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Prof. Heinz Schweppe Joins IIT Mandi as Visiting Professor
March 01, 2013 04:49PM
After graduating from High School Prof. Heinz Schweppe studied Mathematics at the Universities Göttingen, Hannover and Zürich in Switzerland (both ETH and University) in the early 1970s. As an intern of IBM during the semester breaks and the lectures of Nikolaus Wirth at ETH, Computer Science fascinated him. Instead of accepting the offer of IBM he joined the University of Bonn, later TU Berlin as a research assistant in the School of CS. Heavily influenced by IBM he worked on Data Management which is his primary area of research until today, although it has changed quite a bit since then. After Prof. Schweppe graduated form TU Berlin with a dissertation on accessing databases with natural language, he joined Technical University Braunschweig as an Assistant Professor. It was really fun at that time to contribute to the development of relational database systems, which were still in their infancy. Since he always had an eye on Artificial Intelligence, which had symbolic logic as common root with database systems at that time, he went to industry and founded the Knowledge Processing Department at the Siemens R&D Division in Munich. When Prof. H Schweppe got the offer to set up the Computer Science institute at Freie Universitaet Berlin as a full Professor, it was a difficult decision to make for him. Among other factors West-Berlin was still surrounded by the wall. But shortly after moving to Berlin, the wall came down and everything changed.

Prof. Schweppe managed to set up a quite productive CS institute with particularly strong groups in Theory, Telematics and Artificial Intelligence. His own research interests shifted over the time to management and mining large text corpora, but he always had an eye on base technology of traditional data management like transactions. The issues are coming up again now with the advent of “not only SQL“ (NoSQL) systems. Although he retired last year, he is still working in this area, but with far less stress than young researchers have.

He is married and has two sons and a daughter who used to live all over the world after leaving their home in Berlin. This fits well to his private interests that include visiting other countries. He likes hiking, sports and of course books. After retirement Dr. Schewppe has eventually found the time to read other than technical books. His desire to explore the life in other countries definitely was one of the reasons to visit IIT Mandi, in particular since he has not been to India before.
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