2009 Cor Baayen Award to Teemu Roos

In a tight competition, the ERCIM Executive Committee has chosen Teemu Roos from the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT as the winner of the 2009 Cor Baayen Award for a promising young researcher in computer science and applied mathematics.

Teemu RoosTeemu Roos received his PhD degree from the University of Helsinki, Finland, in September 2007. The title of his thesis is "Statistical and Information-Theoretic Methods for Data Analysis". During and after his postgraduate studies, Teemu Roos, has performed groundbreaking research by combining advanced theoretical reasoning with innovative technical solutions in the fields of information theory, data analysis and machine learning. He has attacked and solved practical problems of utmost importance in an unusually wide range of applications. His two equivalence results that establish formal connections between Bayesian network classifiers and logistic regression, and between regularized Haar wavelets and so called variable length Markov chains, can be considered theoretical as well as practical breakthroughs.

Teemu also stated and proved a theorem about the possibility of inductive generalizations to as yet unseen cases under a certain mild stationarity assumption, a result that was formerly claimed, and generally believed, to be impossible in its present form. For this work, he received the best paper award at the Belgian-Dutch Conference on AI in 2005. His highly cited work in mobile device positioning - he has several papers in the field with total citation count exceeding 450 -has been patented and successfully commercialized in the award-winning spin-off company Ekahau Inc. (Frost & Sullivan Technology Leadership Award, European Union Information Society Technology Prize, Software Industry Summit Best Commercialized Innovation in Finland, etc.). As an another example, in collaboration with historians, Roos has gained significant advances in the study of the “evolution” of ancient manuscripts by unprejudiced application of state-of-the-art information-theoretic methods to stemmatology, a long-standing problem in textual criticism.

Teemu Roos has already at this phase of his career demonstrated capability for independent, multifaceted, creative, and highly original work, producing both theoretical and practical solutions of undisputable societal and commercial value. The positioning techniques, some of which he introduced already in his MSc thesis, are being used every day in more than 150 hospitals around the world, and numerous other locations in government, military, and industry. Teemu’s interdisciplinary work on stemmatology, introducing exact mathematical and computational tools in an area where they have been largely unused, has lead to a prolific collaboration rousing both domestic and international interest. This work has already contributed to historical research as reported in at least three books and academic dissertations.

He has also been active in making his scientific work known to the public: he has appeared in the press and television in connection with the stemmatological work. As a young researcher, Temu Roos is already a regular invited speaker and organizer in various scientific workshops. He works fluently with the leading figures in his field, including Prof. Peter Grünwald (Amsterdam), Prof. Bin Yu (UC Berkeley), and the information-theoretist, Prof. Emeritus Jorma Rissanen (IBM Research), the originator of the minimum description length (MDL) principle and the recipient of the 2009 IEEE Claude E. Shannon Award, with whom Temu Roos has co-authored several publications.

Teemu Roos was awarded the Junior Researcher Prize of the Department of Computer Science, University of Helsinki in 2006, and his dissertation was shortlisted for the 2008 North-American Classification Society Distinguished Dissertation Award.

2009 Finalists
From the 36 candidates nominated for the 2009 Cor Baayen award, the ERCIM Executive Committee has accepted 20 finalists (in alphabetical order):

Ira Assent, Denmark

Balazs Csaji, Hungary

Jan Bender, Germany

Sameh Elnikety, Switzerland

Beat Fluri, Switzerland

Ali Ghods, Sweden

Jakob Gorm Hansen, Denmark

Charles B Haley, United Kingdom

Gwenaël Joret, Belgium

Kristian Kersting, Germany

Freddy Lecue, France

Anders Lindgren, Sweden

Costas Panagiotakis, Greece

Rodrigo Roman, Spain

Teemu Roos, Finland

William Smith, United Kingdom

Oscar Deniz Suarez, Spain

Manuel Wimmer, Austria

Tom Van Cutsem, Belgium

Akrivi Vlachou, Greece.

The winner, Teemu Roos, was selected by the ERCIM Executive Committee on advice from the ERCIM Advisory Committee.

About the Cor Baayen Award
The Cor Baayen Award is awarded each year to a promising young researcher in computer science and applied mathematics. The award was created in 1995 to honour Cor Baayen, the first president of ERCIM and the ERCIM 'president d'honneur'. The award consists of a cheque for 5000 Euro together with an award certificate.

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