Top tools for artificial intelligence and IT are presented to hundreds of conference visitors at Aalto University in August


The tools have been used to improve the safety of drug tests for children, and to understand the cosmos through galaxy clusters.

In August, researchers from Aalto University's Department of Computer Science will host three conferences focusing on AI and ICT tools used in large corporations all over the world. Some of the methods have been used, for example, in Facebook's forecasting tool Prophet.

StanCon 2018, held 29–31 August, introduces cutting-edge methods and applications for statistical modelling—ranging from galaxy clusters to social media, brain research, and anthropology. In Finland, AI research is particularly strong in the field of medicine.

‘Statistical modeling can be used, for example, to improve the safety of drug testing in children. The time it takes for a child’s body to metabolise a drug depends not only on the weight of the child, but also on the ability of the liver to process the drug. The dosage size of the drug should, then, be reduced more than the weight alone would suggest. Modelling methods can be used to evaluate the effects of drugs on an individual level,’ says Professor Aki Vehtari of Aalto University.

One of the keynote speakers at the conference, Maggie Lieu, a researcher at the European Space Agency, uses statistical modeling to determine the mass of galaxy clusters.

“Hierarchical modeling has several advantages when there are millions of variables and a lot of noisy data in space. Using modelling, I can get meaningful results in up to ten minutes and study clusters of galaxies in one go instead of a single galaxy group at a time.”

ALGO Conference, 20–24 August, is an umbrella for the largest conferences in the field of algorithmics. During his talk on algorithms in bioinformatics, Professor Mihai Pop from the University of Maryland, discusses the use of algorithms in microbiological research.

‘Millions of good and bad intestinal bacteria have a very complicated, and partly unknown, way of interacting with each other. We have focused particularly on studying the intestinal bacteria of children in developing countries, but our algorithmic tools can also be used in cancer research.’

Children and young people were also one subject at the ICER 2018 conference, which took place on 12–16 August. The conference focused on the impact of new teaching methods and educational on learning outcomes, student behaviour, and motivation in the context of computing education.

Kirsti Lonka, Professor at the University of Helsinki, pointed out in her lecture that it is only with matters regarding digitalisation that students feel they are not getting adequate support from their teachers.

‘Especially if we want to motivate girls to study technology, we should try to benefit from the use of 3D models in teaching and other more concrete and inclusive ways of teaching, as well as learning in small groups where students can play on their own individual strengths,’ Lonka says.

Over 700 international researchers and business visitors are attending the three conferences.

More information:

StanCon 2018


ICER 2018