of a new publication entitled Der Faktor Persönlichkeit in der internationalen Politik (“The personality factor in international politics”). It is edited by Dr. Hendrik W. Ohnesorge, a research associate at the Chair in International Relations and Managing Director of the Center for Global Studies (CGS), and Professor Dr. Xuewu Gu, current holder of the chair and Director of the CGS. Bernd Frye talked to Hendrik W. Ohnesorge. An article from forsch 2021/01.

Economy: Michael-Burkhard Piorkowsky highlights the importance of households

“Economics is a human thing,” says a convinced Michael-Burkhard Piorkowsky. The researcher, who held the Professorship for Household and Consumption Economics at the University of Bonn before his retirement, has written a book that takes this statement as its title. Johannes Seiler asked him some questions about it. An article from forsch 2021/01.

Paleontologists reveal what fossilized teeth can tell us

Teeth are the toughest and most durable parts of a mammal’s body and are often the only bits of fossils left after millions of years. We join Prof. Dr. Thomas Martin to explore the secret of teeth.

Researching across discipline boundaries: mathematician Florian Brandl grapples with economic theory

How can several stakeholders make decisions as one when they possess different information or need to take uncertainties into account? This and other questions are on the plate of mathematician and economic theorist Dr. Florian Brandl, who took up the first Argelander Professorship in the Transdisciplinary Research Areas (TRAs) on April 1 and started work as a Bonn Junior Fellow at the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics at the same time. He is the first researcher to hold such a professorship, one of several new posts created for exceptional early-career researchers who excel in combining several different disciplines. In the case of Florian Brandl’s research, these are mathematics, economics and computer science. An article from forsch 2021/01.

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