Ernst Rank

Prof. Dr. rer. nat.

Former Professor for Computation in Engineering
TUM School of Engineering and Design

Former Director of the TUM Institute for Advanced Study

born May 29, 1954


Scientific work

Ernst Rank is Professor emeritus from the Technical University of Munich. He studied Mathematics and Physics at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich and was awarded a doctorate from the School of Civil Engineering at the Technical University of Munich in 1985. Following a research year in the US and employment in an industrial environment at Siemens, he assumed in 1990 a professorship for Numerical Methods and Computational Sciences at the University of Dortmund, after which he was appointed to TUM in 1997. Until 2019, he held the Chair for Computation in Engineering. Professor Rank was the Vice President for Research of TUM from 2002 to 2008. From 2006 to 2016, he was the Founding Director of the International Graduate School of Science and Engineering (IGSSE), and from 2015 to 2019, he held the position of Director of the TUM Institute for Advanced Study. Since 2007, Professor Rank is Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Technical University of Dortmund.

Professor Rank conducts research on numerical mechanics and engineering informatics. His work focuses on high-order finite elements, immersed boundary methods, the integration of numerical simulation with geometric modelling, phase-field models for fracture mechanics and on efficient simulation with applications e.g. in biomechanical engineering or in additive manufacturing. A central objective is to develop effective, accurate and intuitively usable simulation methods for the optimisation of industrial products and processes.

Professor Rank is author or co-author of more than 400 papers in international journals, book chapters and peer reviewed conference proceedings. Among other awards he obtained the Konrad-Zuse-Medal (2009), the Federal Cross of Merit (2009), is Corresponding Member of the "Nordrhein-Westfälische Akademie der Wissenschaften und Künste" (2014) and Member of the Bavarian Academy of Science (2017). Since 2018 he is Fellow of the International Association for Computational Mechanics (IACM).


Short biography

1980 Diploma in Mathematics and Physics from Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich
1985 Dr. rer. nat. from Technical University of Munich
1985 - 1986 Research fellow of DAAD and Visiting Assistant Professor at the Institute for
Physical Science and Technology, University of Maryland, USA
1986 - 1987 Senior Reserach Assistant, Technical University Munich
1987 - 1990 Senior Scientist in Corporate Research and Technology of SIEMENS AG
in Munich. Working areas: CAD and numerical methods for
semiconductor process- and device-simulation
1990 - 1997 Professor for "Numerical Methods and Computer Science for Engineers",
Dept. of Architecture and Civil Engineering at the University of Dortmund
1997 - 2019 Full Professor for "Computation in Engineering", formerly "Bauinformatik",
Dept. of Civil Engineering at the Technical University of Munich
2002 - 2008 Vice-President Research of the Technical University of Munich
2005 - 2006 Coordinator of TUM’s proposals for the German "Excellence Initiative"
2006 - 2016 Director of the "International Graduate School of Science and Engineering"
within the German "Excellence Initiative"
2008 - 2013 Director of the TUM Graduate School
2015 - 2019 Director of the TUM Institute for Advanced Study
since 2007 Chairman of the University Advisory Board of the Technical University of Dortmund


Selected Memberships

Various Ed. Boards of International Scientific Journals (since 1990)

Member of the DFG selection board for Collaborative Research Centers (2000 - 2005)

Member of the Task Force "Differentiation of Higher Education Institutions" for the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat), (2008 - 2010)

Member of the Board of ASIIN (2006 - 2012)

Member of Evaluation Committee of "Dienstleistungseinrichtung (DLE) Forschungsservice und Internationale Beziehungen" of University Vienna (2008)

Dean of TUM Graduate School (2008 - 2013)

Member of the Advisory Board of the Ruhr University Research School (2008 - 2018)

Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Land Brandenburg for the Hochschulregion Lausitz (2012 - 2014)

Founding Director of the Leonhard Obermeyer Center: TUM Center of Digital Methods for the Built Environment (2013)

Member of the Science Europe Engineering and Technology Sc. Committee (ENGITEC), (2012 - 2016)

Board Member, TUM International Graduate School of Science & Engineering (IGSSE), (2016 - 2020)

Member of the Tenure Board der Leibniz University Hannover (since 2016)

Selection Board of the Leibniz Prize of DFG (since 2019)

Evaluation Committee of the Aalto School of Engineering (2021)

Chairman of Board of Trustees of the Georg Nemetschek Institute Artificial Intelligence for the Built World (seit 2021)

Member of the advisory board of NFDI4Ing (since 2021)


Selected Awards and Prizes

  • Heinz Maier-Leibnitz-Medal, Technical University Munich (2006)

  • Konrad-Zuse-Medal (2009)

  • Federal Cross of Merit (2009)

  • For TUM Graduate School: acatech Special Price for best practice in innovative models of engineering doctorates (2011)

  • Corresponding Member of the "Nordrhein-Westfälische Akademie der Wissenschaften und Künste" (2014)

  • Member of the Bavarian Academy of Science (2017)

  • Fellow of the IACM (2018)

You can download "Explanations of honors and awards" here [PDF 215 KB]


Key publications

J Parvizian, A Düster, E Rank
Finite cell method
Computational Mechanics 41 (1), 121-133 (2007)

A Düster, J Parvizian, Z Yang, E Rank
The finite cell method for three-dimensional problems of solid mechanics
Computer methods in applied mechanics and engineering 197 (45-48), 3768-3782 (2008)

D Schillinger, A Düster, E Rank
The hp‐d‐adaptive finite cell method for geometrically nonlinear problems of solid mechanics
International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering 89 (9), 1171-1202 (2012)

A Paolini, S Kollmannsberger, E Rank
Additive manufacturing in construction: A review on processes, applications, and digital planning methods
Additive Manufacturing 30, 100894 (2019)

N Korshunova, G Alaimo, SB Hosseini, M Carraturo, A Reali, J Niiranen, Ferdinando Auricchio, Ernst Rank, Stefan Kollmannsberger
Image-based numerical characterization and experimental validation of tensile behavior of octet-truss lattice structures
Additive Manufacturing, 101949 (2020)