Datum 2022-09-21
Artikeltyp Portrait

Professor's portrait: Markus Bohlin

Markus Bohlin, Professor, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Division of Product Realisation.

Please tell us briefly about your academic career – what decisions have brought you to where you are today?

I was a student at MDH from 1995 to 2000, but I took a break to do my military service as a company officer in the engineer troops. After my Master’s degree in Computer Science, I became an externally employed doctoral student at SICS (now RISE) where I worked on applied and academic research projects. In 2006, I moved into a project manager role and in 2009 I defended my doctoral thesis in Computer Science at MDH in applied combinatorial optimisation. Since then, I have conducted research in applied AI, simulation and optimisation through an Associate Professorship at MDH in 2013 and also through an adjunct professorship at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) from 2014. I have also had various managerial roles at SICS, RISE and now most recently MDU. What decisions have brought me here? Every time I've thought about a different career, I know that I value the freedom provided by the research and academic environment more highly than what can be offered elsewhere, and it’s that which has brought me here!

In what area do you conduct research?

Today's digital world is incredibly complex and it is difficult even for those who have designed one of the systems that we use daily to understand how they work in their entirety. I conduct research in using computer science methods from AI, simulation and optimisation to analyse and improve complex embedded systems. For example, it may involve testing systems for self-learning autonomous vehicles or creating robust timetables for rail traffic systems, which are very complex with several parties who make individual decisions. It is difficult to understand the big picture with such complex systems and therefore we often work with simulation to explore and generate large datasets. Paradoxically, it turns out that it is often easier to analyse the result of simulations of complex systems than to analyse the actual system itself.

How would you describe your research environment at MDU?

I work mostly with IPR but I also have a lot of contact with the Embedded Systems environment in Västerås. Here we have initiated a new research team comprising ten members which is called Industrial AI Systems. Both researchers and doctoral students, who have publicly defended their doctoral thesis, can meet (usually digitally) and exchange ideas and thoughts. However, I still collaborate with people at all the four Schools. It’s great fun to see that we can create partnerships which span several Schools and I would like us to invest more in this!

What is the driving force in your research?

I am passionate about questions regarding usability and the difference that high-quality research can actually do for productivity in real life.

Which research domains are particularly important for you?

My background is in optimisation, simulation and planning for complex systems.

How do you feel about becoming a Professor given that MDU has recently become an official University?

It’s really exciting to be able to return to MDU at this time, and what’s more fun is the privilege of taking on a managerial role at MDU.

What's the best part about conducting research at MDU?

Today, MDU is a world-leading research environment in Embedded Systems. In addition, several other exciting research specialisations exist, such as IPR (Innovation and Product Realisation), which has great potential to grow and become leading both nationally and internationally. Collaboration and innovation are our key words, which I think is incredibly important and gives relevance to our research.