The Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation is an ecosystem where scientists and engineers from different fields of microsystems, electrical engineering and automation work together to solve the most challenging scientific problems.
Dominik Baumann does research for the common good
Dominik Baumann is an assistant professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation. He especially remembers the moments when he and his research group made a breakthrough in their research. In his opinion, those moments also carry researchers through more difficult phases, when the research doesn’t progress as fast as wanted.
What are you researching and why?
Overall, the theme of my research is learning and control for networked multi-agent systems. That means physical systems, for example, robots, that are connected over a network, usually a wireless network. And they need to exchange information over that network to achieve some common goal. I think the topic has a huge potential to innovate the industry, but also to help people, for example, in disaster response. We can also use this kind of research to get a better understanding of how group dynamics evolve. And I think this is also a very fascinating topic.
How did you become a researcher?
After I did my diploma, I decided to continue my studies and became a doctoral researcher. After that I became a postdoc researcher, then I became an assistant professor here at Aalto. I wanted to become a researcher because I’m passionate about these research topics and I want to create a positive impact on society. And because I like the freedom that academia offers.
What have been the highlights of your career?
It is always a highlight point when we have made something work in my research groups. If I think about more specific things, becoming an assistant professor at Aalto has been one of the highlights of my career. Another highlight was when I was a postdoc researcher in Germany and initiated a course on ethics in AI and robotics. Setting the course up, being responsible for it, and getting good feedback from students; it was a very nice experience!
What are the characteristics that a researcher needs?
There are various kinds of researchers. Some of them are more practical and some are more theoretical. Some are working in the intersection of multiple areas; some are jumping from one topic to another, and some are digging really deeply into one specific area. All of them need different characteristics and they are all important. But I think that one important thing is that you get a lot of motivation when you, for example, get some experiment to work or prove a theorem. This helps you to get through those longer phases when the research doesn’t seem to progress because that’s also part of a researcher’s life.
What are your expectations for the future?
I hope I’ll be able to build a research group here at Aalto and we can advance scientific knowledge and contribute to society. I would, for example, like to contribute to conversations on how technologies that we develop in academia should be used so that they will benefit society.