ITMO and Finland's XAMK University Strengthen Relationship
Head of School of Translational Information Technologies and of ITMO University’s eScience Research Institute Alexander Boukhanovsky and the Rector of South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (XAMK) Heikki Saastamoinen have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The first step of this new partnership will be the staging of an International Young Scientists Conference. This year the event that will gather the leading experts on high-performance computing and simulation will take place at XAMK’s campus in the town of Kotka.
South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (XAMK) is one of Finland’s largest universities, with campuses in Kotka, Kouvola, Mikkeli and Savonlinna. There are 60 Bachelor’s and 23 Master’s Programs and 9,000 currently study there.
On May 10 XAMK’s delegation, headed by Rector Heikki Saastamoinen, conducted a visit to ITMO University. During the meeting, the visitors were acquainted with ITMO University’s project work, innovation ecosystem, international partnerships and the activity and future plans regarding its business incubator.
Alexander Boukhanovsky presented eScience Research Institute’s key research. He spoke, in particular, of a project conducted in May of 2016 by an international research team that included scientists from ITMO University. The study included a series of experiments conducted at one of the world’s largest festivals – Kumbh Mela in the city of Ujjain, India. Based on data they collected, the team began development of technologies, mathematic models, methods and algorithms that would assist in providing safety and security services during large and crowded events.
Among other study topics conducted by experts at eScience Research Institute are: impact of road network improvements on the performance of transportation systems under critical load; contagion in a banking network; daily metro ridership and consumer hotspots modeling; St. Petersburg flood prevention system; intelligent analysis of social network data: emotional focus and georeference. In case of the latter, scientists develop specialized software tools – social network crawlers and then use Big Data technologies to analyze and compile the acquired data. A geographical mapping of publicly available social network data that reflects various aspects of human activity at the individual level allows to dynamically analyze the demographic, social and psychological patterns of population activity in specific cities or regions.
The meeting culminated in a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between ITMO University’s School of Translational Information Technologies and South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences. The first step of this new partnership will be the staging of an International Young Scientists Conference in the field of high-performance computing and simulation.
The purpose of the conference, which is held annually by eScience Research Institute, is to bring together young scientists from different countries. Its main goal is to facilitate future partnership among researchers in the field of computational science, as well as the basic applied aspects of high-performance computing and simulation intended to solve a wide variety of issues in science, industry and business.
The participants – young scientists and Master’s and Postgraduate students – propose projects related to complex systems modeling, improvement of numerical algorithms, parallel and distributed computing; work on VR visualization and application in high-performance computation, as well as many other ventures.
Last year the conference took place for the fifth time and the Young Scientists Conference in HPC and Simulation was held at AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow, Poland. University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands were also joint partners of the event.
This year, the event will take place in November, in the town of Kotka, at one of the South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences campuses.
“This conference will be the starting point for our future collaboration. Through this event, scientists from XAMK and from ITMO University can meet and discuss their projects. It is there that they will be able to share their knowledge and begin working together on future research, particularly in the field of computer simulation. One of the key features of the conference is its international scope. Scientists from the Netherlands, Poland and other countries have taken part in it, which indicates actual international cooperation” – commented Matti Koivisto, head of XAMK’s Institute of Technologies.
Petteri Ikonen, head of XAMK’s Institute of Business and Culture, emphasized that another advantage of this partnership, besides the exchange of research experience, is the opportunity to create joint high-tech companies.
“I’m highly interested in business and entrepreneurship, particularly the development of start-ups, at your university. I’m intrigued by the projects related to computer simulation, as we are also actively pursuing that venture at our university. We are certainly interested in developing a good and productive partnership in this field in the future, especially considering ITMO University’s development of international ties with other educational institutions and scientific centers, - says Petteri Ikonen. – Cooperation between our universities could, among other things, result in the appearance of joint projects by young entrepreneurs. In addition to that, we’re planning to co-operate with ITMO in the field of R&D in the future.”
Anna Bilyatdinova, researcher at eScience Research Institute, pointed out the foremost importance of cross-border cooperation in internationalizing scientific and academic activity, co-organization of conferences, exchanging innovation practices, fundraising and especially in raising the quality of scientific research through the process of peer review.