The Heidelberg University established the instrument of ‘Scientific Computing’ within its Institutional Strategy “Realising the Potential of a Comprehensive University” (funded by the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments). The goal is to build bridges across the disciplines of the University and its four Fields of Focus (FoF). In many disciplines scientific research can profit enormously from the possibilities of current computing technology and digitalization. However, only the development of new problem-specific mathematical and computational methods in interdisciplinary research projects lead to real innovation and unique features. Due to its specific research profile the Interdiciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR) plays a leading role at this cutting point between methodology and application and within the University’s Institutional Strategy. Since its foundation the IWR gained high visibility and reputation in the classical application areas of computational chemistry, computational physics (particularly astrophysics, environmental physics and biophysics) and industrial applications of scientific computing, since the 1990s also in the computational biosciences (particularly systems biology, BIOMS and BioQuant).
The instrument of ‘Scientific Computing’ has the goal to foster networking and to trigger collaborative interdisciplinary research in order to enforce existing structures in the classical application areas but also to provide support for “pioneering” in new application areas. The focus lies on the following seven application areas of the Computational Sciences:
Four new application areas:
Computational Medicine and Health Care (FoF 1)
Computational Material Science (FoF 2)
Digital Humanities (FoF 3)
Computational Social and Behavioural Sciences, Economics, Finance (FoF 4)