Person of the Day: Professor Hannu-Matti Järvinen

Professor Hannu-Matti Järvinen is not the oldest member of the laboratory by his age, but he has worked here longer than anybody else of the current faculty, from the first of April, 1983. At that time, he was still a student, and started to write his master’s thesis on remote control systems for electric power plants. On those days, one of the most famous things at TUT were the micromice. He participated in the making of the three newest mice during his studies and even after his graduation.

His interest in technology started in late 1960’s, when he (as an elementary school boy) lived at a railway station. One of the personnel taught him how to operate a railway control board, i.e., turn the switches, set green light to the trains, etc. The system was built of relays, so pressing buttons caused audible clicking from the system room and, finally, the switches turned and the green light was granted. And, which was even more interesting, light turned back to red automatically when the train passed the signal. How was this possible? This made a preteen to find out how digital logic works and how one gets feedback of the position of the trains. The latter was also empirically tested, but not intentionally: one can enforce red light for an express train with a sled.

The first research project he attended was called Asento, Ada Software ENgineering TOols, which was built around the Ada programming language. This project was the reason not to leave the university when he graduated; it was part of the first big programme of TEKES, and it is said the main result of those projects were the researchers themselves, not the other outputs. Later followed DisCo, Distributed Co-operation, a project that produced a set of doctors, Hannu-Matti Järvinen being the first one in 1992. The research area of DisCo is still in his interests: distributed systems, action-orientation, etc.

Hannu-Matti Järvinen has always been interested in teaching, and his first experience in curriculum development comes from 1984, when the new curriculum of information technology was created. Later, in 1997, this interest made him the head of Department of Information Technology until departments were transformed to faculties and institutes to departments. He then worked as the head of the Department of Software Systems until it was merged with other departments. He has had and still has several positions of trust at TUT but also outside TUT.

The interest in teaching opened also a possibility for some doctoral students to make their dissertation on the area of computer engineering education. Currently his interests in research and teaching include educational technology, software testing and architecture, and action-orientation. Perhaps ethics in technology could be added as a new area of interest. He is actively participating in three or four programme committees of annual scientific conferences.

Hannu-Matti Järvinen has several hobbies: genealogy, country home, orienteering, railways, reading, poems, cats. Grandchildren are not a hobby but they and family are very important, too. Beware – if you ask him something about these, you have to be prepared for one hour lecture (minimum) about them.

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