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Team Wants to Revolutionize Industry 4.0 and the Cloud

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Posted July 1, 2016

Seven researchers from the Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC) at Bielefeld University impressed the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Science with their start-up paraXent in the start-up contest “START-UP-Hochschul-Ausgründungen NRW” (University Start-Up Spin-Offs North Rhine-Westphalia). The team was able to win over the jury of experts with its ideas and was granted a funding award of approximately 250,000€. The funding period begins on 1 July 2016. 

The Bielefeld engineers have big plans: due to the millions of smart phones, as well as Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, more and more data is ending up in the Cloud – that is, in large data centers. In the era of Big Data, the energy demand of these computers is steadily growing, which entails a significant challenge for the operators of data centers. This is where the paraXent team comes into play – by expanding conventional computers with a specially developed hardware solution called the RAPTOR platform.

Similar to how a graphics card speeds up image processing, the RAPTOR system can execute a variety of applications significantly faster than a standard computer. This is made possible by the innovative use of special microchips (FPGAs, Field Programmable Gate Arrays). “We are convinced that we can make computers ten times faster and five times more energy efficient with the methods and the hardware platform we have developed,” says computer engineer Jens Hagemeyer, who heads the paraXent team. But it does not end there: a decisive factor is the time that is needed for developing the new systems. “We would like to offer our future customers not only our systems, but also our support for fast and successful realization of new projects,” explains Hagemeyer. “For complex components in the area of Industry 4.0, we can cut the development time by 30 percent using our approach.”

The paraXent team members include Jens Hagemeyer, Christian Hilker, Dirk Jungewelter, Martin Kaiser, Jan Lachmair, Dr. Mario Porrmann and Professor Dr. Ulrich Rückert, who heads the working group Cognitronics and Sensor Systems at the Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology.

The Ministries of Science and Economics have made almost 70 million Euro available through 2020 to support patents, cooperations, and the founding of technology and science-based companies. The goal of this funding is to promote the rapid and efficient exchange of knowledge and technologies between institutions of higher education and industry. Universities and research institutes, medium-sized companies, and innovative start-ups benefit from the joint initiative “HochschulStart-up NRW,” which is part of the strategic research program “Fortschritt NRW” (Progress North Rhine-Westphalia).

The funding program “START-UP-Hochschul-Ausgründungen NRW” is also part of this initiative. It is targeted at start-up teams at universities in North Rhine-Westphalia that would like to further develop their innovative ideas that have high application potential for commercial viability, and thus could help strengthen the local economy. In the second round call for proposals of the contest, 18 start-up teams applied for funding. An independent committee of experts then selected nine projects as eligible for funding and recommended them for the approval process.

Source: Bielefeld University

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