Satellites, eco-art and refrigerator for quantum computers


2017 was an amazing year for Aalto's efforts in arts, science and technology.


2017 began with some great news for the environment: our researchers have developed a method that converts wastewater nutrients into clean fertiliser. This significantly reduces the energy consumption and nutrient emissions to waterways caused by fertiliser production.


Early in the year, the November presidential election was still fresh in our minds and the divide between Trump and Clinton supporters was deep. Our researchers created algorithmic methods that can bring people with opposing views closer to each other and then evaluated the model using material from Twitter.


Aalto celebrated one hundred years of Finnish independence in many ways. One of the smallest and also most impressive was a centenary celebration logo made from silicon that was just a hundredth of a millimetre in size.


Finns are enthusiastic about tracing their family roots. In March, doctoral candidate Eric Malmi delighted them by publishing the online AncestryAl family tree algorithm, which can trace a family up to 300 years into the past.


In collaboration with Tampere University of Technology and Nokia Bell Labs, our researchers created a new 5G radio transmitter designed for the small fifth generation base stations - and 20 times more efficient than the previous ones.


In April, the NAKUNA exhibition took the experimental design of Aalto university students to Milan Design Week. NAKUNA was selected as one of the top 40 exhibitions from more than 2 000 candidates.


The global race towards a functioning quantum computer is on. Quantum physicist Mikko Möttönen and his team have invented a quantum-circuit refrigerator, which can reduce errors in quantum computing.


In May, international guests and enthusiastic fashion lovers arrived at the Cable Factory's long bench rows to wait for the results of the courageous designers from Aalto University’s fashion program.


CodeBus Africa finished its 100-day tour on a high note in Cape Town. The project reached some 1800 youth with creative coding workshops.


A long-awaited moment occurred on Midsummer Eve when the Aalto-1 satellite was successfully launched into orbit. Dozens of Aalto students and alumni who had participated in the satellite project gathered in Otaniemi to watch the launch. Many of them have continue to work in the space field and are now building new satellites, space probes and space devices at different institutions. And in July Aalto-1 satellite sended already its first image.


The EU has a hard goal: it wants the Member States to cut greenhouse gas emissions to a fifth, or even a tenth, of the present level by 2050. Sami Tuomi and Tanja Kallio, together with colleagues, are looking for cheaper and easier ways to store clean energy.


October brought some great news: construction of a quantum computer will begin at Aalto. The working group headed by Aalto University Docent Mikko Möttönen received a total of 950 000 euros in funding from the Technology Industries of Finland Centennial Foundation and Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation. The funding is intended for the development of a scalable quantum computer in Finland.


New types of research methods are required for the development of water- and dirt-repellent surfaces. In November, our researchers reported the development of a microscope technique that enables images of record-breaking accuracy. The new technique is 1 000 times more accurate that the methods currently used for measuring wetting properties.


Phone data can reveal surprising things about us. Doctoral candidate Talayeh Aledavood discovered that night owls tend to have wider social networks than morning persons, and night owls are also more central in their own networks than early birds. Aledavood believes that data collected and linked together from mobile devices, social media use and digital platforms could serve as indicators for many mental health disorders.


In December Aalto students’ eco-art exhibition opened. The exhibition From Nature to Future combines material experimentation and art with surprising results. at Helsinki Airport.