Last February, I went for a three month research stay at the ETH Zürich, Switzerland. I closely collaborated with the research group around Ulrik Brandes on Geistes-, Sozial- und Staatswissenschaften. Their work is closely related to my research within the SFB-TRR 161 at the University of Stuttgart.

View of Zürich’s old town from the Grossmünster (© Thomas Wolf, www.foto-tw.deCC BY-SA 3.0 DE)

In the collaborative project, we worked on order-statistical measurements for graphs and networks to assess representativeness. I had brilliant discussions with various individuals of the group that helped me develop a mathematical model to determine the representatives of a graph within a set of graphs—we haven’t come up with a visualization yet, mainly due to COVID-19 interrupting our collaboration.

It was a wonderful experience to be working in a different group and university, even if finding an affordable flat for less than 6 months in Zürich was a challenge of its own. I would like to thank all the people who made this stay possible (in particular the legal departments of both universities). Ulrik and his secretary Denise gave me a warm welcome and helped me with organizational procedures.

Besides its leading role in research, Zürich is known for its lake, interesting urban development and museums. I spent most of the weekends exploring the historic part of the city, discovering new places and food I did not know about. Swiss people make decent cheese and chocolate! Unfortunately, I missed the chance to go skiing with Ulrik’s group. However, I went skiing on my own.

Overall, I can recommend visiting the ETH and Zürich in general. I really enjoyed my time there, despite the stay being aborted by COVID-19.

My Research Stay at the ETH Zürich

Christoph Schulz is currently working on his PhD thesis in computer science at the Visualization Research Center at the University of Stuttgart, Germany in the group of Daniel Weiskopf. His main research interest lies in the quantification and visualization of uncertainty.

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