Thomas’ research interests cover all aspects of learning and intelligent systems. He is fascinated by the idea of creating adaptive software that learns autonomously how to solve a task or how to support a human in a smart way. He has focused on both, theoretical foundations of machine learning, multi-agent systems and decentralized control as well as on the practical implementation and deployment of adaptive agent-based applications in domains like recommender systems, mobile applications, robotics, or computer games.
Thomas studied Computer Science at the University of Kaiserslautern and at Carnegie Mellon University and received his Diploma degree (comparable to Master) in 2003. During his PhD studies, Thomas worked at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the University of Osnabrück. On the one hand, he researched on classical AI topics, like knowledge-based systems, case-based reasoning, and knowledge management. On the other hand, he became deeply involved in machine learning, specifically in multi-agent systems and reinforcement learning. In his PhD thesis, he investigated learning algorithms for multi-agent systems and their practical application to operations research and job-shop scheduling problems. He received his PhD “summa cum laude” from the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Osnabrück in 2009. Subsequently, he joined the Machine Learning Lab at the University of Freiburg as a post-doctoral research fellow.
Thomas is also team leader and project manager for the robotic soccer simulation team FRA-UNIted (since 2014) at Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, which is a team of intelligent software agents participating in the simulation league of RoboCup (real-time simulation of soccer). Former robotic soccer engagements include the teams Brainstormers (University of Osnabrück and University of Freiburg) and CMUnited (Carnegie Mellon University). While heading the Brainstormers and FRA-UNIted robotic soccer simulation teams, he won numerous champion, runner-up and third place slots at international robotic soccer tournaments, including three RoboCup world champion titles and six European-level champion titles.
Thomas’ industrial experience includes engagements at IBM and the German Air Navigation Service Provider (DFS) where he has been involved in various research projects in the context of air traffic control and has taken a leading role in the development of intelligent software for the management of aircraft arrivals, for optimization and scheduling of inbound traffic, and for supporting the work of air traffic controllers.
Thomas published about 50 scientific papers and was author of a textbook on reinforcement learning, published by Springer. In September 2014, Thomas joined Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences as professor in the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering. His teaching focuses on practical computer science, programming, mobile and learning systems as well as on foundations and applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence.