Alexander von Humboldt Professorship 2018

Wil van der Aalst

At RWTH Aachen University, Alexander von Humboldt Professor Wil van der Aalst will bolster the cross-cutting field of process and workflow analysis and drive cooperation with the engineering, business and economics, and medicine faculties, and also industry.

  • Nominating University: RWTH Aachen University

Informatics / Computer Science

Wil van der Aalst is one of the leading minds in computer science. What is special about his research is that he does not restrict himself to issues of pure data processing using software and algorithms but investigates concrete business processes, workflows and organisational structures. He acquired his international reputation, in particular, as the founder of the still young field of process mining, whereby the flow of activities and order of events which make up a work process are chronologically reconstructed and analysed using log data. At the same time, consideration is also given to the human actors who carry out the individual steps in the processes. In this way, complex procedures that involve several human actors can be studied, such as airport luggage handling, bank lending or insurance claims processing. Process mining can be used, for example, to ascertain whether the actual processes coincide with the envisaged process workflows or whether certain steps in a process are particularly time consuming or cost intensive. The open source tool ProM, co-developed by van der Aalst, has become a standard tool worldwide.

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Wil van der Aalst at RWTH Aachen University

Brief bio

Born in the Netherlands in 1966, Wil van der Aalst is a professor at Eindhoven University of Technology where he heads the research hub, Data Science Center Eindhoven. He was a student at Eindhoven and became an assistant professor there in 1992. Visiting professorships then took him, amongst others, to the United States, China, Australia, Italy and Russia. Wil van der Aalst belongs to numerous learned societies such as the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities and the Academia Europe. He is also a member of the editorial board of journals like Computing, and Business & Information Systems Engineering. In January 2018 he took up his position as a Humboldt Professor at RWTH Aachen University.

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