Director of the Finnish Centre of Excellence COIN and Aalto Distinguished Professor Erkki Oja retires
Erkki Oja has directed the Centres of Excellences and supervised many talented researchers for 15 years.
One of the newest and most important achievements of the COIN Centre of Excellence is producing the world’s largest bacterial genome dataset. The dataset might help the study of the relationship between genetics, microbes and diseases. Pneumococcus is one of the most important human pathogens, and the research results help to understand its evolution and mutations considerably better.
Other important research fields of the COIN Centre of Excellence are automatic speech recognition and search engines. These research results can open possibilities in regions with lower literacy levels.
- I have been privileged in my academic career to be able to work with world’s top talents, such as Academician Teuvo Kohonen and Nobel Prize Awarded Professor Leon Cooper from Brown University, says Oja.
Professor Oja has published very extensively, particularly in the areas of pattern recognition, computer vision, neural networks, and machine learning; and he is one of the world’s most widely cited researchers in the fields of machine learning and data analysis. He served as an Academy Professor between 2000 and 2005 and has headed up Academy of Finland’s Centres of Excellences since 2000.
In August 2013 Oja was appointed as an Aalto Distinguished Professor. Oja was the third member of the university’s faculty as Aalto Distinguished Professors, in recognition of his exceptional academic merits.
- At the same time I feel relieved to have passed on the teaching and administrative duties to the successors, but also I feel longing. The last years of my academic career have been really enjoyable, Oja describes his mood.
Professor Oja has also held numerous positions in various scientific bodies: a Founding Fellow of the International Association of Pattern Recognition, the Chairman of the European Neural Network Society between 2000 and 2005, and the Chairman of the Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering between 2007 and 2012.
- I want to encourage young scientists to try to find their research focus as early in their careers as possible. It’s better not to be afraid of challenges, and success might require also a bit of luck, Oja says.
Ella Bingham, Samuel Kaski, Jouko Lampinen and Jorma Laaksonen have edited a jubilee book for Erkki Oja: "Advances in Independent Component Analysis and Learning Machines". The book will be published within a few months by Academic Press / Elsevier.