The Helsinki Centre for Data Science, HiData, is jointly operated by the University of Helsinki and Aalto University. Its aim is to find solutions to the challenges facing society and industry by combining computer science, mathematics, statistics and machine learning to the needs of other disciplines.
“HiData is at its core a multidisciplinary institution. Our goal is to develop a data science toolkit, which would apply the tools of data science and artificial intelligence to problem-solving in a multidisciplinary environment. We will then try to put our results into practice as quickly as possible,” says Professor Sasu Tarkoma, head of the Department of Computer Science at the Faculty of Science.
On Tuesday, 29 May, HiData will hold a day-long presentation at Think Corner. The day will offer an introduction to the methods of data science and the ways they can be used in other fields of science.
MegaSense in the lead
One of the first examples of HiData projects is the MegaSense project developed by the University of Helsinki and Nokia Bell Labs. The project combines atmospheric sciences, computer science and geosciences. The result will be a precise, real-time air quality monitoring system.
“We want the MegaSense style of cooperation to become an established practice. One of the goals of the event in May is to find new ideas that could generate new synergies between different fields,” says Tarkoma.
Good results from the analysis and use of big data have already been gained in cancer research, history as well as biological and environmental sciences.
Research must have an impact
Research cannot be locked away, it must usher us into new ways of working. According to Tarkoma, in the MegaSense project this means that cities, governmental authorities and consumers will be able to make decisions based on real-time local air quality data.
“When we know where the pollution is coming from, we will be able to reduce it with decisions based on up-to-date information. For example, we will be able to restrict the kinds of production processes that generate toxic emissions,” says Tarkoma.
Tarkoma admits that encouraging companies to commit to emissions restrictions is its own challenge. On the other hand, at least consumers will be able to take advantage of precise air quality data immediately, and for example choose their routes according to areas where it’s easier to breathe.
“We can make a big difference through various smart measures,” says Tarkoma.