Welcome to the international (English-speaking) blog of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki. Our blog invites views on research, education, student life, and other societal themes connected to our computer science fields. The intention is to build a forum as an open window for readers from inside and outside computer science. If you have any good ideas or articles to share on this blog, please feel free to contact us: cs-blog [ät] cs.helsinki.fi.

Interview Series with Research Group Leaders - Jürgen Münch

Dear readers, the interview series of TKTL group leaders is making its debut today! The goal of the series is to provide an open forum for research group leaders to present their latest research developments, activities in teaching, project work opportunities, and general comments about our department.

For the opening session, we interviewed the first FiDiPro professor of our department, Prof. Jürgen Münch, who is leading the Software System Engineering group. His research areas include cloud-based software engineering, global software engineering, software measurement, and process and quality engineering.


CS Blog Team: Can you provide an overview of your research and your group? 

Prof. Münch: Software system engineering focuses on planning, development, and operation of complex software-intensive systems or services. Hereby, the systematic development, maintenance, and evolution of software is of significant importance. Nowadays, software is typically developed by distributed teams in different countries with technologies and business constraints that are changing at a fast pace. There is a tremendous need to better understand appropriate development practices and how they can be used effectively in real development environments. The underlying paradigm of my research is empirical software engineering, i.e., we typically start with real problems from practice, observe techniques, methods, tools as they are used in real-world environments, and finally carry out systematic exercises to come up with knowledge. This often leads to theories explaining the observations. We aim at better understanding why certain techniques, methods, tools should be applied in a specific environment and what the effects of such technologies are. This kind of knowledge is highly important. Without it, software development would be on the level of medieval medicine, where many drugs appeared to have an effect, but there was no knowledge why. This kind of medicine imposed high risks and it was difficult to improve. One main technical focus at present is cloud-based software engineering. Many new cloud technologies are available but the implications with respect to software engineering are widely unknown. 

In my group, there are currently one senior researcher, one post-doc, one PhD student, and five research and teaching assistants. In addition, we also have researchers who are working for other groups and contributing to our projects, and we plan to hire more researchers. Our group is now running the Software Factory which is gaining extensive attention across academia and industry. The University of Helsinki is part of the renowned International Software Engineering Research Network (ISERN) and our group plans to represent the University in this network. 

CS Blog Team: What are the projects that your group is carrying out at the moment? 

Prof. Münch: Besides the Software Factory, we are participating in the TiViT Cloud Software Program Finland, one of the Finnish flagship programs with over 30 partners from industry and academia. Other projects focus on how to scale high-performance teams in software organizations, and on empirical studies in the area of cloud-based software engineering. My research group is gaining plenty of industrial support such as from F- Secure, Elektrobit, Tieto and Nokia Siemens Networks. In the area of measurement we are collaborating with pioneers and most influential software measurement researchers in the framework of a joint measurement project. This project currently focuses on better understanding the link between business strategies and software-related activities by applying measurement and experimentation principles also on higher levels of an organization. 

CS Blog Team: What has your experience been so far with the Software Factory?  We heard it was an important factor for you to come to Helsinki. 

Prof. Münch: The Software Factory in Helsinki is a unique lab where we are able to carry out several exciting and cross-disciplinary projects. It offers students interested in software engineering a close-to-reality working experience where they can learn how to communicate, how to document their work, how to apply principles of software engineering, and what software companies are really looking for. We have already established a network of several Software Factories in different countries so that we are also able to perform distributed projects and provide an even closer experience of current and future development styles. Industry companies are also highly interested in our Software Factory because it provides a convenient environment for prototyping and helping to identify problems in software development at first sight. From a research angle, the Software Factory is a promising laboratory environment for performing empirical studies. In contrast to other software engineering laboratories, the Software Factory is not only focusing on software engineering experimentation, but also supporting the experimentation of companies on the business level. For instance, a Software Factory project can be used to create a so-called minimum viable product that can be shipped to potential customers and helps startups to learn about the real customer value of their products. This can help to answer questions such as whether consumers recognize the problem that a startup is trying to solve. It is exciting to see that measurement and experimentation also play an increasingly important role in the area of innovation and business development. The Software Factory contributes to both, better understanding of software engineering practices and better understanding the business value of innovative products. Since most of the innovative products are software- based nowadays, I think that the factory is exactly in the right place.


CS Blog Team: What are the courses you are giving now? Are there any upcoming ones in the near future?

Prof. Münch: We are currently organizing the software factory projects and one seminar on cloud-based software engineering. I plan to regularly offer the course “Software measurement and quality modeling” that has already been given last fall. Other courses will be offered in the future, so please follow our announcements closely. Students who are interested in the Software Factory projects are invited to join our “Open Door Day” which we have on a regular basis and where the upcoming projects are presented. 


CS Blog Team: What do you expect from a student who wishes to write a thesis or conduct research in your group? 

Prof. Münch: We expect basic knowledge of software development in general, for example obtained by taking basic computer science lectures. In addition, analytical thinking is highly valued. Especially for empirical studies, knowledge about statistics might be helpful. Since we are addressing practical problems, hands-on experience is also highly appreciated. Students who are interested in writing their Master thesis in my group can contact me directly. Our website also contains information about open positions. 


CS Blog Team: Do you have any comments about the environment here at the department? 

Prof. Münch: The overall environment is excellent. My group has obtained plenty of support from the Department to build the new Software Factory. The project that supports my FiDiPro professorship aims at leveraging the Software Factory to the cloud level. We call this the “Cloud Software Factory”, a concept that has already been recognized and adopted by others. We also established collaborations within the department, for instance with Prof. Sasu Tarkoma on cloud computing. The IT support is very helpful and we currently collaborate on building an OpenStack cloud in the factory. The department has a quite unique set of laboratories, especially the NODES lab for product experimentation, the Linkki lab for education and the Software Factory for software engineering and software innovation. This fits the empirical approach I am following very well. Last, but not least, the students often already have practical experience and are very interested in our topics. 

CS Blog Team: Thank you for sharing your time with us for the interview.


For more information, please check Prof. Jürgen Münch's homepage and group website   




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good interview

As a master student in department, I really like this article, especially the part for students. Somehow, it would be even better if there are more contents for thesis and internships for research group.

The CS Blog Task Force

Aaron is doing his PhD in the NODES group at the CS department. His research focuses on mobile computing and energy efficient design for multi-interfaced mobile devices.


Giulio is a Professor at the CS department. His area is Human-Computer Interaction. For more information, please find his homepage here


Doris is a researcher at the CS department and HIIT, doing her PhD in the neuroinformatics research group. Her research interests include graphical models, causal discovery, and time series.


Laura is doing her PhD at the CS department. Her research interests include knowledge and link discovery, bioinformatics, and data mining.



31.08.2015 - 15:10

The Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki has a tradition of annual summer trip for all the staff members. This year, the TKTL staff members are invited to take a boat trip on J. L. Runeberg and spent a beautiful day in Porvoo.

For the memory, we share a set of photos contributed by Arto Wikla and Frans Ojala:

10.08.2015 - 12:00

by Kumaripaba Athukorala

Recently I got my first, first authored journal article accepted to the Journal of Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST for short). I thought of sharing what I learnt from the journal article writing process while my experience is still fresh.

Some of the lessons might be specific to the JASIST journal. However, I generalized the details so that this article is useful to anyone.

30.12.2014 - 13:34

By Teemu Roos

After conferring with senior professors P. Myllymäki and J. Paakki, we get some perspectives into the main issues at (or with) the department over the years. The discussions are based on the CS department Strategy Seminar of 2014.

02.12.2014 - 17:13

by Leena Salmela

Since 2009 when I came to work at the department I have been involved with the Glanville fritillary genome project. In this blog post I will tell about my experiences in the project.

05.11.2014 - 00:56

Lauri Suomalainen

On October 27th, Juhani, Lirim, Ashwin and I set forth to 3rd OpenStackFin User Group meetup. The event is a get-together for Openstack enthusiasts and experts in Finland. Its main goal is to gather like-minded people to share insights and experiences about OpenStack. The event was held in the evening at the restaurant Kaarle XII. Ashwin and I were first time aboard, while both Juhani and Lirim have attended the previous two meetups. So far the meetups have been organized once every six months. We arrived to the scene around four o’clock and there were already a few dozen people gathered to enjoy food, snacks and beverages.

21.10.2014 - 13:50

Interaction Lab is initiated and founded by Ubiquitous Interaction research group in 2014 for providing a space where novel interaction in between human, computer, and the physical environment can be developed and experimented.

28.09.2014 - 17:51

by Anna Kantosalo

Computational creativity is a new and hot topic in computer science. This year I had a wonderful opportunity to participate in the International Conference for Computational Creativity (ICCC) at the Jozef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana and present my first academic paper for the Discovery Research Group. The great community and fascinating topics of the conference made me want to share the highlights of my first conference experience with all of you!

07.09.2014 - 22:22

by Juhani Toivonen and Lirim Osmani

The European Grid Infrastructure (EGI) is a federation of research organisations that provide computational resources and services to European researchers and their partners around the world. It consists of National Grid Initiatives, one of which is in Finland (http://fgi.csc.fi) and is managed by an organisation called EGI.eu.

09.04.2014 - 12:53

by Sini, local member of the international branch in the department well-being group

24.01.2014 - 22:05

By Carolina Lindqvist

20.12.2013 - 13:51

On Monday the 16th of December 2013, NODES research group organized the traditional NODES/KOPS-glögi before the Christmas holiday. (Glögi translates to 'mulled wine', and is a popular red spicy drink enjoyed around Christmas time.)

10.12.2013 - 14:35
By: Ella Peltonen and Tiina Niklander
07.11.2013 - 18:59

by Antti-Pekka Tuovinen

16.10.2013 - 22:04

by Kalle Viiri


12.09.2013 - 01:41

by Aino Sipari

Our Kumpula club buddy program is recruiting new buddies!

29.08.2013 - 15:34

Have you ever been worried about you mobile phone's or tablet's energy consumption? Do you need to charge your device every night, perhaps even in the middle of the day? It is generally known that large screens and continuous network connections eat our phones' battery faster than we really want. Our goal in the Carat project is to survey and analyze what else could be going bad in our phones' matters.

01.07.2013 - 12:39

The national yearly Computer Science event (Tietojenkäsittelytieteen päivät) is the main event of the Finnish Society for Computer Science (TKTS). The society hands out two awards every year, the best MSc thesis of the year, and the best PhD thesis, which is awarded by The Finnish Information Processing Association, FIPA (TTL in Finnish). This year the PhD thesis award was granted to Jouni Siren from our department, for his thesis "Compressed Full-Text Indexes for Highly Repetitive Collections". Congratulations, Jouni!

04.06.2013 - 15:03

Interview with Tiina Niklander

Question 1: What's your role in the union? Please introduce yourself and if possible, the current status at department.

I am a university instructor at the department. In addition to giving courses and guiding thesis a lot of my work at the department is related to guiding study planning of Networking and Services students. I also coordinate the international master's studies at the whole department.

I have been one of the shop stewards at the university for several years.  

08.05.2013 - 23:32

In early March, the Department of Computer Science and Innofactor organized a week-long Windows Azure CodeCamp for students. The course was held 1-11.3.2013, during which the students were asked to produce small-scale applications utilizing the Windows Azure platform - Microsoft's cloud computing platform for building, deploying and managing applications and services, like Amazon's AWS or the Google App Engine.

05.04.2013 - 14:15

Dear readers, this is the second interview of our TKTL group leader series. The goal is to provide an open forum for group leaders to present their latest research development, activities in teaching, project work opportunities, and general comments about our department. This time, we interviewed Prof. Giulio Jaccuci, who is leading the Ubiquitous Interaction (UiX) group.

31.01.2013 - 15:04

Prof. Jussi Kangasharju started a blog to chronicle his sabbatical year - first 5 months in Korea, then 5 months in the Bay Area in the US. He comments, "It is partly intended to show people in our department that going abroad is not a scary thing." We repost here his latest blog entry about the winter experience in Korea. For further interesting stories, check out his blog.

18.12.2012 - 14:56

Sasu Tarkoma

This has been a busy year for the networking and services specialization line and the NODES research community at the Department.  We have made the headlines from rooftop greenhouses to energy-optimising mobile apps and squeeze-based smartphones.  We should not forget the best paper awards and other mentions either. We did well in the university research assessment exercise as well. We have also strengthened the industry connections and the recent Internet of Things (IoT) research program is one example of this.

18.12.2012 - 14:42

At the end of November 2012, the department of computer science threw its Christmas party in "Berghyddan", an old building in the area where Helsinki was originally founded.

24.10.2012 - 16:13

In this month's NODES Pizza Seminar, postdoctoral researcher Suzan Bayhan from HIIT gave a presentation about "Energy Efficiency in Cognitive Radio Networks". In brief, a cognitive radio node is capable of changing its communication frequency in order to better take advantage of underutilized parts of the radio spectrum.

24.09.2012 - 18:04

On September 17th, the well-being group and the department invited our international staff for a casual coffee break for the start of the new semester.

20.06.2012 - 11:03

On a beautiful summer day, our department invited staff members to the idyllic located villages of Billnäs and Fiskars, which is about 80 km west of Helsinki, famous for their long tradition of iron works.

14.03.2012 - 20:13

by Jussi Kangasharju

(Instead of a literal translation, I've chosen to translate the meaning of the title. As the most astute of you may have already noticed, the title is not in English, but in fact in Italian and recapitulates the words of Italian Coast Guard Captain De Falco when "encouraging" Captain Schettino, the captain of the sinking cruise ship Costa Concordia, to go back on board the ship to coordinate the rescue. The intended meaning is: "Stop whining and start doing your job!")

This article is mainly me venting my frustration, since over the past year or so, I've noticed that the laziness and general lack of effort have reached completely unexplored peaks. Although this article is only my personal opinion, in the discussions with many other teachers in the department, I've heard very similar experiences on their part as well.

08.03.2012 - 12:28

by Ella Peltonen

This year the Department's Strategy seminar was organized from 1st to 2nd March 2012 in Hotel Haikko Manor near the city of Porvoo. Beautiful Haikko is known for a place of fabulous summer weddings, but it seems to be also a practical conference centre and a nice small spa. And so our two strategy days contained both working and relaxation.

08.03.2012 - 12:25

by Jussi Kangasharju

For two years, my group has conducted research on data center cooling optimizations, and as part of that work, we have had computers out on the roof terrace of Exactum for over 2 years, in all sorts of enclosures. For a full recap of our research, please see Mikko's excellent blog (which also discusses washing of keyboards in a dishwasher).

14.02.2012 - 15:13

Dear readers, the interview series of TKTL group leaders is making its debut today! The goal of the series is to provide an open forum for research group leaders to present their latest research developments, activities in teaching, project work opportunities, and general comments about our department.

02.01.2012 - 17:34

by Esther Galbrun

13.12.2011 - 17:52

by Oskar Gross

Autumn school on Computational Creativity was held in Porvoo from 7th till 11th of November. It is interesting to note that it was a landmark in the field of computational creativity, as it was apparently the first "school" dedicated on this topic. Moreover, the lectures were given by the leading researchers in the respective field.

09.11.2011 - 15:54

In autumn 2010 a Finnish course was organized in Kumpula for the staff of the Computer Science Department. After one year, we are interested in how the attendees feel about the course and if there is a demand for organizing such a course again.

Here are the comments from some of last years attendees:

"Overall I found the Finnish course very useful. Unfortunately I am spending just one year here in Finland, so I did not have a lot of time to study and practice what I learnt :)

17.10.2011 - 11:20

by Stefan Schönauer

Throughout my career the question of how to improve the internal communication and collaboration has been a topic at every institution I worked for. Here I present some of my thoughts on the topic, which are based on personal experience and discussions with several people.

26.09.2011 - 12:14

The new university year has just begun. It is an exciting time for our fresh Master's students as well as senior ones, both aiming at obtaining their MSc degree from the CS department. To provide an insight into the international part of the Master's students, we start from the recruitment statistics of new students, and then share with you five fascinating stories.

05.09.2011 - 14:36

by Laura Langohr

Last October I headed to Ljubljana, Slovenia, for half a year's research visit. Sitting in the airplane I remembered colleagues and friends back in Helsinki wondering about my plan to take a Slovene course. Even though I would stay only six months I wanted to learn some Slovene, a language only 2 million people speak.

15.08.2011 - 11:23

By Liang Wang

In the early morning on April 26, Prof. Kangasharju, Tiina and I started our journey from Helsinki to Petrozavodsk. The whole journey was quite pleasant thanks to the sunny weather. After 12 hours, we reached our destination – Petrozavodsk, a quiet and lovely small town in western Russia. Even though it was not our first visit there, it was the first time we visited Petrozovadsk in spring. Everything looked so fresh and full of vigor compared with my memory of last winter.

27.07.2011 - 12:14

We consulted a few staff members and students what they expect from this blog.

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