• P.O. Box 24 (Unioninkatu 40 B)

    00014 University of Helsinki


1991 …2023

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

My interests have spun off from many years of research in Natural Language Processing (NLP) to Sustainability and Optimization.   They can be characterized by the triangle:

Dialogue - Health - Optimization

I. Dialogue

By engaging in dialogue people can get help and solve real-world problems related to most of the 17 Goals of the UN, including

  • NO POVERTY (#1),
  • ZERO HUNGER (#2),

In NLP, dialogue is approached through 

  1. Representations of understanding, meaning, and semantics, such as graph-based and Transformer-based text encodings
  2. Dialogue language models, such as Chat GPT-3, and planning
  3. Gathering and developing resources for indigenous languages, and their speakers.

To process meaning and dialogue, I have worked on linear-time transducers (e.g., FS Transducers) and linear-space transducers (e.g., Transformer, and Constraint Grammar), and to develop resources, I worked on the parallel Bible alignment (HELFI corpus) and the researcher services of the Language Bank of Finland at CSC.

II. Health

Health is itself one of the UN goals, but also connected to other goals:

  • CLIMATE ACTION (#12), and
  • LIFE BELOW WATER (#15), and ON LAND (#16),

all of which are indirectly researched at UH's Hyytiälä Research Station in Juupajoki.  In 2020-2021, I helped to build the Hyytiälä Living Lab, a forthcoming research facility that includes sensors for Indoor Air Quality, Structure Health Monitoring, and Biometric Responses.  The Lab has been designed to provide Mass Spectrometry of indoor air of the rooms, IoT Sensors, and controllable aspects of the relevant Building Technology.

III. Optimization

Optimization of resources such as energy, personnel, parts, and time are crucial for

  • ZERO HUNGER (#2),
  • CLIMATE ACTION (#12). 

I am currently working on the Academy of Finland's AI-ROT Project (at Tampere University) to develop optimization techniques for scheduling and planning.  My technology palette involves Non-Monotonic Reasoning, Dynamic Programming, and other AI techniques.

In the future, I am looking for ways to combine dialogue, health and optimization, and to extend my experience to further industrial applications.

IV. Low Priority Interests

Lastly, everyone needs a less useful, purely intellectual interest. To me, it is mathematical logic:  Before I started as a non-NLP-related postdoc in  Nonmonotonic Logic in 2022, I started endeavouring a secondary Ph.D. in Mathematics, in particular on the mathematical foundations of Dependency Linguistics.  This book would extend my previous work on Finite-State Transducer Technology, and on the linear encoding of bounded-rope-thickness (BRT) labeled graphs to an efficient implementation of Monadic Second-Order (MSO) Logic over the BRT dependency trees and BRT graph-based meaning representations used in NLP today.   Such logic can also be extended to capture BRT properties and transductions of autosegmental representations of tonal morphology of some Bantu languages spoken in Africa. 

However, due to the lack of funding and an industrial partner, I have been forced to postpone this endeavor to the indefinite future.  If you think this topic would deserve more attention, please let me know.

Description of research and teaching

My full-time research in Language Technology is on hold, but I continue following the advances in NLP and supervising PhDs according to my Docent Contract with the Faculty.

Previously, I have taught in different faculties, international contexts, and at my alma mater. Examples:

In 2012-2013, I served as the Head of Subject (Language Technology), teaching several other courses such as:

I am a Qualified Teacher.

Education information

  • Doctoral Student in Computing and Electrical Engineering, Tampere University, 2021-
  • Teacher's Qualification (University Pedagogics), University of Helsinki, 2006-2014
  • Title of Docent, Language Technology, University of Helsinki, Finland, 2006
  • PhD in Language Technology, University of Helsinki, Finland, 13/9/2005
  • Secondary Laudatur in Computer Science, University of Helsinki, Finland, 2005
  • MA in Computational Linguistics, University of Helsinki, Finland, 1997

Curriculum vitae

Current Positions

Previous Positions

  • Postdoctoral Researcher, (AI-ROT Project), Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences, Tampere University, 2022-
  • Research Coordinator (Hyytiälä Living Lab), Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki, 2020-2021
  • Academy Research Fellow 2013 - 2019
  • Deputy Professor of Language Technology, University of Helsinki, 8/2012 – 7/2013
  • University Researcher, University of Helsinki, 2008 – 2012
  • Application Specialist, CSC - IT Centre for Science, Finland, 1998 – 2008
  • PhD Student in Language Technology (on leave from CSC), U. Helsinki, Finland, 2002 – 2004
  • Research Adjunct in Computational Linguistics, University of Helsinki, Finland, 1997 – 1998
  • System Analyst, Bible Encyclopedia Publ. (Raamatun Tietokirja/AikaMedia), Finland, 1992 – 1997


  • Visiting Scholar (total 2 months) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, 2018-2020
  • Visiting Scholar (2 months) at the Inf. Sciences Institute, U. Southern California, USA, 2017
  • Academy Research Fellow, Academy of Finland, Finland, 2013 – 2018
  • Visiting Professor (1 week) at teh Inf.Sc.Dept., U. Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2013
  • Visiting Fellow (1 year), Clare Hall college, University of Cambridge, UK , 2013 – 2014
  • Acad.Visitor (1 year) at the Machine Intelligence Lab., Dept.Eng., Univ. Cambridge2013 – 2014
  • Visiting Professor (2 weeks) at the Inst. Kiswahili Studies, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 2012
  • Postdoc Research Fellow, Academy of Finland, Finland, 2009 – 2011
  • Visiting Fellow (2 weeks) at the School of Mathematics, Georgia Technical U., USA, 2008
  • Postdoc Fellow (2 months) at the Budapest U. Technology and Economics, Hungary, 2007
  • PhD Scholarship, Nordic Academy of Advanced Study, Norway, 2002 – 2004

Participation of Supervision of Graduate Students and Postdoc Fellows

  • Razie Ehsani (Visiting PostGrad/PostDoc, IşıkU), Finite-State Translation of Azerbaijani (advisor), 2018 
  • Uliana Petrunina (Visiting PostGrad, UTromsø), Weighted Disamb. of Russian Participles (co-advisor), 2/2018 – now
  • Jack Rueter (Post Doc, UH), UniversalDependency Syntax for Erzya (PI), 2017
  • Aarne Talma (PostGrad, UH), Deep Learning and Natural Language Inference (co-advisor), 2018 – now
  • Josi Purhonen (Master Student, UH), Synchronization of Morph. Analysed Editions of the Hebrew and Greek Bible, 2018–now
  • Miikka Silfverberg (PostGrad) (co-advisor) 2008–2016
  • 4 Masters students, UH, 2008–2016
  • Helsinki Language Technology Group (co-advisor), 2017–
  • Helsinki FST Technology Group, UH (co-advisor), 2008 –2013

Teaching Activities

  • Qualification, University Pedagogics (60 cr), University of Helsinki, Finland, 2015
  • ”Qualified for the associate professorship”, DTU Compute, Danmark, 2014
  • International Teaching at U. Cambridge (UK) and T.U. Darmstadt (Germany), 2013 – 2014
  • Pre-Conference Tutorial presenter, ACL 2014, Bulgaria, 2013
  • Deputy Professor in Lang.Technology, Dept.Modern Languages, U.Helsinki, Finland, 2012 – 2013
  • Local courses in Language Technology, U.Helsinki, Finland, 1994 – 14 different

Organisation of International Scientific Meetings

  • PC Co-chair of TWOLDAY 2005, FSMNLP 2008, FSMNLP 2009
  • OC Chair of FSMNLP 2005

Institutional Responsibilities

  • Debuty Head of Language Technology (2012–2013), U.Helsinki, Finland
  • Board member of the Department of General Linguistics (1998 – 1999), U.Helsinki, Finland

Commissions of Trust

  • Board Member of the Finnish Artificial Intelligence Society
  • Treasurer (2020-), SIGFSM, Assoc. for Comp. Linguistics, USA
  • Advisory Board member (2012–), SIGFSM, Assoc. for Comp. Linguistics, USA
  • Co-applicant (nominated), Proposal for a Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop, Germany
  • Co-founder (1997), Calfat Oy, Finland
  • Consultant member (2008–), Wycliffe Bible Translators, Finland
  • Coordinator of the Language Bank of Finland (2005 – 2007), CSC - IT Centre for Science, Finland
  • Evaluator for a Lecturer Position, UK
  • Founder and President of SIGFSM (2009–2012), Assoc. for Comp. Linguistics, USA
  • Guest Editor (for journals) Cambridge U.Press, Springer, CSLI Publications, IOS Press
  • Program Committee member with reviewing duties, premium venues in Comp.Sc. and Comp.Linguistics (selected): ACL 2012–2017, FSMNLP 2005–2017, SCiL 2018, IJCNLP 2013–2017, Swedish LT Confer- ence 2017, Math. of Language 2017/2015/2013; IWCLUL 2015; Human Lang. Technology 2012; Empirical Methods in NLP 2014, FormalGrammar 2007/2006; Recent Advances in NLP 2011, NoDaLiDa 2007.
  • Referee (proposals): Nat.Res.Found. (S.Africa), E.Aaltonen F., Wihuri F., Kone F., O. Öflund F. (Finland), Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (Sweden), Lang.Bank of Finland; Finnish Nat. Electronic Library (Finland)
  • Referee (for journals): Natural Language Engineering (Cambridge), J. Logic and Computation (Oxford), Oxford Handbook of Comp.Linguistics (Oxford), J.Lang.Modeling (OASPA), Int.J.Foundations Comp.Sci. (World Scientific), SKY Journal (The Ling.Assoc.of Finland), Nordic J. African Languages (U. Helsinki), CSLI Studies in Comp.Linguistics ONLINE (CSLI Publications), Lang. Res. and Evaluation (Springer)
  • Standardisation Committee member (IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2 2006 – 2007), ISO
  • Supervisor Pool member (2008–) of the LANGNET Graduate School, Finland

Membership in Scientific Societies, Networks and Associations

  • PI Board Member of BAULT - a multidisciplinary research community at the University of Helsinki (2010–) •
  • PI Member of the HLG Community, the Helsinki Logic Group (2010–)
  • Member of the Association of Computational Linguistics (ACL)
  • Northern European Association for Language Technology (NEALT)
  • Member of ACL Special Interest Group on Finite-State Methods (SIGFSM)


Education/Academic qualification

Pedagogics, Qualified teacher, Intermediate studies in university pedagogics, Helsingin ylipisto


Award Date: 24 Jun 2015

Language technology, Ph.D., Contributions to the Theory of Finite-State Based Linguistic Grammars, University of Helsinki

199813 Sept 2005

Award Date: 13 Sept 2005

Fields of Science

  • 6121 Languages
  • computational linguistics
  • parsing
  • morphology
  • syntax
  • Statistical machine translation
  • research infrastructures
  • dependency syntax
  • tonology
  • translation alignment
  • manual bitext alignment
  • 113 Computer and information sciences
  • finite automata
  • parsing technology
  • algorithms
  • coding theory
  • enumerative graph theory
  • finite models
  • grammar inference
  • 111 Mathematics
  • mathematical logic
  • descriptive complexity
  • aperiodic languages

International and National Collaboration

Publications and projects within past five years.