Paul Hofmann, Professor at Joanneum, University of Applied Sciences

Paul has held top executive positions in large international corporations like Accenture, SAP and BASF, as well as CTO of two AI startups acquired by Intel and Nokia, respectively.

His background is entrenched in research at outstanding American and European Universities: MIT Cambridge, US; Northwestern University Evanston, US; Technical University of Munich and Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany.

Paul is an expert in AI/ML, computer simulations and distributed data storage authoring numerous publications and books, including a book on SCM and environmental information systems as well as performance management and productivity of supply chains.

Recently, Paul served as CTO AI and Data Science at Accenture Resources. Accenture is the world’s largest consulting company.  He was Chief Innovation Officer at alpega the market leader in Transportation Management.

Paul is Advisory Board Member to Zanthion and Formerly, he was a Computer Science Advisory Board Member at Stony Brook University and UC Santa Cruz.

Paul shaped the technology of AI pioneer Saffron Technology, which was crucial for its acquisition by Intel. He served as CTO for AI and IoT startup SpaceTime Insight, which was sold to Nokia.  He served a 2 year term as Board Member at Primal from 2012 to 2014.

Paul was Vice President Research at SAP Labs at Palo Alto from 2006 to 2011. SAP is the world’s largest business software company. Paul has also worked for the SAP Corporate Venturing Group. Prior to joining SAP, Paul was Senior Plant Manager at BASF’s Global Catalysts Business Unit in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

Paul was visiting scientist at Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at MIT, Cambridge in 2009.

Paul was Researcher and Assistant Professor at top German and US Universities, like Northwestern University in Evanston/Chicago, Illinois, USA and at Technical University in Munich, Germany. He was a visiting scientist at MIT and gave lectures at Stanford University, UC Santa Cruz, HPI Postdam, Dresden University of Technology and FH Joanneum Graz.

Paul is a well known presenter and keynoter at many prestigious universities and technology events around the world,

The Dark Factory – Keynote at The International Maintenance Conference 2018, Florida;
Future IT Trends @Stanford OIT 554 Class, March 7th, 2017;
Talk at opening of SAP Research Center @Princeton with SAP CEO Bill McDermott, 2011;
Keynote @Wharton – 11th Annual Strategy and the Business Environment Conference, 2001 Anomaly Detection and Predictive Maintenance through Large Sparse Similarity Matrices and Causal Modeling @International Conference on Computational Science 2015;
Natural Intelligence Platform @Platform Strategy Symposium @MIT Media Lab 2013; Reasoning by Similarity on top of Associative Memories @IBM Cognitive Computing Research Summit at Almaden, 2013;
Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics Using Machine Learning @IEEE Silicon Valley Chapter, Santa Clara 2017;
Machine Learning for Asset Heavy Industries @Smart Data Conference, San Jose 2017;
Augmented Intelligence – Machine Learning on Sparse Graphs @TTI Vanguard – Big Understanding, Austin 2016;
Talk @ joint session of NoSQL/Semantech Conference; San Jose 2014;
New Techniques and Approaches in Text Analytics @Text Analytics World, Boston 2013;    Talk on Cognitive Computing @eBay hosted by ACM, 2013;
Sense Making and Prediction Like the Human Brain @CMU 2013.


Paul joined SAP 2001 as Director Global Strategic Supply Chain Management Initiative EMEA. His pre-sales team designed and rolled out the SCM Value Based Selling Approach for EMEA and supported many crucial Supply Chain sales for SAP in EMEA (LEGO, Airbus, etc.).

Paul was Vice President Research at SAP Labs at Palo Alto from 2006 to 2011.


After joining BASF 1989 Paul headed the development of object-oriented production planning and scheduling software (MES) for BASF’s plants in the IT division of BASF. In collaboration with object oriented veterans like Bertrand Meyer and Edward V. Berard he and his team designed a Computer Integrated Manufacturing System for BASF. He led the team that implemented the object oriented design in C++ and Small Talk; one of the first big object oriented software projects in German industry.

BASF is the largest chemical company in the world. The BASF Group comprises more than 160 subsidiaries and joint ventures. It operates more than 150 production sites in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Australia and Africa..

Later Paul became product manager and oversaw the ramp up and change management for his software in the BASF plants where it was implemented.

Paul led the implementation of SAP R/3 for BASF Chemicals Division.


At Northwestern University he did molecular simulations to explain molecular beam reactions. He used the Cray supercomputers extensively for this work and collaborated with Sir John Pople (Nobel Prize laureate).

Paul was visiting scientist at Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at MIT, Cambridge in 2009.

At Technical University of Munich, Paul used Associative Memory Systems (Deep Neuronal Networks) to predict chemical reactions in mass spectrometers. The Associative Memory was implemented on one of the first commercially available Unix machines in Germany (CADMUS from PCS).

Paul studied Chemistry and Physics at the University of Vienna, Austria. He received a Bachelor in biotechnology and a master’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Vienna.

He did his Physics at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany. His thesis is on non-linear quantum dynamics and chaos theory explaining the phase transition from the totally symmetric ammonia molecule (no dipole moment) to ammonia in the liquid phase with a quite strong dipole moment.

Typically phase transitions are described using the Kadanoff Real Space Variational Renormalization Group (RG). RG is an iterative coarse-graining scheme that allows for the extraction of relevant features (i.e. operators) as a physical system is examined at different length scales. For example, ferromagnetism the phase transition that occurs in permanent magnets is typically described by an Ising model showing real space RG behavior.

There is a connection to deep learning. Associative memories (AM) and restricted Boltzmann machines (RBMs) are Hopfield networks which are mathematically described by the Ising model with a Lyapunov function. AMs and RBMs belong to the a class of AI systems that are often called deep learning.

Paul used his deep understanding of Ising models and complexity theory when programming an Associative Memory to predict chemical reactions in a mass spectrometer as postdoctoral fellow at TU Munich.

During his thesis he also wrote SW for the design of molecules (drugs) using computer graphics. He was part of a team that developed SW for Silicon Graphics MOLCAD.

He is the author of many publications and books, including a book on SCM and environmental information systems as well as Performance Management and Productivity of Supply Chains.