AI Hub Tampere: Formal opening ceremony on 10.12.2018



Event available on YouTube!

News about the event on Smart Tampere site.

AI Hub Tampere on Twitter

TUT Kampusareena auditorium was full of people who have arrived to celebrate the the opening of AI Hub Tampere, the very first AI Hub in Finland. AI Hub Tampere is led by Associate Professor Heikki Huttunen from Signal Processing, and there is a multidisciplinary team behind it consisting of competences in signal processing, computing sciences, robotics and human-machine interaction. AI Hub Tampere is a new artificial intelligence research center for intelligent machines hosted by Tampere University and funded by public instruments. The center organizes workshops, helpdesk sessions, experimental piloting and other support for adopting artificial intelligence in local companies. It’s main principle is to make AI easy to reach, affordable and all our services are free of charge, neutral and equal for all. The center is part of nationwide network of AI centers that is currently being built.

Heikki Huttunen presenting the components of AI Hub Tampere: networking, tools, robotics and human.

We were happy to hear many interesting speeches about AI. First, Mika Grundström, Dean of Computing and Electrical Engineering Faculty, talked about the focus of the new AI Hub and emphasized that the hub will enable efficient networking with academic and industrial partners around AI, as well as the it will offer a platform for working with real AI cases coming from companies. Associate Professor and head of Signal Processing Lab Joni Kämäräinen gave an overview for the impressive department of Signal Processing in Tampere University and gave many interesting examples of their work. He also mentioned a nice future vision of the autonomous machine to clean snow on the university yard and greeting the rector when she is arriving in workplace 🙂 In addition, Joni stated the importance of successfull human-robot interaction and ethics on the AI solutions that are being developed. Professor Moncef Gabbouj showed a video from a streetview, where their algorithm was accurately able to recognize and label all the objects on the busy street: cars, people and so on. The second example was about the prediction of of heart’s behavior from the sensors being built on wristwatch. These examples demonstrated very concretely how effective the AI already is. Then, it was Heikki Huttunen’s turn to introduce the AI Hub Tampere and it’s purpose as well as way of working. Basically, AI Hub wants to make life of companies easier and help them to adopt AI. Heikki mentioned a very important point on intelligent machines that will be working with humans in the future – the machine should be perveived as a safe companion, not an enemy.

The second set of speeches consisted of four talks. Manu Setälä from Business Finland, Antti Siren from FIMA (Forum fro Intelligent Machines) and Niina Siipola from Business Tampere gave concrete examples of how AI can be utilized in intelligent machines and also in practical city challenges. The big machines need AI for conducting abstract tasks autonomously, for handling exceptions and making predictions, learning new skills, imitation of human behavior and thinking (making machines more human-like) and in co-operation between human workers & machines. On the other hand, the city challenges solved by AI can relate to, e.g. optimizing traffic light systems. Last but not least, Associate Professor Reza Ghabcheloo gave insight on what kind of human-machine interaction is needed in order to design safe and predictable autonomous machines. He also promised that in two years from now we would get our coffee served by their autonomous mobile robot. For that and many other purposes we need to make robots to understand human needs.

Antti Siren from FIMA explaining the needs for AI on intelligent machines.

In the end of the event, there was a nice discussion on the multidisciplinary field of AI, and the challenge of getting out of own comfortable zones and research areas. There is definitely a need for collaboration, widening our knowledge and trying to understand each other who come from different fields. Together we can build fantastic, efficient, useful, usable and pleasurable services to benefit people in their complex world.

All the best for AI Hub Tampere <3

Written by Aino Ahtinen, the human-technology interaction specialist of AI Hub team

Ps. I was waiting for one word to be heard, which is so much related to human beings. The human-machine communication and interaction was mentioned for so many times. The that I wanted to hear is emotion, but it was not mentioned. Does this mean that we are currently only considering very pragmatic design questions when talking about AI and intelligent machines? If we really want to make machines to be more human-like, we cannot ignore the role of emotions, which basically tint all human decisions, behaviors and thoughts. Would there be some room for emotions on this field? Definitely in many areas. For example, the coffee serving robot would provide much more pleasurable experience if it detected some emotions and adjusted it’s behavior and service accordingly. Also, think about the washing machine, why cannot it be somehow emotional and emphathic for me – I need to work with it alot anyways and currently it feels very boring. Okay, maybe my service robot will do all those tasks in the future (but even that would need to be emotional in my opinion). Anyways, I think that the world would be much more interesting place if the machines would be intelligent and a bit more emotional <3 Stay tuned!

AI Hub Tampere opening event through the broadcast.

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Enterprise Architect

Our course Database Design (TIE-22201 2018 Tietokantojen suunnittelu) introduces a method to design relational databases with UML. A properly designed conceptual model of the problem domain is very helpful when creating a relational database.

For a few years, we have been lacking a decent UML tool. We have experimented with free tools and noticed that they do not properly support some UML structures needed by us well. Such structures include association class and n-ary association. In addition, we have encountered usability and stability issues with those free tools.

Luckily, our laboratory got an academic license for Enterprise Architect this fall. For more information about Enterprise Architect, visit

Now we are happy to use Enterprise Architect. It is relatively easy and visually appealing to create conceptual database models with it. See the following example:


(I have to admit I cheated with Class7. It seems creating an association class for n-ary association is not possible, so I used dependency instead. However, it is correct visually!)

text by Antti Luoto

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Valentina Lenarduzzi´s Colloquium on Technical Debt at the University of Milano-Bicocca

Valentina Lenarduzzi has been invited to present her research on “Technical Debt Analysis and Prioritization” at the at the University of Milano-Bicocca.

Valentina is currently collaborating with prof. Francesca Arcelli Fontana on Technical Debt focusing on architectural issues role such as architectural smells.

The popularity of Technical Debt is increasing rapidly. Many tools are available on the market and they propose a set of coding rules, which represent something wrong in the code that will soon be reflected in a fault or will increase maintenance effort. However, while the management of some companies is encouraging developers not to violate these rules in the first place, developers are skeptical of their importance [1].

On October 31st, Valentina presented her research interests, and her latest publications [1-9] introducing the state of the art on Technical Debt through recent and relevant research works.


Moreover, she presented a novel automated approach to classify the severity of Technical Debt and prioritize refactoring activities.

Text by Valentina Lenarduzzi


  1. Taibi, A. Janes and V. Lenarduzzi. “How Developers Perceive smells in Source Code: A Replicated Study “. Information and Software Technology (IST), Vol. 92, pp. 223-235. December 2017. The paper was selected for the ESEM “Journal First” track in 2018.
  2. Janes, V. Lenarduzzi, and A.C. Stan. “A Continuous Software Quality Monitoring Approach for Small and Medium Enterprises”, 8th ACM/SPEC on International Conference on Performance Engineering Companion (ICPE ’17), L’Aquila (Italy), April 22-26, 2017, pp. 97-100.
  3. Lenarduzzi, A. C. Stan, D. Taibi, G. Venters and M. Windegger. “Prioritizing Corrective Maintenance Activities for Android Applications: An Industrial Case Study on Android Crash Reports” 10th International Conference on Software Quality Days, SWQD 2018; Vienna; Austria; 16-20 January 2018.
  4. Taibi. V. Lenarduzzi. “An Empirically Defined Set of Bad Architectural Smells for Microservices” IEEE Software, Vol 35, Issue 3, May/June, 2018.
  5. Pellegrini and V. Lenarduzzi. ” Are Code smells the root cause of faults? A continuous experimentation approach” 19th International Conference on Agile Software Development (XP2018)
  6. Lenarduzzi and D. Taibi. “Microservices, Continuous Architecture, and Technical Debt Interest: An Empirical Study” Euromicro Conference on Software Engineering and Advanced Applications (SEAA)
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Industrial robotics is starting to use psychology to create perceptual experiences

Written by Valentina Ramirez Millan, HTI student in Psychology of Pervasive Computing course

Based on the Future of Robotics in Finland Seminar

In a technical world created by mathematicians, engineers and software developers it is easy to feel lost and out of the conversation when you came from the humanistic side, especially when the topic is industrial robots. If this situation feels familiar, this blog post is for you!

Here I will tell my experience in the seminar The Future of Robotics in Finland organized in Tampere University of Technology on the 23rd of November 2018.

It was the kind of event were the most of the jokes told by the speakers were referring to some complicated mathematical formulas and sensor that a UX Designer like me was not able to catch up and laugh at the same time. Fortunately my curiosity was bigger that my shame and I decided to stay and listen, there is always something to learn.

At the middle of his talk the professor of Computer Science and Engineering (in particular Robotics) Steven M. LaValle, who have worked for several years at Oculus developing VR, started talking about the use of technologies to design, develop and deliver perceptual experiences. He mentioned how the massive amount of technology we use every day is transforming the way we experience life with a direct impact in our sensory systems. This understanding drove his vision to a new field call perception engineering, which aims to deliver perceptual experience by understanding human physiology and human perception process, doing reverse engineering.

Scheme presented by Steven M. LaValle

Since an important contribution to this model comes from the knowledge of perceptual psychology and neuroscience, I was fascinated and happy to know that humanistic side is needed in robotics, even when he admitted that at the beginning the members of the team did not know exactly what the psychologist was doing there. (Finally a joke that I could laugh).

In his paper “The Path to (Human) Perception Engineering”, LaValle assesses the future of this field “This leads to unique challenges, including finding the correct engineering criteria for effectiveness and comfort, understanding the adaptation of sensory and perceptual systems, and designing new interfaces that exploit learnable motor programs.”

After the talk we went to a coffee break, and before you wonder, no it wasn’t robot barista there although it would have suited for the event 🙂 But I had the opportunity to get confused with some industrial robots presentations and also learn about a project developed by the FAST-Lab which is using haptic-gestures based interface to let a task expert teach to an industrial robot how to do certain task. This project aims to change the focus that robot trainers are always the ones who understand the code but not necessarily the expert on the task. More point for human-centered vision on robotics!

The second keynote that got my attention was ‘Cobots and the future of manufacturing’ given by Samuli Bergstrom, from Omron Electronics Oy. Cobots stand for collaborative robots, designed as line of industrial robots that are able to work with the presence of a person at the same time that robot is performing a task. One of the main features is the simple user interface that can be taught in five minutes.

Wait a minute, robotics considering UX? The answer is yes, and with that in mind I will like to end this post today. Designer, psychologist and any person that work with humanistics – don’t be afraid, robotics is waiting for us!

Café X’s robot barista, image taken from business

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SEFI2018 – Nothing is rotten in the state of Denmark

In September I had a chance to visit the European Society for Engineering Education or SEFI2018 conference: “Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Engineering Education Excellence”. There were 164 papers, 20 workshops, 365 delegates in the conference.

The venue DTU (Danmarks Tekniske Universitet) is a 1829 founded technical university with a good ranking. DTU has 24 departments or centres (six active Centers of Excellence). In 2017, 5481 publications were made, and 66 % of them co-published with international researchers. DTU has about 11000 students, annually about 1500 MSc (of which 600 international) and about 350 PhD (of which 150 international) degrees granted, and 6000 staff members (FTE, full-time equivalent).

There were at least six presentations/papers by TUT personnel (!). Finns were the second active nation in participation of that SEFI (as has been also many times in earlier SEFIs).

It was warm week (daily about +25 C), good that we could stay inside all the time. 😉 Clouds started crying (raining) just at the ending time of SEFI2018 on Friday.

The most important news first

DTU restaurant had many food lines, and the payment was charged according how much your food weighted. Choose whatever you want to your plate. For drinking, DTU brand bottled water was free. University’s library sold “Pi wine” in bottles (perhaps favoured by doctoral students ?).

Then about infrastructure

Obviously the climate is very mild, as there were a lot of open and high space inside buildings, and a lot of windows. At TUT similar architecture would be too cold and costly to keep warm in winter. But that was a kind of brand to have a lot of open space there.

At the lobby of Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science there was a three-wheel Enigma ! It is said that every relevant math/ICT professor should have such a machine at his/her collection, some even have two. In Finland there is known to be one Enigma in a museum at H‰meenlinna.

DTU Skylab and its Wall of Fame are often visited by international delegates (like we). Skylab is like TUTLab, students and staff can do their small projects there.

Inner garden at the main building with grass, trees, monuments and some benches and tables was popular place for students. I think TUT’s S- and K- buildings had never had such popularity.

At city there surely are a lot of, and fast-moving, bicycles ! In larger roads there are own lanes to cyclists.

And finally, something scientific

Agile learning/teaching is something “hot and hype” currently. But there are very few actual references existing. Agile learning means just two things; studying is done by steps/phases (sprints), and there is feedback/review (review/retrospective) after every phase. Not much more than we are doing now, so it might be relatively easy to do agile teaching (especially with the lab’s new PRP web application – Peer Review Program).

At the end of every larger exercise (or project) work, there could be some show or fair, where students present their work results, or show posters. Perhaps some laboratory work results could be presented by a video, instead of a written report.

How to teach creativity and decision making ? That is The Big Question. Surely such ability would be a gem or capstone in any curriculumn. Nowadays we just have to give students many different kind of problems to be solved, and trust that it enhances learning, thinking and creativity.

Blended learning (mixture of methods) should effectively produce multi-skilled professionals. Besides advanced technical and problem solving skills, prosperous graduated Masters need good social, teamwork, presentation and time management skills.

All kind of hackathons are liked by students, and those kind of courses may very likely teach the highly needed problem solving skills for large or vague problems.

Denmark will lack 19000 ICT specialists by 2030, and Europe will lack 700000 ICT professionals by 2020 [EC2016].

Six most in-demand hard skills [LinkedIn 2018]
– cloud and distributed computing
– statistical analysis and data mining
– middleware and integration software
– web architecture and development framework
– user interface design
– software revision control systems.

The Future of Jobs Report 2018 [World Economic Forum]

The Global State of the Art in Engineering Education, 2018

Many thanks to TUT teacher’s travelling fund for support.

Text by: Tensu, lecturer at TUT / PERV COMP

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Person of the Day: Research Assistant Aleksi Hiltunen

Introducing the robot whisperer Aleksi Hiltunen 🙂

Though I have been working here in TUT for almost a year already, I have never blog-introduced myself. Here it goes:

I am working in Human-Centered Robotics, the IHTE project, and more precisely, one of my responsibilities is to whisper to the humanoid social robots, mainly Nao and Pepper, to perform different tricks and tasks. I am working on my thesis that is creating easier ways to operate and script applications with these robots. Target is to lower the bar of coding skill to make the robot do stuff.

I have been studying in TUT since 2012, which is also the time I moved to Tampere from Oulu. I am mastering in Computer Engineering and minoring in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Tampere has really grown into me, and I enjoy my life here. Things I list as my hobbies are RaspBerry projects (of which 95% are ongoing), PC gaming, squash and hiking.


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Work practise (TET) on Pervasive Computing Lab

I have been in work practice program at Tampere University of Technology. It was very good place. I have had a lot of good time in there. I have edited videos and programmed robots.

There a met this awesome man, Aleksi, who teached me how to program these robots. I spend a lot of time programing robots. It was very fun. I have made my own behavior script for NAO robot. It has camera- and rating system and it can be moved with speak commands. I think that it is good script for four days of programing.

I also edited few videos for Aino. They were videos of a NAO robot. I now have many good memories about this place. I wish that I could stay here longer than a week.

Onni Kolkka.

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Brainwolking on Psychology of Pervasive Computing course

Written by Aparajita Chowdhury, the course assistant

Let’s take our brains out for a walk!

We have (again) been conducting an interesting activity on the course called Psychology of Pervasive Computing. The course is itself very interesting as it connects different aspects of psychology with interactive technology design. However, as during the previous years, we took an attempt to try out something which is not seen very often in teaching. We made the students leave the classroom and discuss amidst nature. The teacher of the course, Aino Ahtinen, came up with a concept of walking meeting named “Brainwolk” around 2015 and since that we have taken the opportunity to utilize this method in our regular classrooms.

Disciplined students walking and talking in a line on Brainwolk!

On the first weekly exercise of the course, we formed groups among students based on their group assignment topic. In the following activity, we introduced the concept of Brainwolk to the students and took them out for an introductory walking meeting. The idea of Brainwolk is that the participants would walk up to each checkpoint discussing about one particular topic – topics are given in advance. When they reach the checkpoint, the discussion is shortly wrapped up and they need to change the topic. One facilitator walks with the participants to the checkpoint, facilitates the wrap-ups and asks the participants to carry on the walk with another topic. Aino and I facilitated the Brainwolk. We first asked the participants to meet at Tietotalo’s lobby where we gave them their first topic. Then we took a walk around the university campus where we set three checkpoints. The discussion topics concerned, e.g. the students’ expectations and motivations for the group assignment. So, the first Brainwolk acted as a team spirit building activity as well as getting to know each other’s targets.

Let the hair fly!

The whole experience was very refreshing and enthusiastic for the students. There were comments from the students like “I never left a classroom before during teaching” and “This was refreshing and different”. Some groups were also discussing about keeping this as one of their “play rules” of their team. So, we got positive feedback from the students. In fact, they seemed to be energized after the walk and actively participated in discussion sessions afterwards in class. Since Brainwolk was such a hit on the first trial, we opted to execute it once more in a brainstorming session later on. Students were excited to do it again, even on a windy day! Although few groups mentioned that it was difficult to discuss in such a weather, they seemed to enjoy the walk overall.

So far, Brainwolk was successful for exercise sessions and this was the third year when we tried it on the psychology course. Since the students seem to appreciate outdoor activities during regular classroom sessions, there might be a surprise waiting for the next batch (who knows, there might be a walking lecture coming!). We hope students (and teachers!) will continue this trend of Brainwolk for boosting their creativity and energy level!

Have a graceful and energetic autumn everybody!

Cheers, Aparajita

“Can we continue for a little longer?”

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Greetings from the robotic English class!

I call this research case as “a study of good mood and spirit”. Let me tell you why..

Kids love to dance and sing with Elias. Teacher Nina Pirttinokka like to teach with Elias and has integrated it very successfully to her teaching tasks.

The long-term field study (3 months) of the language learning and teaching experiences with the social robot Elias (developed by Utelias Technologies) is already on the halfway. The study started in August 2018 and it includes user experience data gathering with several methods: classroom observations of English classes,  interviews with the teachers, online questionnaires to be filled by parents based on the discussion with their kids. The study takes place in Tammela primary school, Tampere.

Today, it was the third observational session in class (out of four). Elias is used in this specific English class at least one a week. He teaches vocabulary by making kids to repeat, remember and discuss. Elias succesfully utilizes rewarding aspects in teaching. For example, “the candy eyes” (eyes suddenly changing to multicolored) is very much looked forward rewards by the kids. Activational tasks related to language learning are also very popular among the kids. For example, kids can play “Simon says” and ask Elias to act certain behaviors, and they can sing English songs with Elias.

Kids usually learn in small groups with Elias.

Based on the observations in class, the language teacher Nina Pirttinokka has very successfully managed to integrate Elias to her teaching – Elias seems to be actually part of almost everything that she does with the kids in class. Sometimes Elias seems to live his own life, according to Nina. For example, Elias can suddenly start stretching or tell a joke. This kind of surprising behavior raises a lot of curiosity and interest among the kids. And the kids love to dance with Elias! Actually, when the class started to learn verbs today, the first example of verb came directly from the kids: “dancing”.

So, Elias is clearly part of the class, friend of everybody and a mascot of the school. It brings many surprises and a lot of joy for the school days in Tammela school. Also, every time when I come from the class observation, I feel very happy because of the positive atmosphere in class. That’s why I call this study as “a study of good mood and spirit” 🙂

Cheers, Aino

Ps. Together with Utelias Technologies, we are now also conducting cross-cultural field studies in China and Arabic Emirates. But that is another story then…

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Plussa 2018 – making learning better

Plussa is working on the development of modern online tools for learning support. The main goal of the work is to develop new functionality to the Plussa learning environment both to the benefit of the students and the teaching staff.

Front-page of Plussa

The new tools contain a modern continuous development pipeline specifically targeted at learning, better support for giving feedback to students during the course, a peer-review tool and an entire online course on the use of version control.

As one part of the work a collaboration with Tampere High School of Technology will start in November. During the winter months, high school students take our Programming I course and get the possibility to take the exam and gain TUT credits as part of their high school studies.

The team was lead by Essi Isohanni until August 2018. Currently the team consists of Pietari Heino, Jukka-Pekka Venttola, Aku Niskanen, Eliisa Väkevä, Samuli Kohomäki, Jyke Savia and Terhi Kilamo. In addition to Plussa, the team has implemented services that plug into Plussa and help with course work.

One major achievement from the group has been the full implementation of a modern software development stack that integrates fully into the programming courses and gives the students the opportunity to learn software development with real tools in a realistic setting.


The Plussa project has been working hard for the entire year and the work will be continued in the Ministry of Education funded Smart Learning environments project coordinated by Aalto University from autumn 2018 onwards.

  • Terhi Kilamo
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