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ERCIM Cor Baayen Award 2009
02 November 2009
ERCIM (European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics)
In a tight competition, the ERCIM Executive Committee has chosen Teemu Roos from the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT as the winner of the 2009 Cor Baayen Award for a promising young researcher in computer science and applied mathematics.
Teemu Roos received his PhD degree from the University of Helsinki, Finland, in September 2007. The title of his thesis is "Statistical and Information-Theoretic Methods for Data Analysis". During and after his postgraduate studies, Teemu Roos has performed groundbreaking research by combining advanced theoretical reasoning with innovative technical solutions in the fields of information theory, data analysis and machine learning. He has attacked and solved practical problems of utmost importance in an unusually wide range of applications. His two equivalence results that establish formal connections between Bayesian network classifiers and logistic regression, and between regularised Haar wavelets and so called variable length Markov chains, can be considered theoretical as well as practical breakthroughs.
Teemu also stated and proved a theorem about the possibility of inductive generalisations to as yet unseen cases under a certain mild stationarity assumption, a result that was formerly claimed, and generally believed, to be impossible in its present form. His highly cited work in mobile device positioning has been patented and successfully commercialised in the award-winning spin-off company Ekahau Inc. As an another example, in collaboration with historians, Roos has gained significant advances in the study of the “evolution” of ancient manuscripts by unprejudiced application of state-of-the-art information-theoretic methods to stemmatology, a long-standing problem in textual criticism.
The young researcher has already at this phase of his career demonstrated capability for independent, multifaceted, creative, and highly original work, producing both theoretical and practical solutions of undisputable societal and commercial value. The positioning techniques, some of which he introduced already in his MSc thesis, are being used every day in more than 150 hospitals around the world, and numerous other locations in government, military, and industry.
Teemu’s interdisciplinary work on stemmatology, introducing exact mathematical and computational tools in an area where they have been largely unused, has lead to a prolific collaboration rousing both domestic and international interest. This work has already contributed to historical research as reported in at least three books and academic dissertations.