STI Innsbruck is a research group at the University of Innsbruck engaged in research and development to bring information and communication technologies of the future into today's world.


It can well be the case that employing knowledge graphs in question answering is to be the base for the next level of conversational applications. Sareh's PhD thesis solutions are delivering exactly such base. We have been applying the solutions in semantic search engine optimization (WordLiftNG project), support for manufacturing processes (KI-Net project), and further. Sareh has successfully defended her PhD thesis "Question Answering over Knowledge Graphs" in 2023, and already before this, her PhD thesis work was awarded with a Netidee scholarship as one of the best PhD thesis of 2022 in the area of Internet in Austria.

Albin collaborated with us in smashHit and CampaNeo projects as a postdoctoral researcher, focusing on consent and contract management for data sharing, in 2022. He has been bringing in valuable expertise in applied logic and SHACL developments. We hope that we will be able to cooperate further in the future, as Albin continues at research positions with Semantic Web Company and TU Wien in Vienna, Austria.

Akbar Zaenal

Zaenal has been creating semantic technology solutions for multi-channel online communication, and applying these solutions to multiple cases, including research projects, educational courses, and even a start-up company.
He is also a living instance of the person-to-person global communication channel of the 21st century, empowered by the travel industry. We wish him a lot of success for his further life and work in Indonesia, and are looking forwards to visiting him one day on the beautiful islands there.

Jürgen Angele was a guest lecturer during the winter semester 2003/2004.

Dr. Sinuhé Arroyo was one of the earliest participants of DERI Innsbruck before it was even called like this. He has a strong record in working with industry and running successfully EU funded projects. We are very happy to see him finalizing his PhD in 2007 and we are sure that this was just yet another step in a successful carrier.

Michael Breu worked in 2003 and 2004 as a senior scientist for the COG project.

Dr. Tobias Bürger is a very polite and modest researcher, roughly the opposite of the DERI/STI standard employee. You realize his impact and helpful attitude mostly in the moment when he has left the place. He is currently with Salzburg Research and we wish him the best for his future career.

Christoph Bussler has been the co-founder of DERI in Galway and was also helping in Innsbruck. Without him there would be no DERI. We wish him the best in sunny California!

That’s it, that’s all – good-bye STI! But before I go, here is what it was like (and so much more):

  • a nurse / a Dirndl / Trinity II / an iPhone
  • marriages / divorces / babies
  • nervous breakdowns / hysterical laughter / tears of frustration / eyebrows raised in confusion or disbelief or utter shock / trying to make sense of it all (mostly in vain) / smiles /hugs / screams / whispers
  • enough emails received, answered, deleted to last for a lifetime
  • 389 days of travelling all over the world
  • countless reports, deliverables, white papers, posters, flyers, websites, blogs, wikis, slide decks, social dinners, working lunches, meetings, telecons
  • being pushed into a swimming pool in Tenerife
  • lots of friends, a few enemies
  • 6 different laptops / 2 different buildings / 4 different offices
  • dragging an entire project consortium up to the Seegrube during a snow storm
  • leading another project consortium from Arzler Alm back down to the city in the dark (without casualties!)
  • a roasted Chinese pig with electric eyes that blinked
  • DERI movies
  • calling room service from a certain villa in Crete at 4 a.m. to order 3 additional bottles of Ouzo
  • Omair dancing on a bar counter
  • Soccer games / BBQs / costume Xmas parties
  • “Are we gaga?” / “I have no glue.”
  • Going on sightseeing tours to every tiny Tyrolean village with the FOURSEASON shuttle service …


Tek has been one of our extraordinary PhD students, as he often was addressing several areas of computer science at the same time, often applied to domains beyond computer science. Thus he became excellent in developing hybrid approaches, also involving semantics which he learnt from scratch at our institute. His PhD thesis was on decision making (and he was mostly also very fast in this himself) and he was one of the key contributors to smashHit and KI-Net European projects.

Emilia Cimpian started with me as a PhD student in Galway and it has been a pleasure to host her as an employee for a number of years in Innsbruck. Coming from Romania she is proof of the added value of the new member states of the European Union. Her interest has been in process mediation, a topic that qualifies for a life time obsession.

Jumping from quantum research into semantic technologies and then joining a start-up. We wish him good luck for his return in a region full of tension and stress.

He is an out-standing person in various aspects, combining intellectual strength with a hard working attitude. His future career has high potential especially if he is able to release them.

Dr. Ying Ding has been one of the earliest persons in Europe working on the semantic web. In a time where the world wide community would have easily fit into a small meeting room. Her work in OnToKnowledge helped to set up the technical ground and her central engagement in Ontoweb was critical for the birth of the semantic web community. We wish her a lot of success for her new Professorship position in the States.

It is not easy for an (real) Italian to stay in Innsbruck. People expect he is talking German and the food is so different! Not to mention that Mama is so far away and nobody is taking care for cooking or cleaning the socks. We apologize with Federico for his years of suffering and wish him good luck in Trento (nearly already real Italy).

She has been one of the earliest members of STI Innsbruck. After her PhD she took a Post Doc Position. Te she returned to Innsbruck becoming an Assistant and later Associate professor. She acquired and run successfully a large number of national and international funded research projects and has been a co-funder of the company Onlim. She has now become a Professor in the NL, a country of hard working people (maybe due to the bad weather there).

She was only for a short time with us before she had to leave for personal reasons to the US. She showed great potential and we wish her good luck with her future career.

For nearly twelve years, Leonarda has managed all of STI Innsbruck's finance operations of around 30 Milllion Euro (almost always) single-handedly, while remaining the calm, polite, friendly and reliable person she has been from the beginning. Had there ever been a "Messiest desk" competition, she would have won it easily; however, she never had a dead mouse in her drawer.

Juan M. Gómez started as first Phd student for DERI Innsbruck in 2003 and finalized his thesis in 2006 at DERI Galway. Being our first prototype we were all impressed by his performance.

Sung-Kook Han was a visiting guest researcher during 2002-03 and 2010-11 in Innsbruck. His kind and modest attitude touched everybody and we are all looking forward to future cooperations with him.

Dr. Sigurd Harand worked for 4 years for DERI coordinating the large DIP Integrated Project that achieved land marking results in the area of Semantic Web Services.



Obituary - by Dr. Peter Smolle


Sigurd is gone from us – forever !

But he shall be and will be in our heart due to his unforgotten mindset he created in all of us. He was an unique and highly intelligent Charakter who cannot be forgotten that easily

Just a few spots from his live which impressed me during all the years when we worked together, sometimes close as colleagues at IBM later on as a Customer of mine:

  •  IBM Country SE Manager Austria
  •  Executive position for Services in the IBM US
  •  Building up the IBM Banking Business in CEE
  •  CIO for Bundesländer Insurance Austria
  •  CIO for mobilcom Austria
  •  Project Director for DIP  (A rough JOB, challenging but sucessful for all of us)
  •  Several Consulting Jobs on European level, you name them-

Sigurd was a strange Charakter not easy to become friends, but if so  he was open trustful and of immense help with his experience in life and business


As a Mathematician, he never left his roots , always logical and holistic thinking

As an IT GURU he he adopted the complexitiy of Data and Processes

As an Manager he was the enabling and target setting type of

And he was THE exeptionally gifted networker to connect and link with people all around the world


I special liked his kind of humor:

Sigurd (driving with me in the car during snow fall) Peter, dont  you also wonder why the snow always comes from the front oft he car and never from the back ???

is this an new, undetected law of physics ???

Peter (me): Sigurd you got it, I shall ask Wolfgang Pauli!

Both after 10 seconds : laughter


One of his saying always was:

There is enough time to fill it with something, I shall fill mine with work and friends


Sigurd we miss you

Martin joined us in 2005 as a senior researcher, but he quickly moved on to become head of our research group Semantics in Business Information Systems (SEBIS), which he lead until 2009. Despite the fact that he was also the CEO of Hepp Research GmbH and working as a professor in Munich, he found the time to join us again as a visiting scientist from April 2011 until September 2012. His impressive multitasking abilities will always be admirably remembered.

Dr. Stijn Heymann was working for our institute from 2006 to 2008 and helped significantly to strengthen the expertise around formal languages in Tyrol.

Rainer has collaborated with us in smashHit project in 2020-2022, working on ontology development for data sharing and solutions for GDPR compliance, and helping with supervision of junior researchers.

It has been a honour for us to host a researcher with such a world-class expertise and impact. Whenever you need to plan something make sure you have his expertise around! We are looking very much forward to cooperate with him on new opportunities in the future.

Omar is coming from Nicaragua and decided to stay somewhere hidden in the mountains of Tirol. He help us a lot in developing and implementing our Validation and Verification framework for Knowledge Graphs and in the future he will be a key asset of Onlim ensuring the 100% corrections and completeness of their Knowledge Graphs.

Elias Kärle, PhD

For more than 6 years, Elias has been an important part of the team with his coorperative attitude.

He was the face that was searched for in almost every event that is in the intersection of tourism and semantic technologies, especially in Tyrol and larger German speaking areas.

He finished his PhD work on semantic data publishing in 2021, and continues to bridge the tourism world (and more) with semantic technologies at our spin-off Onlim. We wish him the best, and surely will see him around in the future.

Our institute has felt empty and silent since his departure. Irish are known to be very social, but he tops most if not all of them easily.

It was a big pleasure and honor for us to host Prof. Michael Kifer in 2006/7 as a visiting BIT professor at our institute.
Starting with my PhD I try to understand and apply his vision around tractable instance reasoning with rules.

The day Jacek joined our team will always be fondly remembered by us all. He arrived with flowers in his hair and immediately brought a smile to our faces. We wish him and his family all the best.

Dr. Reto Krummenacher worked in our Institute from 2004 till 2011. In doing this he exchanged the Swiss alps for the Austrian ones. As a Swiss countryman, he easily adjusted to the locals and their strong dialects. Apart from leading various projects in our Institute, his speciality was to be able to fill spaces with data. We wish him all the best for his future career, and we are pretty sure he will always stay connected to Tyrol.

Anelia has joined our team shortly before the COVID pandemics at the end of 2019. She achieved excellent results while working on visualizations and knowledge graphs for consent management for data sharing, contributing to smashHit and CampaNeo projects. She defended her thesis "Making Sense of Consent with Knowledge Graphs" at the end of 2022. We wish her a lot of success at her new postdoctoral research position with TU Delft in the Netherlands.

Dr. Ruben Lara was one of the first members of the Next Web Generation. We are very happy to see him finalizing his PhD at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in 2007.

When Nelia started at our institute, she called the fact that the Eurpopean population is aging rapidly, a "problem". Her former professor told her that she had better call it a "challenge" instead. She loves to provide IT support for the eldery, and those with multiple chronic diseases. I often thought I could offer myself as a use case for some of her projects.

Dr. Francisco J. Martin-Recuerda worked with us until 2006, and he finally finished his PhD at UPM. As a researcher, he enjoyed working with large EU projects (such as DIP, SEKT and Knowledge Web), on diverse research topics like ontology engineering, ontology alignment and Semantic Web services.  His experience as a researcher was enriched with the unique opportunity of visiting Standford, USA. We wish him all the best in his future career.

Christian Mayer was for many years the backbone of our institute and his friendly and cooperate attitude will never be forgotten. We wish him good luck for his future career after finalizing his studies.

Dr. Adrian Mocan started with me as a PhD student in Galway and it has been a pleasure to host him as an employee for a number of years in Innsbruck. Coming from Romania he is proof of the added value of the new member states of the European Union. His interest has been in mediation, a topic that qualifies for a life time obsession.

Dr. Sabrina Neururer

Sabrina has been working in EU and national projects creating semantic technology and Big Data solutions for the health sector. We were happy to have her successfully defending her doctoral thesis at our institute in 2019.

After his PhD with John Domingue in Milton Keynes the undeniable force of love brought him to Innsbruck and it was quite a pleasure to work with him for a while. Unfortunately, the same force of life roped him away, as quickly as he came.

After 11 years at DERI and STI it is time for him to say good-bye. During this time he had to:

- teach seven new technicians
- see a lot of people coming and going
- sit on 4 offices on three different floors
- check frustrating email format issues
- find solutions for other special tasks

So for him it is time for a change and he looks forward to a new experience. We wish him all the best and thank him for
his effort and work in the last 11 years.

We were very much pleased to work for a while with Ruzica Piskac on her way towards a PhD. We will miss her and her support and we wish her the best for her future. She also was the Derian that gave the nicest good-bye presentation ever.

Axel Polleres was joining DERI Innsbruck in 2003 and soon became one of the corner stones in building up the team. His excellence in giving not only single answers but entire sets of them was appreciated by all of us and we wish him great success for his future career that brought him currently to Spain.

From 2008 until 2015 Antonio J. Roa-Valverde managed to: visit STI coming from Andalucía, fall in love with Innsbruck, move to Tyrol,  fall in love with the mountains, start working on his PhD, fall in  love with STI’s secretary, continue working on his PhD, fall in love with mountain biking, get a fulltime job, fall in love with motor  biking, create an app now available at the AppStore and GooglePlay,  fall in love with snow biking, finish his PhD. He is living proof that  persistence and compassion will indeed get you a long way!

Postscriptum: In 2019-2022 we collaborated with Antonio again, when he worked with us in smashHit and CampaNeo projects, mainly on making data sharing user consent more transparent through visualisations (e.g. in-car mobile apps), and helping with supervision of junior researchers.

A remarkable person in many respects. He managed to publish a VLDB paper, he lets boats sink in Guadeloupe, and finally there is a strong rumour that he invented WSMO. We wish him good luck for his future career which has brought him to SINTEF in Norway after his PhD in Innsbruck.

It was always a pleasure to work with Francois Scharffe. His PhD in 2009 on Ontology Alignemnt Patterns nicely combined conecptual and formal work and we wish him success and fun for his future career.

I have always been proud of my ability to write successful proposals. With Elena, I met my match in this discipline. Clearly, she has learned much from me, but she is simply more talented than I.

I watched her grow from a little girl to a young lady full of potential. Obviously, she is only at the very beginning of her career, and I let her go with a tear drop in my eye.

Univ.-Prof. Marcus Spies worked from October 2006 until September 2008 as senior scientist and unit leader on the Business Development of STI Innsbruck and in a number of projects.

Greece has five millenniums of intellectual development. Still, we had to wait for the US to invent the Internet. Ioannis did interesting research on searching vocabularies on the web and he is now working for a leading internet solution provider for the traveling industry.

Dr. Michael Stollberg is the first German national to finish his PhD with STI Innsbruck. He gave us the honor for a number of years to work with him and he is now heading for more urban areas of civilization again. We wish him luck with his future career. Lets hope that he always efficiently finds matches for his goals!   The slides to his farewell can be found


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Thomas Strang was a helping hand for many years, especially during the time of the dual appointment with Galway. In those years you could have called him my second half. His target is the stars and we wish him the greatest success in his future journey!

She combines a deep understanding of 1st and 2nd order logic with a charming personality, a unique combination. She was very active in the Formal Languages and Reasoning group and provided conceptual leadership in the LarKC project (Large Knowledge Collider). We wish her the very best for her future career.

Tomas moved from Galway to Innsbruck and worked for us until June 2009, providing major improvements of the WSMX platform.

Elmar joined us as an external PhD student.  After some years of extensive research in the area of Ontology evolution,
eCommerce, Recommender systems and Self-adapting information systems he completed his PhD in April 2013. 
We wish him all the best in his future career and are sure to see him back time and again.

Many colleagues claim that Alex, the entrepreneur, and me, the scientist, act like an old couple. Given his haircut (maybe due to barber lock-down in Vienna) at least everybody knows who is the female in our relationship.

Before meeting him, I considered myself a frequent traveler. Meanwhile, I think he invented Google Latitude just to find out which continent he is on at any given moment.

The mission of DERI is to apply semantics to data and processes enabling self awareness of computer systems. This puts so-called philosophical questions such as what is meaning and how can it be represented into an engineering context. Dieter Wolf significantly helped us through providing a better and deeper understanding of such basics of our technology.

Dr. Michal Zaremba is one of the founding scientists in the field semantic Web services and a cornerstone of the Web service execution environment (WSMX), an architecture for implementing this vision. His leaving will be a sad loss, but this is more than compensated by gaining him for seekda, a spin-off from the institute that specialises in the commercial exploitation of publicly available Web services.