In memoriam Prof. Dr.-Ing. Manfred Günther

The Department of Computer Science and Automation mourns the loss of the former head of the Institute of Automation and Systems Engineering, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Manfred Günther, who passed away on May 9, 2024. Prof. Günther's work was particularly dedicated to the continuous development of teaching in the fields of "Fundamentals of Automation Technology", "Control Engineering" and "Digital Process Automation". The practical relevance of training was also particularly close to his heart.

Prof. Günther, student of the 1st matriculation with the study number 68, was initially enrolled at the TH Dresden in 1953, but then came with the entire seminar group to Ilmenau to the newly founded Hochschule für Elektrotechnik (HfE). He majored in control engineering and minored in telecommunications and high-frequency engineering. In 1958, he became a research assistant without a diploma - at a time when Ilmenau was in a real state of rebuilding. In addition to setting up practical courses and exercises, he also supervised fellow students from the same year as part of their coursework during this start-up phase of the Institute of Control Engineering.

Prof. Günther graduated in 1959, worked as a research assistant from 1959 to 1965 and received his doctorate in 1965 with a thesis on the analysis and synthesis of digital control systems. This made him the 15th "own" doctorate at the Faculty of Low Current Technology at TH Ilmenau.

As an assistant and senior assistant, he received several teaching assignments for sub-areas of technical cybernetics. His research work focused on the field of discrete-time systems. From 1967 to 1970, Prof. Günther worked as a subject, group and department head at the Institute for Data Processing and at ROBOTRON Dresden. There he was mainly concerned with issues relating to the use of process computers in the chemical industry. From here, he maintained contact with the TH Ilmenau through joint research work.

The generation of "in-house professors" at TU Ilmenau, who studied in Ilmenau in the 1950s and were then appointed after completing their doctorates and practical work, usually in the early 1970s, were and are no longer in professional life. This generation, effectively the "second" generation after the founders of HfE Ilmenau, played a key role in building up the university. In 1970, he was appointed Full Professor of Technical Cybernetics/Automatic Control. Head of the Science Department, Deputy Section Director, Director of the Section for Technical and Biomedical Cybernetics were further stations in his career at the TH Ilmenau. After 1989, Prof. Günther took over the management of the Institute for Automation and Systems Engineering (1989 to 1995), and from 1990 to 1993 he was the first chairman of the Scientific Council (Konzil) elected on the basis of the democratic constitution of 1990.

In his almost 47 years of work at the HfE/TH/TU Ilmenau, Prof. Günther was closely associated with the institution; as a committed member of the university, even with a life before the year "zero", he was committed to the university as a whole. Egotism was always alien to him.

Prof. Günther was particularly committed to the continuous development of teaching in the fields of "Fundamentals of Automation Technology", "Control Engineering" and "Digital Process Automation", which he represented. Two textbooks underline this endeavor. He was also particularly interested in the practical relevance of the training. For example, practical training on real technical laboratory processes was carried out at an early stage. For many years, Prof. Günther was a member of various teaching and examination committees at the TU Ilmenau as well as nationally and internationally.

Prof. Günther's recognition among staff and students also resulted from his obliging collegial manner. He often took on the problems of others as if they were his own.

Prof. Günther passed away on May 9, 2024. He was a "self-made professor" of the university, to whom the university owes a great deal through his work. We will keep him in our honorable memory.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jürgen Krause