Petteri Kaski and Jaakko Lehtinen proceeded in the path to professorship
The new professors Petteri Kaski and Jaakko Lehtinen believe in ambitious research and inspirational teaching. Both consider teaching undergraduate students as an important part of their work and want to offer enough challenges and incentives to encourage every student to develop themselves as far as possible. In practice, such scalable teaching means that, should they wish, students may take on as many extra assignments as they like to, and they are also rewarded for these extra tasks, partly through industry sponsorship. Students have enthusiastically embraced this practice.
As an example of basic research in algorithms and computation, Kaski mentions a recent collaboration with Andreas Björklund of Lund University, which was presented in July at the ACM Symposium on Principles of Distributed Computing held in Chicago.
‘Building on recent results of Professor Ryan Williams of Stanford University, we present a new framework for fault-tolerant distributed algorithms for hard computational problems where the distributed state of the computation is encoded with the same mathematical principles that are being used, for example, to ensure that even a heavily scratched Blu-ray disk still gives error-free playback. What is surprising about the framework is that the distribution and fault-tolerance can be achieved with relatively little extra resources compared with the best known algorithms without fault-tolerance and distribution', Kaski describes.
Lehtinen's group studies both image synthesis, numerical methods with computational means for producing realistic images, and the reverse vision problem, which entails using images as a basis for determining properties of the world using computation. The topic, which combines mathematics, physics and algorithms, is clearly basic research, but at the same time close to its applications in visualisation, computer games and film production.
'Recently, together with researchers at MIT and University of Bern, my research group has developed a novel synthesis algorithm, which is currently being tested at the world's most technologically advanced visual effects studio, Weta Digital', Lehtinen explains.
Kaski and Lehtinen began their work as assistant professors in Aalto University's tenure track in 2012 and were appointed as professors in May 2016.