Five Reasons why CompEng is Unique



By combining its strong research environment with a warm and supporting atmosphere on campus, the Master’s program Computational Engineering gained an excellent reputation among its students and partners. The reasons why students decide to continue their academic career at RUB, studying CompEng, are numerous. To name the most striking ones, check out our five reasons why CompEng is unique:


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1. VGU

More than 10 years ago, a sister course of the RUB-Master’s programme “Computational Engineering” was founded at the Vietnamese-German University (VGU) in Ho Chi Minh City. Since its founding the VGU has served as a flagship project and model for the entire region. In cooperation with a respective partner country, the VGU and four other state-run “New Model Universities” were established in Vietnam.

The good contact with the VGU allows students from CompEng to go to Vietnam to study abroad for several weeks or a full semester. Every year in summer, the RUB is also visited by exchange students from VGU, who write their master thesis in Germany. Our guests can then take part in joint research projects as well as excursions organized by the Support Team and the Student Council.



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2. International Friendships

Over 10 different nationalities are included in the course each semester. Every one of them brings his or her own unique story. Through the international surrounding, the students receive the opportunity to gain insight in several different cultures and improve their social skills. During their time in Germany, CompEng students share their customs, celebrate traditional holidays and form lifelong friendships. Although the lectures are all held in English, the students can attend German-language courses at the University and participate in different offers like the Tandem-program or the weekly “Sprachcafe”.



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3. Familial Atmosphere

Since CompEng at RUB is a small course of around fifty students each semester, no one will be overlooked. Our CompEng Support Team is there for every student and will help with any concern or difficulty that might occur. To hear some first hand experiences, check out the alumni-section.

Become part of the CompEng-family!





 g Berlingrouppicture4. Excursions

Every semester there are organized fun and exciting excursions by the CompEng Support Team as well as the Student Council. Every year we go on a big trip to either Berlin or Hamburg with the new CompEng batch. The students get to see more from Germany, their new home and get to spend a full weekend with their fellow students and the CompEng Team. During the semester we go on trips like amusement parks, museums, football games or fairs. These trips allow our students to gain interesting insights and get to know Germany better. Exploring a new place together additionally always boosts the team spirit.

Next to the faculty-planned excursions, students can also easily go on trips themselves. Because the social fee at RUB includes a free train and bus tickets abonnement for the whole state of North-Rhine-Westphalia, they can travel to all neighbour cities around Bochum for free.


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5. Excellent Career Chances

The strong and unique research environment of the Master’s programme provides essential skills, which prepare students for their future career. Next to receiving key-qualifications in engineering mechanics, mathematics and computer science, students are able, to gain valuable practical insights by working side by side with the university researchers. CompEng’s good contact to partners in the industry, additionally eases the information flow about relevant job opportunities for CompEng-graduates. Computational Engineering is an excellent stepping-stone on the way to top-level positions in high-tech companies or for an outstanding academic career.



Alice Alferink, Student Assistant


Publication: Multiscale Dynamics of COVID-19 and Model-Based Recommendations for 105 Countries

Publication timothy


Dr. Jithender J. Timothy, CompEng- Alumni and Post-Doctoral researcher at the Institute for Structural Mechanics, B.Sc. Vijaya Holla, 3rd semester CompEng student and one of the institute's student assistants, published a paper providing a new insight into the global dynamics of Covid-19, using multiscale modelling. The research was supervised by Prof. Dr. Günther Meschke, CompEng lecturer, who is the head of the Institute for Structural Mechanics.

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, has since spread throughout the world resulting in more than 6.63 million reported infections and 391,000 deaths. As a vaccine is not expected before 2021, currently several non-pharmaceutical interventions such as quarantine, social-distancing, lockdown, shutdowns etc. have been implemented world-wide. However, this has led to unprecedented slowdown of economic activity. There is a lot at stake here.

A novel multiscale mathematical model called the Lattice-SIRQL that takes into account spatial interactions, lockdown measures and quarantine procedures has been proposed for the analysis of the global dynamics of the infection. Using reported data from 105 countries, country-specific model parameters were computed using a global minimization algorithm. According to this procedure, country-specific non-pharmaceutical measures such as lockdown, quarantine and testing is implicitly taken into account. To study the influence of lockdown intensity, lockdown duration and relaxation rate at small geographic scales, an individual-based model was developed that takes into account complex interactions at the scale of a single individual.

Large scale spatially resolved simulations showed that global indicators for COVID-19 can be misleading and that a possibility of a second wave cannot be ruled-out. Using a data-driven approach, country specific recommendations for lockdown continuation and lockdown relaxation have been made (see link). With regards to lockdown procedures, simulations using the individual-based model showed that inefficient lockdown procedures could simply delay the infection. Such sub-optimal measures will not reduce the number of peak infections (i.e. flatten the curve). Moreover, model predictions showed that asymptomatic cases can significantly extend the lifetime of the disease. This was recently confirmed by the WHO on 9 June. This was few days after our paper was uploaded on the medArxiv server.

For detailed information see the paper:
Timothy, Holla & Meschke:
Multiscale Dynamics of COVID19 and Model-Based Recommendations for 105 countries


Prof. Hackl: Modeling the COVID-19 pandemic

Klaus Hackl


To predict the future temporal course of the corona pandemic, Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Klaus Hackl, holder of the Chair of Mechanics - Material Theory, has used an epidemic model that is related to formulations from the engineering sciences. According to his prognosis, we can hope for relief in May. In an interview with the PR team of the faculty, he explains in how far his forecast model is different from others.

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Klaus Hackl used registered infection figures, including data from Germany, Italy and the USA, and showed what development could be expected if current measures were to be maintained. He spoke with the faculty's PR team about the special features of the model, his motivation and his own outlook on the summer semester 2020 at the RUB.






What results does your model rely on and how did you come across them?

"The data used was obtained from online-research. In the process, I came across the known sources (Robert Koch Institute, Johns Hopkins University). I first came up with the model myself (my usual approach in research). As expected, a study of the literature showed that a large variation of similar models already exists. This was my starting point."

What is special about your approach; in how far is it different from other forecasting models?

"I am using a parameter identification based on mathematical optimization for a relatively simple model. The usual approach in epidemiology is different, at least as far as I can judge with my modest knowledge. There, one uses quite complex models and tries to estimate the parameters by means of "expert knowledge", from experience, studies, medical knowledge. However, it's difficult to estimate the reliability of the predictions."

What was your intention?

"When the restrictions began, I wondered, of course, how long they would last. Since there was practically no information about this, I decided to work on it myself. There were already two countries, China and South Korea, with a well advanced process under the restrictions. I wondered to what extent these developments were transferable to our situation. I then decided to share my progress with my colleagues to make the time in the home office a little more interesting."

How resilient do you consider your results to be?

"I am, of course, in some ways an amateur in this field. However, I have tried to obtain reliability of the predictions by using two independent methods of parameter identification, and I have tested this approach for its functionality using data for China and South Korea. The further development so far shows that the forecasts are quite correct."

Based on your results, how do you expect the next two semesters at the RUB and other universities to be organised?

"I assume that the entire summer semester will be digital. It's hard to say what will happen after that. The biggest unsolved problem at the moment is the organisation of examinations with many participants."




Lina Böhme, Press and Public Relations of the Faculty for Civil and Environmental Engineering via

Another article on the work of Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Klaus Hackl can be found on the RUB News websites.

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After a computer attack, a large part of the central IT-infrastructure at the RUB had to be decommissioned. Due to these measures central faculty facilities are only accessible to a limited extent until further notice.

This also includes the dean's office, the examination office and the student advisory service.

Currently no e-mails can be received or sent. It is currently not yet possible to predict when the problem will be resolved. Current information and updates can be found on the RUB News Portal.



The CompEng Support Team is available via e-mail as usual. Due to the situation the CompEng examination office is currently out of order.


Press and Public Relations of the Faculty for Civil and Environmental Engineering via

Award Winning CompEng Alumnus M.Sc. Sahir N. Butt

Alumnus SahirNButt Klein


Former CompEng student M.Sc. Sahir N. Butt. is an outstanding alumnus for several reasons:

After graduating in Automotive and Marine Engineering at the NED University of Engineering & Technology, Pakistan, he started the RUB Master’s program Computational Engineering in October 2014.
During his studies, Mr. Butt received a special scholarship for outstanding CompEng-students in order to finish his Master’s and start his PhD degree at the same time, working as a research assistant. The Fast Track scholarship program was introduced as a cooperation between the Computational Engineering Master’s course and the Collaborative Research Center 837 „Interaction Modeling in Mechanized Tunneling “(SFB 837). Mr. Butt was the first scholarship holder of this scholarship program.

With a final grade of 0.9, Mr. Butt was among the top 3 graduates of the 2014 Computational Engineering batch - while already working on his PhD!

Within the last couple of months, Mr. Butt visited several conferences around the world. He came back with not only new ideas and new knowledge but three awards:

During the conferences, he presented his recent work, involving the application of peridynamics, a state-of-the-art continuum theory, to investigate the dynamic fracture process in brittle materials. The method was applied to model crack propagation in glass plates as well as to model rock excavation process in mechanized tunneling.  Three dimensional elastodynanmic simulations were performed on glass plates to model various characteristics of mode-I dynamic fracture, such as microbranching instability and crack branching. Rock excavation using TBM cutting discs was modeled to predict the cutting forces as well as the abrasive wear on the disc moving in heterogeneous ground.

The 4th International Conference on Tunnel Boring Machines in Difficult Grounds 2019 in Colorado, USA awarded Mr. Butt with “Best Paper”. The ETS Conference and Exhibition 2019 in Luxor, Egypt awarded him with “Best Student Paper” and the USACM Thematic Conference on Experimental and Computational Fracture mechanics 2020 in Louisiana, USA awarded Mr. Butt with “Best Poster”.
Additionally, Dr. Stewart Silling, who formulated the peridynamics theory in 1999, mentioned Mr. Butt’s Master’s thesis work during his plenary lecture at the USACM Thematic Conference. In his Master’s thesis work, Mr. Butt provided a physical interpretation of a parameter (known as the peridynamic horizon) involved in peridynamic theory.

We say congratulations and thank you for being a part of the CompEng family. We are very proud of these success stories, every CompEng student has the chance to write.

All the best for your future, Mr. Sahir N. Butt!



Christina Rauch, Assistant Coordinator