Research

Data Science is an active area of research at several departments and institutes at University of Helsinki: the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, the Department of Physics, the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT) and the Helsinki Institute of Physics (HIP), all located on the Kumpula Science campus. The MSc programme in Data Science is offered jointly by these departments and institutes. The studies are largely based on current research trends and topics and focus on applying solutions and methods from research on data science problems.

Data science, as a research field, studies methods for extracting useful knowledge from data. It formulates computational and probabilistic principles for this task; using these principles it develops algorithms, models and systems to address data science needs. 

All of the departments and institutes taking part in organisation of the programme are internationally recognised for their research. The faculty are actively engaged in data science research themselves. Their research covers a wide spectrum of the many aspects of data science.

At a very general level, the focal areas of data science research at the University of Helsinki are

  • Machine learning and data mining. E.g., what are efficient and effective computational models and algorithms for various data analysis tasks?
  • Distributed computation and computational infrastructures. E.g., how to design and implement scalable computational architectures for data science?
  • Statistical modelling and analysis. E.g., how to model complex phenomena and carry out statistical inference using those models?

Studies in the programme are tightly connected to research carried out in the participating departments and institutes. All the teachers in the program conduct active research in various areas of data science and courses in the programme are largely based on current research trends and topics.

A key element tying your studies and research together is the Master's thesis that you will write at the end of your studies. In the Master’s thesis work you will exercise your data science knowledge in addressing a data science problem. The problem can be theoretical or practical in nature, but your thesis work must always have a research component and a scientific basis. Although your thesis is independent work, you can write it as part of a research group, participate in the daily research activities of the group, and get a first-hand look at how research in data science is performed. You might also be able to write your thesis for a company as long as you fulfil the academic criteria described above. You can discuss these issues with your supervisor.

After completing the MSc programme in Data Science, you can apply for doctoral studies at the University of Helsinki or elsewhere. Due to the high level of international recognition of the University of Helsinki and the data science research groups, you will have good chances to be accepted for doctoral studies at top universities. The additional skills gained in doctoral studies will not only be useful for an academic research career but also for work as a data scientist in industry. At the University of Helsinki, suitable doctoral programmes include:

For more information, please see https://www.helsinki.fi/en/research/doctoral-education.