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CS Dissertation: Tuomo Lempiäinen increases understanding of capabilities and limitations of distributed systems

During his doctoral studies, Tuomo Lempiäinen studied the theory of distributed computing and participated in the organization of the ALGO conference.
Tuomo Lempiäinen_photo by Matti Ahlgren

MSc Tuomo Lempiäinen earned his MSc degree in mathematics at the University of Helsinki. First, he worked as a research assistant in Assistant Professor Jukka Suomela’s group at the University of Helsinki and then followed the group to the Department of Computer Science in Aalto University. Tuomo started his doctoral studies in 2015 under Jukka’s supervision.

Tuomo’s research belongs to the fields of distributed computing and modal logic, which may appear somewhat theoretical to people outside the field of computer science. In distributed computing, multiple independent computational units carry out the computing while the units communicate with each other and collectively solve problems. Solving problems is indeed something that Tuomo finds very motivating in research work: “I enjoy discovering mathematical proofs and designing new algorithms.” Tuomo’s research builds understanding of the limitations and capabilities of distributed systems, which also facilitate introduction of new applications. Potential applications in the field consist of, for instance, developing algorithms for telecommunications or understanding natural systems. For example, a biological organism can be understood as a (distributed) system, in which cells communicate with each other. “A better understanding of distributed systems benefits the development of other fields of research and society in many ways,” Tuomo explains.

Tuomo produced overall six research articles during his doctoral studies, and four of them were selected into his doctoral dissertation. The past few years as a doctoral student have also included several other things besides conducting research and writing the dissertation. Tuomo’s supervisor Jukka Suomela’s research group, Distributed Algorithms, took a major part in organizing international conferences called SIROCCO in 2016, and ALGO in August 2018 at Aalto University. The ALGO conference can be seen as the major European event in algorithms and their applications, with over 300 participants. “Participating in the organization of these conferences has been a useful experience. I believe that similar experiences, in addition to teaching duties, are beneficial for all young researchers,” Tuomo says.

Nowadays many young researchers choose to leave Finland to post-doctoral positions abroad. In Tuomo’s opinion, a career in academia feels tempting as well: “As so many ideas came up during my doctoral studies, it would be interesting to continue building on my previous work. Nevertheless, also working in the private sector is a genuine option for me.” Tuomo has already gained some experience as a visiting researcher as he spent some time in Germany during his doctoral studies: “Going abroad and finding a post-doc position is a possible option for me, but one never knows what happens after the doctoral defense.”

MSc Tuomo Lempiäinen will defend the dissertation "Logic and Complexity in Distributed Computing" on Thursday 4 April 2019 at 12 noon in Aalto University School of Science, lecture hall M1, Otakaari 1, Espoo.  

Link to the electronic version of the thesis is here.

Contact information: MSc Tuomo Lempiäinen [email protected]

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