Linus Torvalds made honorary alumnus in Kumpula
The Faculty of Science invited Linus Torvalds to be its honorary alumnus in Kumpula. During its alumni event, the faculty also named one of its lecture halls after Linus Torvalds. On the event held on Thursday 17 March, young researchers were the main speakers, and the 350 guests on the science campus gave them their full attention.
Linus Torvalds is the most renowned Finn working in the field of computer science. He is the first honorary alumnus of the faculty, and also Doctor Honoris Causa of the university’s Faculty of Philosophy. During the faculty’s alumni event, auditorium B123 in Exactum was named after him.
Version 1.0 of the Linux operating system, developed by Torvalds, was published at the Helsinki University Department of Computer Science in March 1994. Torvalds, who took his MSc degree in 1997 and later settled in the USA, could not attend the alumni party in person, but he conducted a video conference with computer science professor Jukka Paakki.
‘I was also interested in mathematics and physics, so the University of Helsinki was a very natural choice for me as a Helsinkian,’ Torvalds said.
The 350 visitors to the science campus were also treated to some very topical presentations as the young researchers described their work. Nina Huittinen, Jani Kotakoski, Rami Ratvio, Teemu Roos and Mikko Salo presented themes on nuclear waste, graphenes, the metropolis, algorithms, and reverse mathematics.
After the joint programme, the five departments at Kumpula presented their own events.
The Department of Computer Science had a book launch for Jukka Paakki’s "Rupisia bittejä, karmeita kaavioita, unelmia ja toimistohommia" (‘scabby bits, grisly formulas, dreams and office work’) In this history over the department, which was established in 1967, we meet both present and former employees at the department, as well as its students. The future is also included as the writer describes happenings at the department in 2017.
The photograph shows (l-r) the head of the department, Esko Ukkonen, Dean Keijo Hämäläinen, and Nils Torvalds, Linus Torvalds’ father.
Photograph: Juha Taina
Text: Minna Meriläinen
Translation: Marina Kurtén