ERC Grant received by Billy Brumley – Warmest congratulations!

This is how Billy describes his achievement and encourages other researchers to apply for it :

What are the details of the project?

Side-Channel Analysis (SCA) is an offensive security technique that targets secrets in implementations of security-critical devices. Examples of existing side-channels include power consumption, electro-magnetic radiation, timing, and acoustic emanations. At a high level, “SCARE: Side-Channel Aware Engineering” will discover new side-channels, utilize them to develop attacks on real-world devices and protocols, and mitigate the attacks with a regression testing approach.

What kind of grant is this? Can researchers from all fields apply for it?

ERC Starting Grant is a basic research funding mechanism for early career scholars with a 2-7 year old doctoral degree. The panels are quite diverse so the funding is available across many (most?) fields.

Which people supported you in the application process?

The biggest support came from TUT research services personnel. Especially Tuukka Pöyry for the initial application process, then also Kaisa Männikkö and Jörg Langwaldt during the extensive training sessions, following information from the ERC that I’d made the short list for interview.

What was your first reaction when you received the decision?

In all honesty, the email from the ERC was not incredibly clear! Even containing the statement “At this stage this message should in no way be considered as a commitment of financial support by the European Research Council.” So I thought it might be just another informational email from the ERC about the application status. It wasn’t until I started receiving messages from TUT colleagues that I realized!

How is the ERC-StG process and funding different from other funding you’ve obtained?

For the 2018 call, ERC-StG success rate was roughly 13%. This is very comparable to 2018 Academy of Finland rates at 14%. The difference is ERC-StG funding is 1.5 MEUR over 5 years: significantly higher than AoF funding. The decision is also great timing for me and my team, since my current AoF grant is ending this month!

From the constructive criticism I received in my ERC-StG evaluation report, I can also tell the ERC did an excellent job of matching my application with domain experts. From the feedback, the critical points were all valid.

Once more, warmest congratulations from the Lab!

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Advanced course on real-time Linux on SoC-FPGA

TUT and Wapice are organizing a special hands-on course TIE-50307 on embedded Linux in fall 2018. This course focuses on IoT and intelligent machine devices running Linux on custom HW and real time constraints.

The main topics are

  • Building Linux for custom platforms using Yocto
  • Writing kernel drivers and interrupt services for custom HW blocks
  • Measuring interrupt performance with a configurable interrupt source
  • Tuning Linux for real-time use

The course is implemented as a seminar with guest lectures, weekly exercises and student group presentations on literature. We use Xilinx ZYNQ SoC-FPGAs as the platform, open source tools and FPGA blocks by courtesy of Wapice.

The course is intended for late-stage master’s students and doctoral students who already know operating systems, C/C++ programming and at least basics of FPGA designs. We have 36 seats available because of the seminar implementation.

Please sign up to TIE-50307 at the latest by Sep 3 2018. You may take the course also via Open University, but note that the deadline for applications is Aug 23.2018 and note that we might not be able to accept all applicants. The course starts on week 35 (Sept 3 2018). See details from POP when signed up.

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Person of the Day: University Lecturer Terhi Kilamo

 I’m Terhi, a long time member of the Pervasive Computing staff and a graduate of TUT. Since May 2017 I have been working as a University Lecturer. However, I have just recently returned to work after being on family leave for a bit. Before my current position I have been working in both teaching and research for many years.

Today, I teach programming. My main responsibility is Ohjelmointi 3: Tekniikat with its English counterpart Programming 3: Techniques. I’m also supervising both bachelor’s and master’s theses – a part of teaching I particularly like. I am active in our laboratory’s work towards the new Tampere University as well as other more administrative things such as curriculum planning, degree programs and other wibbly wobbly stuff.

My research interests are in modern software development. My doctoral work was about Open Source Software development and during my time as a post-doctoral researcher I focused on DevOps, Continuous Development and how software teams in general work best. 

On my free time I enjoy skiing, running, swimming and cycling. I am a geek so I also spend time watching movies and reading a good book. I have a special soft spot for Shakespeare. The Tempest is my favourite.

“We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”
– Prospero, The Tempest Act 4, scene 1

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Person of the day: University Lecturer Aino Ahtinen & wish for summer happiness :)

Hey everybody,

my name is Aino and I work in the Lab of Pervasive Computing as a University Lecturer since April 2018 (as a Post-doc since 2014). I teach psychology (from the human-centered technology design perspective), human-centered robotics (human aspects and user experience on robotics design) and cross-cultural design (how to consider different cultural aspects in design). I love sharing my strong practical expertise (already 18 years on the field!) related to the various areas of human-technology interaction with the students and guiding their work in hands-on projects. In my courses, theory is always connected to practical work – the insights, skills and ideas are constructed by doing, trying out and reflecting on it. To motivate other people is my passion at work. I also get energy from working as part of the team where the great atmosphere and the team spirit lead our work. We have a lovely team <3

Before TUT I worked in Nokia and VTT for many years as a user experience designer. Those years are the source of my strong practical experience on the user research field. The most important application area for me personally is the physical exercise apps – I have worked in several projects around them and I wrote my PhD thesis about that topic (how to motivate people to be more active with the help of mobile apps). After making of PhD I headed towards physically active ways of work (how to make people more active at sedentary work) and we developed the Brainwolk walking meeting concept and also the break exercise concept. Both are used actively in my daily office work as well as in my teaching. My current project, 3DFysio, studies the use of a physiotherapy app in a long-term rheuma patients’ rehabilitation, in co-operation with TAMK, Apila and Kineso Oy. After telling all this it may not become as a surprise if I tell you that I was supposed to become a gymnastic teacher but actually I am very happy now to be able to fulfill my dream by motivating people to integrate even a little bit physical activity to their workdays.

My work has always been very multi-disciplinary and I enjoy that a lot. My newest research and teaching topic, human-centered robotics, is very interesting in that sense. The vision related to the human-centered robotics is that whatever we do with the robots, it should be valuable, beneficial and usable for human beings. Our human-centered robotics team is a little bit different from the other teams that I have worked in previously, because now we have also robots as our team members. That brings in many new challenges for understanding the team members, and for being able to communicate with them fluently 😀 However, Nao robot has already proved its capabilities in making people to move in robot-assisted break exercises, and sometimes it feels as if we understood each other. Nao is also showing many other skills on the teaching robot case study with City of Tampere.

If I happened to have some free time I really like to do all kinds of cross-country activities, especially hiking, skiing, riding Icelandic horses (exactly, not any other breed), biking, also sometimes orienteering. I will also restart kayaking in the future. Renovation of old furniture from 1800-1900 is also my hobby, which is a bit on hold now though. During this summer, I enjoy working in my garden with all of those tiny vegetables and flowers.

On behalf of TUT Pervasive Computing Blog, I wish everybody the greatest and happiest summer ever:

”Ei tarvii junien kulkea
Mun tarakal sä pääset kyllä perille
Tehtaat voi ovensa sulkea
Mun puutarhas on mansikoita kaikille
En aio käyttää kenkii ennen elokuuta
Kun kadut kaupungissa, on kaikki autioina
Jos mietit mistä mut voi tavoittaa
Se riippuu siit mihin mä riippumaton ripustan”

(by Mikael Gabriel)

Cheers, Aino A.

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Reporting from ICSE’18

The biggest software engineering conference, bringing together both academia and industry, is the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE). Thus, it’s only fitting that also a PervComp representative would attend the conference to sniff around on new trends in research and insights from practitioners, in addition to meeting a whole heap of new people (1700+ attendees this year!). This year the conference was conveniently held in Gothenburg, 30.5.-1.6.2018.

This year marked the 40th anniversary of ICSE, and there were appropriate celebrations in place. The organizing committee had pulled out all stops by getting keynotes from Fred Brooks and Margaret Hamilton.

On the first day of conference a new event, the Industry Forum, was organized, to further aid bridging the gap between academia and industry. The event brought talks and panels from industry representatives, as well as a variety of social events (including speed dating!) to help networking.

Artificial intelligence was a hot topic, and it was seen in many keynotes both for the main conference and for the SEIP (Software Engineering in Practice) track.

As a representative of academia, the SEET (Software Engineering Education and Training) track is also always particularly interesting, and this year there were really interesting presentations particularly on teaching project management (leading to a nice exchange of thoughts in Twitter!), how to handle a massive course which requires attendance on campus (solution: Slack!) and how to ensure better gender equality in student selection – starting from really paying attention on how we promote our programs to high school students.

From the Finnish point of view, DevOps appeared already in one keynote, but otherwise the buzzword of processes was still Agile, and particularly the Scaled Agile Framework, which was a particularly hot topic in the context of Global Software Engineering and appeared in many presentations at ICGSE (International Conference on Global Software Engineering), which was arranged co-located with ICSE 28.-29.5..

I also had a chance to attend the workshop RAISE (Realizing Artificial Intelligence Synergies in Software Engineering), from which one should note Tim Menzies’ keynote. To all those still unfamiliar with the field of Search-Based Software Engineering, heads up – even NASA uses evolutionary algorithms.

The conference is such a big event it needs to be well-organized, and the Swedes did it well. The saddest thing was that there was only one of me and over 4 parallel tracks, so at times one had to make tough choices on which presentation to listen to. To all interested, ICSE proceedings are freely available for all on the conference homepage: https://www.icse2018.org/

 

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3DFysio -projekti: Kokemuksia sovelluskehityksestä etäkuntoutushankkeessa

Toimin sovelluskehittäjänä 3DFysio-projektissa. Olen vastannut ohjelmiston toteutuksesta Kinesolla jo ennen hanketta ja sen aikana. Olen toteuttanut melkoisen osan projektin käyttöliittymästä, ja erityisesti kaikki tämän hankkeen puitteissa toteutetut käyttöliittymän osat. Hankkeen aikana olen saanut etsiä järkevimmät tavat toteuttaa hankkeen asettamat vaatimukset sovelluksessa. Esimerkiksi toteutin ohjelmistoon kommunikaatiotyökalun, jolla kuntoutujat ja fysioterapeutit voivat lähettää viestejä toisilleen – vähän kuin WhatsApp, mutta ohjelman sisällä. Olen myös toiminut hankkeen teknisenä ongelmanratkaisijana: olen toteuttanut ohjelmistoon uusia toiminnallisuuksia sekä korjannut käyttäjien raportoimia virheitä ja epäkohtia ohjelmistossa.

Projektissa todella mielenkiintoista on ollut nähdä miten loppukäyttäjät ovat reagoineet toteuttamiini ominaisuuksiin. Käyttäjillä on usein paljon erilaisia näkökulmia, joiden välillä pitää tasapainotella. Sekä negatiivista että positiivista palautetta on riittänyt. Teknologiavalinnoista johtuen olen joutunut paikoin vaikeaankin tilanteeseen yrittäessäni löytää luovia teknisiä ratkaisuja ympäristön luomiin haasteisiin. Teknisistä haasteista huolimatta sovellus on vastaanotettu positiivisesti, ja joskus mielestäni vähemmän onnistuneet ominaisuudet on yllättäen vastaanotettu hyvin.

3DFysio-projektissa suunnittelun lähtökohtana on alusta lähtien ollut hyvä käyttökokemus. Tämä kattaa ohjelmiston sellaiset aspektit kuten käytön sujuvuus, responsiivinen käyttöliittymä sekä ohjelmiston käyttöönoton tekeminen mahdollisimman helpoksi uusille käyttäjille. Toisaalta isoimmat ongelmat ovat ilmenneet lähes yksinomaan käyttökokemuksen ongelmina. Tämä kertoo käyttökokemuksen merkityksestä ohjelmistokehityksessä.

Hankkeen aikana on korostunut sovelluksen rooli fysioterapeutin ja kuntoutujan välisen keskustelun edesauttajana. Käyttäjien toiveesta toteutettu kommunikaatiokanava on ollut suosittu ominaisuus siinä missä liikkeiden 3D-animaatiotkin. Projektin alkuvaiheissa keskityimme paljon 3D-animointi-osuuteen, mutta saimme huomata että käyttäjät kokivat ohjelmiston sisäisen kommunikaatiokanavan todella hyödylliseksi.

Viimeisenä huomiona haluan todeta, että olen huolissani fysioterapian digitalisaation potentiaalista etäännyttää fysioterapeuttia ja kuntoutujaa. Aivan kuten vanhustenhoitokin nykyaikana etäännyttää vanhuksia paitsi sukulaisista myös hoitajista. Haluaisinkin esittää lukijalle kysymyksen: miten tällaista teknologiaa voitaisiin parantaa siten, että se toisi fysioterapeutin ja kuntoutujan lähemmäs toisiaan?

Kirjoittanut Henri Lunnikivi 3DFysio-projektista

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Kactus2 version 3.6.0 released

Kactus2 version 3.6.0 has been released.  In the latest version we have complemented the graphical editing options with a command-line interface for batch jobs and repeated generation tasks.  We also expanded support for view-specific component configurations in pursuit for better configurability as outlined already in our previous post. A new plugin is available for generating Linux device tree for any hardware platform designed in Kactus2. For full details on the updates, see release notes in GitHub, or get the installer to try it yourself. Kactus2 runs on both Linux and Windows platforms. For more information on Kactus2 and IP-XACT, see the Kactus2 project webpage.

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Timo Viitanen’s Defence on Hardware Accelerators

M.Sc. Timo Viitanen’s doctoral dissertation defence on Hardware Accelerators for Animated Ray Tracing took place on a warm and sunny Friday 25.5. The opponent was Dr. Samuli Laine, Principal Research Scientist at NVIDIA, and the Custos was Prof. Jarmo Takala from the Department of Pervasive Computing.

Ray tracing is one way for computers to paint images with, e.g., reflections, transparent objects, and even full physics-based simulation of the propagation of light. Ray tracing in real-time has been a long-time goal (or pipe dream) in computer graphics, and recently there have been major efforts by the video game and GPU industries in this direction. In his dissertation, Timo studied how add extra hardware to GPUs so as to help make ray tracing work in the difficult case of animated scenes which contain moving characters and objects.

The defence started with background presentations with Timo going through a short history of graphics, and the opponent expanding on the challenges of modern photorealistic rendering. An interesting discussion followed, starting with general questions on the background and motivation of the thesis, and then moving on to a technical review. The defence concluded around two hours fifteen minutes with the honorable opponent recommending the dissertation to be accepted.

Happy kustos and defender after a successful discussion

Text and pics: Timo Viitanen / Matias Koskela

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Robot-Assisted Break Exercises

Me and Nao robot were invited in Taitaja2018 event to lead some physical exercises for the visitors in the international Skills for the Future seminar as well as on the Lumate stand. The purpose was to run a short exercise session in between the speakers on the seminar, and also several pop up exercise sessions on the fair stand.  Because we know that physical exercise is good for each of us. And because social robots can be efficient motivators and provide a totally new experience for exercising. At least if they happen to have a good day.

Nao, ready to exercise with people?

Nao’s mood was changing during the day – the first thing that it did in the morning was doing nothing. It was totally frozen. We had advertised the robot-assisted exercises and there were plenty of people gathered around Nao and me. Let’s start then.. and then nothing happened! One needs a lot of humour when working with robots. Reboot took 5 minutes and all people had disappeared by then..

Luckily it got into much better mood after the lunch and worked perfectly on the Skills for the Future seminar, which had more than 100 participants from all over the world. The participants were very excited about Nao and enjoyed the short robotic moment consisting of dialogue and exercise with Nao and it’s leader (=Aino). It was just great to see so many happy faces in audience and people really participating the exercises. Ideally, humans and robots can form great workpairs and co-operate smoothly! Later on, Nao also worked on the Lumate stand…

Robot-assisted break exercise session on the Skills for the Future seminar lead by Aino & Nao

Summa summarum, it was a great experience, and this concept can still be developed further (and we will) 🙂

Cheers, Aino A. & Nao

Nao moving kids on the Lumate fair stand

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Training School @ Azores

Hello terve moi everybody!

This year, we (the “Pervs” as we call ourselves) went to Azores for a training school. The Training School on Cryptanalysis of Ubiquitous Computing Systems took place in São Miguel, Azores. The training focus was on theoretical and practical cryptographic mechanisms designed to ensure the security and privacy of ubiquitous computing systems such as embedded devices.

What we though was a great week to get a nice tan and learn the latest trends on Cryptanalysis and Side-Channel Analysis (SCA) turned way too cold, specially when we found out Tampere was warmer that Azores during the whole week. 🙁

In addition to great talks from experts in the field, — which included Joan Daemen (AES), Daniel Gruss (Meltdown and Spectre attacks) and Herbert Bos (Rowhammer attacks) — the training school included sessions to pitch our scientific research and presents posters about our topics.

Research @TUT

The poster session allowed us to showcase our latest research and a safe and friendly environment where experts provided feedback on our research.

We had two workshop sessions during the last two days of training. One of them was “How to have a Meltdown” by Daniel Gruss and the other one was “Defeating SCA countermeasures on a real device” by RISCURE, NL team. Both of them, demonstrating that SCA and related attacks are very practical and represent a real threat to our systems.

Finally, as part of the social activities, we had the opportunity to visit geysers, springs, a protected park and tea plantations with *the only* tea factory working in Europe.

 

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