The European Education Directory

Software Engineering for Industrial Applications

By Prof. Dr. (USA) Ralph Lano
Hof University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Software Engineering for Industrial Applications


Industrial Relevance
Software engineering has become ever more complex. Especially in the field of industrial applications, information technology is increasingly characterised by integrated solutions interconnecting systems on various levels. Its applications range from low level control of production processes to high level management and logistic tasks of multiple independent companies.

The design and complexity of distributed systems in industrial environments requires specific software engineering methods due to their inherent complexity. To meet these challenges new methods and tools have been developed over the last years which base on the component oriented software development paradigm together with role based programming and design patterns.

New methods are also available for the integration of heterogeneous systems. These methods are based on generic application protocols (e.g. Web Services) which can be customised for a given application. Typically the customisation includes the definition of terms (e.g. product or service names, attributes, etc.) from the application context. This effort is supported by formal approaches (Ontologies) which ease the agreement on terms and reduce the room for possible misunderstandings.

Key nodes in a distributed environment are information systems managing a wide range of different types of data including relational and non-relational data types. These information systems need to provide fast access and analysis capabilities for the stored data. Beneath traditional technologies based on relational and object oriented databases, new methods like OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) and vector databases are increasingly used.

On the application side such a system has to support the business processes of the involved organisations (e.g. SAP, Navison). Beneath other functions a system needs to support at least the logistic part of these processes. This includes the management of resources and the planning and monitoring of activities. The planning of activities needs to be supported by automatic planning methods (e.g. search and constrained based methods, genetic algorithms, simulation).

Professional Perspectives
Experts possessing a good understanding of these methods combined with extensive experience are rare in industry. In fact the number of integrated IT solutions will significantly grow over the next years in a globalised market with challenging response times to market needs for companies.

The Master programme „Software Engineering for Industrial Applications“ is unique in its precise tailoring to these needs of the industry. The programme prepares you for complex management and engineering tasks in the domain of software development for industrial applications.

The rationale is to provide the theoretical background knowledge together with significant practical experience. The course includes one year of full-time studies plus one year of integrated practice and is taught completely in English by a young and highly motivated team.

Course structure
The Master programme comprises four semesters. The first year provides theoretical knowledge in the domains of Management, Software Engineering for Distributed Systems, Advanced Information Systems and Logistic Systems plus seminars on recent developments in these domains.

The second year provides practical knowledge: students spend working as an intern in a company to gain more practical experience. It is dedicated to training assignments in application-oriented research and development projects. The student will design, implement and validate a solution to a problem posed by the company. Working in the company will give the student the unique opportunity to experience 'the real life', while still being able to access the university resources. It provides for a smooth transition from university to company and very often students find their future employer this way. To find out more about this programme, please have a look at or contact Ralph Lano on


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