In Memoria Rolf Würtz
We mourn the loss of Rolf Würtz, our colleague and friend, who directed the research group Organic Computing at the INI. Early on Saturday, December 1, 2018, Rolf succumbed to an intense illness that cut his life short.
Rolf had been a member of the INI for over two decades. He studied mathematics in Heidelberg, spent two years at the Max Planck Institut for Brain Research in Frankfurt before joining the INI in 1990, where he obtained his doctorate in Physics under the guidance of Professor von der Malsburg. After a two-year postdoc at the Department of Computer Science of the University of Groningen, he re-joined the INI as a faculty member in 1997. Rolf was a Privatdozent of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, a faculty member of the International Graduate School of Neuroscience (IGSN) at RUB, and a driving force behind the inter-faculty degree program Angewandte Informatik (AI).
Rolf’s research focused on neural methods in computer vision, in particular, for object and face recognition. He was also interested in more general questions of self-organization in distributed intelligent systems and engaged in applying neurally inspired technology in collaboration with medical researchers and with partners from industry.
Rolf was a very engaged teacher, whose course on Artificial Neural Networks was the entry portal to neural computation for students from many different degree programs. He supervised a record number of Master- and Bachelor thesis projects, organized study projects, and taught two seminars every semester that provided the first contact with original research publications for many students.
Rolf’s unhesitating willingness to take on responsibility made him a much sought after member of committees. He supported the administration of the INI as deputy director, was an engaged member of the study commission of the IGSN, and played an important role in managing the AI program.
We will miss Rolf intensely. Our thoughts go to his family.