Annual Report 2009

Annual Report 2009

Overview of 2009

The year 2009 was a good one for the department, with diverse, enthusiastic, and frutiful activities with good funding. The students were encouraged to develop teaching and learning through measures like quickly established courses where the students themselves handled the administration. To support research and teaching, we decided to acquire our own super-computer as well as start a new software laboratory, our software factory. The projects of the staff were backed with the department's own funds, resulting in some twenty different subjects from all areas of the department's activities. These diversifying and encouraging measures were enabled by the department's savings, which were thus invested into the department's future.

At the end of the year, the department received the university's health-and-safety award for its interactive and communal nature and good work atmosphere. The award shows recognition of the department's team spirit and appreciation of the staff that keeps it up. This award complements the commendations the department has already received for quality research (the centre-of-excellence programme of the Academy, the discipline evaluation by the Academy, the research evaluation by the university) and quality teaching (the national centre-of excellence programme in higher education).

The teaching at the department is settling into the degree requirements that were implemented in autumn 2008, with three sub-programmes (algorithms and machine learning, distributed systems and data communications, and software systems) as well as one Master's programme (bioinformatics) given in English. At the end of 2009 we also started planning for a systematic increase of teaching in English in the other programmes.

In 2009, a record number of ten Doctoral degrees were granted. It seems that we have succeeded in making our Doctoral education more effective. However, the number of Master's degrees plummeted to about half the normal amount. Reasons for that include the smaller number of new admissions, the degree reformation of previous years that lead to a flood of graduations the past few years, and the increased significance of the Bachelor's degree. It now looks like the 'student pyramid' of the department is narrowing at the Master level while it is widening at the Bachelor level. This is one reason for the drive to internationalise the Master's-level education: a relatively larger number of MSc students would enable us to develop more extensive teaching based on the department's strengths at the Master's degree level.

The research continues to be diverse and hold a high standard. There is a wide range of projects funded by the Academy, Tekes, the EU, various companies, etc. The department has produced a large number of international scientific publications again this year. During the past year, the research at the department was organised more distinctly into research groups headed by some 20 responsible investigators.

I want to extend my warmest thanks to our staff, students, and partners for a great year 2009!

Hannu Toivonen

Professor, head of the department 2007-9