Christoph Dropmann

Who are you and what are you doing? Who are your partners?

My name is Christoph Dropmann and I am a research assistant at the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering and a PhD student at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern. At the Fraunhofer Institute I am working on applied research in the field of software development for safety-critical embedded systems. My industrial partner at the Software Campus is Robert Bosch GmbH.

When did you join the Software Campus and why are you in the program?

I was accepted into the program in 2015.
I chose the Software Campus for three reasons: On the one hand, the program offers the opportunity to manage my own research project and is a valuable enrichment for my dissertation. On the other hand, the cooperation with my industrial partner gives me a better understanding of the problem. The third important reason is that the seminars that are offered enable me to acquire important leadership skills and improve myself.

What do you expect from the Software Campus?

By the end of the program, I would like to have acquired new, efficient working methods and improved my leadership and social skills. By working with my industrial partner, I want to have developed a solution with industrial relevance that opens up new perspectives for both sides and ideally leads to a fruitful cooperation.

What is the content of your IT project and how could it be used in the future?

The aim of my project is to develop a method that enables the efficient and secure use of infrastructural software services of security relevant embedded systems in a competitive way. One example is a software service that enables access to sensor data of a vehicle. If several applications, e.g. driver assistance systems, use the sensor data service competitively, the method can ensure that no undesired interactions occur between the applications via the sensor data service. Nowadays, the guarantee of non-interaction is achieved manually. It is to be expected that future services, e.g. for autonomous driving, will become more complex. In order to take this into account, the desired method includes an automatic procedure for the detection of certain unwanted interactions and a semi-automatic procedure for the integration of possible protection mechanisms. The method could be used in the future to efficiently integrate safety-critical applications for autonomous driving on a high-performance and complex execution platform.

Do you have exciting memories that connect you to computer science? What is it that fascinates you about computer science?

Computer science affects us all, for example through the digitalization of our everyday lives. This is exactly what makes it so exciting for me. Smartphones, parking assistants and social networks are examples that already support us on a daily basis. So far there have been many positive experiences in my life that connect me with computer science, e.g. as a teenager my first programmed toy robot, building my own computer networks and nowadays the structured finding of innovative problem solutions at work. What I find even more fascinating is that the future will probably be at least as decisively shaped by innovations from the field of computer science as our present. Above all, autonomous driving and the intelligent networking of our everyday objects and tools (Internet of Things) have the potential to significantly improve our lives.

Do you think there is “the” quality that a top executive must have today to be successful?

In today’s high-tech and agile world, I think a successful executive must be more than ever a leader who is not only focused on optimization and efficiency, but also has the intellectual freedom to recognize today, the desires, challenges and problems of tomorrow.

What was the biggest challenge you had to face in your IT career so far?

My IT career to date is still in its infancy, so identifying and defining my PhD topic was the biggest challenge I have faced so far. There are many exciting questions in the field of IT. My challenge was to find a topic that both answered research questions and promised industrial relevance. This is not so easy, because mostly very concrete tasks are relevant for the industry whereas the added value for the research lies in the abstraction and the generally valid contribution of a solution.

Imagine this: Internet breakdown for 1 month – what do you do?

Probably a lot more telephoning and discussing current issues in face-to-face meetings. In addition, reading all the papers that only partially touch on my area of work, but still interest me. In my private life, the restrictions would be smaller. Maybe I would watch the news on TV again and buy a newspaper.

What’s your passion – besides your job and Software Campus?

Many things, my family, my friends, sports: I love jogging with friends and colleagues, especially the forest in Kaiserslautern is the perfect place for that.