TU Wien Informatics

First Graduate of Joint DC Resilient Embedded Systems

  • By Theresa Aichinger-Fankhauser
  • 2022-09-19
  • Research

Dominik Widhalm is the first Ph.D. student to have studied at both TU Wien Informatics and the University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien.

Dominik Widhalm's state-of-the-art talk on sensor node fault detection in wireless networks convinced the committee.
Dominik Widhalm's state-of-the-art talk on sensor node fault detection in wireless networks convinced the committee.
Picture: Theresa Aichinger-Fankhauser / TU Wien Informatics

On 19 September 2022, the Doctoral College for Resilient Embedded Systems was proud to present its first Ph.D. graduate Dominik Widhalm, who completed his degree with the highest distinction.

TU Wien Informatics and UAS Technikum Wien launched the joint doctoral college in 2018, aiming to implement high-quality doctoral training trans-institutionally and to conduct collaborative research with resources from both universities. Research results of the international program are available to business and industry and thus create a direct technology transfer for Industry 4.0 and areas such as autonomous driving, traffic control systems, and the digitization of critical infrastructures.

First graduate with flying colors

The joint program attracts top talents, setting challenging standards for students in the selection process and their scientific work. Dominik Widhalm has been part of the DC Resilient Embedded Systems since its launch in 2018. “Thanks to the cooperation between UAS Technikum Wien and TU Wien Informatics, I was able to discuss my research with experts from both institutions, gaining valuable feedback from different angles. Technical equipment was available to me in both facilities, which was crucial for practical experiments and setups,” Widhalm explains.

Dominik Widhalm’s thesis, “Sensor Node Fault Detection in Wireless Sensor Networks: An Immune-inspired Approach”, deals with node faults in sensor networks and how to detect them. It was supervised by Karl M. Göschka (UAS Technikum Wien) & Wolfgang Kastner (TU Wien Informatics) and reviewed by Andrea Bondavalli (University of Florence) & Davide Quaglia (University of Verona).

Sensor networks are an essential source of data used for a plethora of data services. They are used to measure water or air quality, detect dangerous situations like wildfires, or discover defects in buildings or bridges. But what if the sensor network itself is flawed? Dominik Widhalm’s thesis presents a new approach to detecting and handling these flaws. He looked at the most crucial part of these networks: the sensor nodes. Sensor nodes are devices within a network that gather and process information and communicate data to other connected devices. Within most fault detection approaches, these sensor nodes are considered ‘black boxes’, neglecting vital information available on the node level. That is why Dominik Widhalm suggests a fault detection approach that integrates node-level diagnostics with the characteristics of the sensor data. His method took inspiration from the human body, specifically from the functioning of dendritic cells in the human immune system. These cells are usually found in tissues, such as the skin, and instruct our immune responses by processing and communicating information to other cells, efficiently detecting threats to our health.

About Dominik Widhalm

Dominik Widhalm holds a bachelor’s degree in Electronic Engineering and a master’s degree in Embedded Systems, both completed with the highest distinction at UAS Technikum Wien. Widhalm started his academic career as a junior researcher within the AC-Centrope II project, researching wired communication systems for e-mobility. From 2013 to 2018, he was part of the Josef Ressel Center for Verification of Embedded Computing Systems, where his research focus was mixed-signal system-on-chip (SoC) verification in cooperation with Infineon Technologies Austria AG. During this time, he also cooperated with Elektrobit Austria on Adaptive AUTOSAR-related topics. From 2018 until now, Dominik Widhalm was part of the Doctoral College for Resilient Embedded Systems as a researcher, with a funded position at UAS Technikum Wien. In addition, he gained his first experience in teaching. After completing his Ph.D., Widhalm plans to continue his promising career in science: “My thesis has brought some rather interesting questions to light, which I would love to pursue further.”

About the Doctoral College for Resilient Embedded Systems

The Doctoral College for Resilient Embedded Systems is funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) and run jointly by TU Wien Informatics and UAS Technikum Wien. The doctoral college’s researchers investigate novel methods to design, verify and implement safe and dependable computing architectures subject to real-time constraints. Research areas cover all aspects of the direct interaction of computer systems and their environment – from the lowest level of circuit and hardware architectures to safety-critical cyber-physical systems like industrial automation, building automation & smart grids, healthcare, spacecraft, and networking infrastructures.

The program was open to highly qualified young researchers nationally and internationally, offering four-years funding for doctoral positions. Women were explicitly encouraged to apply. Following our initiatives to promote women in informatics, we granted equally qualified female applicants preference.

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