Aalto Digi Matchmaking 2017 attracted 80 companies to Otaniemi


Thousands of viewers watched the dialogue between industry and researchers online.


Anne Berner. Photo: Mikko Raskinen

This event has already become a tradition and this year it was opened by Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner, who emphasised the importance of cooperation between the science community, industry and authorities. She also reminded people that ground-breaking advances don’t happen by chance.

"Digitalisation depends on innovations, and sharing knowledge is one of its most central elements," she stated to an audience of hundreds.

Digitalisation is one of Aalto’s key research areas: approximately one fifth – or more than 400 – of the university’s professors work  in one of its sectors.  Professor of Computational Science Kimmo Kaski emphasised the importance of data during his presentation.

“Data has become the currency and new oil of our era.

“On the other hand, like crude oil, it only becomes valuable after being refined,” he explained.

Among other things, Aalto is doing cutting edge research on artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning. Investments in information technology research and teaching can also be seen in various rankings.

“We are ranked in the top one per cent of universities in the world,” said Professor Yrjö Neuvo, who runs Aalto Digital Platform.

Making Finland number one in artificial intelligence

Half of the 300 participants in the Aalto Digital matchmaking 2017 event were from Aalto and the other half came from outside the university. This included representatives from 80 companies. Interesting discussions took place in the networking segment and also in dialogues that were followed online by nearly 3 000 people. Aalto University Professor Jarno Limnéll and F-Secure’s CTO Mikko Hyppönen discussed the cyber security arms race and stressed the need for qualified experts.

“The most important factor affecting cyber security is people," said Limnéll in summary.


Jarno Limnéll and Mikko Hyppönen. Photo: Mikko Raskinen

Academy Professor Samuel Kaski from Aalto University and AI Designer Jaakko Särelä from Reaktor asked whether artificial intelligence is hype or reality. According to Särelä, independent, intelligent systems already exist but only in limited areas – we still have a long way to go before Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) becomes reality. Samuel Kaski agreed and also emphasised that Finland has a unique opportunity to become a leader in artificial intelligence.

“The only way to get there is through cooperation between industry and researchers.”

At the end of the dialogue, Kone Corporation's IoT Director Jouni Peltonen and Postdoctoral Researcher Timo Seppälä from Aalto University discussed the creation of data-driven services. An increasing share of the traditional lift manufacturer’s business comes from data-based innovations and customised services.

“Data is free, but value comes from the innovations built on it," emphasised Timo Seppälä.

See also: Technology Industries of Finland reserves three million euros to fund ambitious research openings



Hustle and bustle at demo stands. Photo: Jukka Pätynen