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Professor Erkki Oja Wins Nokia Foundation Recognition Award

Nokia Foundation has granted its 2017 Recognition Award to professor emeritus Erkki Oja for his contributions to the development of machine learning, pattern recognition and neurocomputing, which are key technologies in artificial intelligence and robotics. Erkki Oja was honored with the award tonight at the annual Nokia Foundation award ceremony in Helsinki, Finland.

Professor emeritus of Finland’s Aalto University and a holder of honorary doctorates from three universities, Erkki Oja is one of the most widely cited researchers in the world of machine learning based techniques, with more than 300 scientific articles leading to over 46 000 citations in the field. In his research, Oja has focused especially on unsupervised machine learning that allows computer algorithms to automatically analyze very large masses of data. In addition to his research work, he has made a significant impact on teaching young researchers, over 50 of whom currently hold a doctoral degree, active in both industry and academia. Oja has also promoted Finnish science and ICT in his several positions of trust, including the chairmanship of the Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering, which under Oja’s leadership has launched several notable national and international research programs.

“After doing research on machine learning and neural networks for a long time, it is very rewarding to see how these technologies are now being implemented in a growing number of commercial and other applications. Artificial intelligence is clearly becoming practical. I am happy that we started these activities very early and were able to train a large number of experts to fill the great demand,” said Erkki Oja.

“Machine-learning and artificial intelligence are among the most significant technological developments in recent history. The foundational and long-term research path Erkki Oja has pursued, along with his focal role in the development of the research community around the technologies, has resulted in having 100-year-old Finland in a distinctly good position to fully embrace this data-intense era. Erkki Oja’s work has been noted widely internationally, too, and we are proud to recognize this year his outstanding contributions in the field,” said Timo Ali-Vehmas, Chairman of the Board of Nokia Foundation.

Nokia Foundation has granted over 1 600 scholarships during its 22-year existence. In 2017, the Foundation will grant scholarships and awards totaling around 420 000 euros.

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