Ukkonen, Esko: CoE in Algorithmic Data Analysis Research

The CoE worked to develop new concepts, principles and algorithms for computational data analysis as well as practical applications. It engaged both in basic research in computer science and in broad-based multidisciplinary cooperation.

Data analysis is gaining ever greater significance in science and industry: methods of measurement are constantly improving, the costs of measurement are decreasing and it is easier to store the data collected. In biology and environmental research, for instance, it is now possible to take measurements of phenomena that earlier were not even detectable.

The big challenge that lies ahead for data analysis is to develop new data processing methods that can help extract the greatest possible benefit out of scientific and industrial data.

The CoE provided a globally unique combination of basic research in computer science and applications cooperation.

Research aims

In the field of methods development, a key area of the CoE's expertise was the theory and methods of combinatorial pattern matching and data mining. Methods development was based on close collaboration with end-users: the scientists began by charting the problems of data analysis in the areas of application concerned and then proceeded to develop the necessary methods. The results were put to immediate use.

Major areas of research collaboration included molecular biology and medicine, environmental research, linguistics and telecommunications. Prospective applications of the methods developed include genetic mapping, the investigation of mechanisms of genetic regulation, studies of the distribution of different species, the study of dialects and nomenclatures, the study of climate change as well as information retrieval and telecommunications networks.

The CoE’s research results have inspired vigorous methods development and numerous applications in different parts of the world. The methods developed can be put to use very quickly: the distance from basic research to practical application is very short.


The CoE was headed by Professor Esko Ukkonen from the University of Helsinki Department of Computer Science. Professor Ukkonen is a world leading expert in combinatorial pattern matching.

The CoE was based at the University of Helsinki and Helsinki University of Technology and had a staff of around 70.

Last modified 22 Oct 2015
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