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Director Marja-Liisa Siikonen became Alumnus of the Year of the School of Science

She has significantly contributed company-university research collaboration.
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The School of Science Alumnus of the Year was announced today by Dean Risto Nieminen who awarded Ms. Marja-Liisa Siikonen, Director of People Flow Planning in KONE Corporation, with the title and diploma of the Alumnus of the Year 2015.  She is the second Alumnus of the Year in the school’s history.

Marja-Liisa Siikonen studied at Helsinki University of Technology and was awarded her doctoral degree in 1997, on the topic "Planning and control models for elevators in high-rise buildings". Professor Raimo P. Hämäläinen from the Systems Analysis Laboratory supervised her dissertation.  Already during her doctoral studies, she published papers in the field of operations research. She joined KONE Corporation in 1984 and since 2008 she has been leading the People Flow Planning unit in the company.

As a leading researcher in her field of elevator simulation, Marja-Liisa Siikonen has developed innovative approaches to the planning of people flows in buildings, based on the application of optimization and simulation techniques. An essential part of this research agenda has been the long-standing and close collaboration between KONE Corporation and the System Analysis Laboratory at Aalto University School of Science.

- I hope to continue the co-operation between KONE and Aalto University as strong as it is at the moment, or even stronger in the future, said Siikonen when she addressed the audience.

Since 2001 there has been a particularly close and fruitful research collaboration between Siikonen's research group at KONE Corporation and Professor Harri Ehtamo's group studying large scale optimization and evacuation research at Systems Analysis Laboratory. During this collaboration Siikonen has instructed several master's theses and acted as a thesis advisor for three PhD students. One of these is doctoral student Juha-Matti Kuusinen who finished his doctoral studies this year. The articles in his dissertation book contain detailed and highly appreciated results on statistical analyses and optimization algorithms to model elevator passenger traffic and people flow in buildings.

Marja-Liisa Siikonen filed her first patent application in 1996. She has a total of 200 patents and she is among the female scientists in Finland having the highest number of patents. Her patents are all related to development of elevator systems at KONE Corporation.

Last Years Alumnus of the Year is the founder of BlueFors Cryogenics, Dr. Rob Blaauwgeers.

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