etit: First of all, congratulations on your sponsorship in the Athene Young Investigators Programme! In your opinion, how important is such a structured sponsorship of young scientists?
Muma: Thank you very much! The Athene Young Investigator Programme is an important and meaningful sponsorship that helps keep young researchers at the university. Such programmes support scientific independence. Of particular note are e.g. the right to supervise own graduate students and the recognition as Junior Research Group Leader.
etit: From vehicle construction to medical technology, signal processing plays an important role in many application areas. Your field of research is robust statistics. What is 'robust' and why are robust statistics so important in signal processing?
Muma: Traditional methods of signal processing often make assumptions about the data or measurements, which in practice are approximate at best. Thus it can happen that a method that has worked optimally in a simulation where all assumptions are true, has a high performance drop or even completely collapses in a real data „emergency“. Robust statistics in signal processing develops high-performance methods that are not sensitive to model deviations. In many areas – you already mentioned automotive and medical technology, fields in which I have researched personally – this is essential.
etit: TU Darmstadt’s Athene Young Investigator Programme supports you on your way to a possible professorship with up to 15,000 euros. Are there concrete projects you would like to realize in the coming years with the help of the programme?
Muma: In my Athene Young Investigator project, I develop robust methods that can handle today's highly complex data structures and tasks. These are used in biomedicine and in heterogeneous sensor networks. The budget supports the acquisition of equipment and the payment of assistants to carry out research tasks. It also allows me to go abroad, visiting leading researchers in the field of robust signal processing.
etit: Thank you very much for the interview. We wish you all the best for your research!