As of January 2023, Tilmann Gneiting is the new Scientific Director of HITS. As the position of Scientific Director rotates through the group leaders, this is a planned change in the HITS management. Frauke Gräter, who had been Scientific Director for the last two years, stepped down from this position at the end of the year. The new deputy Scientific Director will be Kai Polsterer.
Tilmann Gneiting has been leader of the “Computational Statistics” group at HITS and professor for computational statistics at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) since 2013. His research focuses on methods for probabilistic forecasting, such as in weather prediction or for the development of the Corona pandemic. Gneiting is one of the highly cited researchers worldwide, according to the Clarivate Analytics list that included him five times in a row (2014-2018). He was fellow at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF), is fellow of the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and served as Editor-in-Chief of the “Annals of Applied Statistics.” For his research, he was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant in 2012.
Kai Polsterer has been at HITS since 2013, too. Since then, he has been leading the first European Research group in Astroinformatics. Polsterer has developed new methods and tools to deal with the exponentially increasing amount of data in that field, with a focus on developing tailored machine learning solutions. He has been a founding board member of the International Astroinformatics Association (IAIA), and of the IEEE “task-force on mining complex astronomical data“, and he is involved in an ERC Synergy Grant to measure the scale of the Universe. Moreover, he is involved in a number of interdisciplinary projects with statisticians and medical scientists, which lead to introducing new approaches to optimize weather forecasts as well as to cardiological analyses.
The Scientific Director is selected among the HITS group leaders and appointed by the shareholders. The Scientific Director represents the Institute in all scientific matters vis-à-vis cooperation partners and the public.
HITS, the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, was established in 2010 by physicist and SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira (1940-2015) and the Klaus Tschira Foundation as a private, non-profit research institute. HITS conducts basic research in the natural, mathematical, and computer sciences. Major research directions include complex simulations across scales, making sense of data, and enabling science via computational research. Application areas range from molecular biology to astrophysics. An essential characteristic of the Institute is interdisciplinarity, implemented in numerous cross-group and cross-disciplinary projects. The base funding of HITS is provided by the Klaus Tschira Foundation.