Research Areas Institute of Distributed Systems at Ulm University

Today, hardly any computer functions in isolation. There is a strong and on-going trend to distribute computing tasks to systems of networked computers. PCs, smartphones, smart electric meters or washing machines: none of these devices would be very useful without computer networks and remote services.

Leslie Lamport, one of the founding fathers of distributed systems, boiled it down to this statement:

You know you have [a distributed system] when the crash of a computer you’ve never heard of stops you from getting any work done.

Upcoming trends will even increase this effect: cloud-computing, wireless sensor networks and connected vehicles all rely on networking and distributed computing as an absolute requirement for almost every IT system. This, however, leads to a number of problems that computer science needs to address and solve:

These requirements pose fascinating challenges to distributed systems research even after decades of research. At the Institute of Distributed Systems, we are ready and eager to address these in our work.

In our vision, future distributed systems will scale to very large dimensions while processing sensitive data reliably and securely, manage themselves in a self-organizing way, and possess an inherent simplicity that makes them understandable and accessible both from a developer, management, and user perspective.

In order to implement this vision, our work is concerned with the following working areas:


Formal methods in distributed systems
Simulation of distributed systems
Prototyping distributed systems
Design and architectures of distributed systems

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Current Research Areas

Failure-tolerant distributed systems
Security and privacy in cyber-physical systems
Communication for multi-media applications
Dynamic, wireless multi-hop networks

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Application Areas

Automotive and Intelligente Transport Systems
Industrial Control Systems
Cloud Computing
Service-oriented business applications

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Secretary's Office

Marion Köhler
Phone: +49 731 50-24140
available in the morning
Fax: +49 731 50-24142

Postal Address

Institute of Distributed Systems
Ulm University
Albert-Einstein-Allee 11
89081 Ulm

Visiting Address

Gebäude O27, Raum 349
89081 Ulm
Monday, Wednesday and Thursday all day
Tuesday and Friday mornings only.