Jukka Suomela · August 30, 2021
I have been nominated for the EATCS Council elections. I am honored by the nomination, and I would be happy to do my share to help the association.
I already served in the council in 2015–2019, and back then one of my main interests was promoting a transition towards open access. I am very happy to see that our research community has taken major steps in this direction: for example, ICALP switched to the LIPIcs open access series in 2016, ESA in 2016, MFCS in 2016, and DISC in 2017; most of the major EATCS-sponsored conferences are now happily publishing their proceedings fully open access. Of course my own role in this transition was tiny – this has been a huge community effort – but I am nevertheless proud that I was able to do my share in the legwork of making this reality for the DISC conference.
Now we are facing entirely new kinds of challenges: recovery from the pandemic and the environmental sustainability of our activities. Already before the pandemic there was lots of active discussion related to the climate impact of scientific research, both in TCS and more generally, and one of the most pressing issues was the desire to reduce the number of long flights in conference traveling. Introduction of online conferences was suggested, and quickly dismissed – how could it possibly work? Now as a byproduct of the covid pandemic we have learned how to run online conferences that can serve at least some of the traditional purposes of physical conferences, but at the same time the whole research community is desperately waiting for any opportunity of meeting our colleagues face to face.
This is a truly challenging situation, but also a unique opportunity for our entire community. The whole issue of online vs. physical conferences is also entangled with questions of equal opportunities: while for some of our colleagues online conference may have provided a rare chance of taking part in a meeting they would have otherwise missed, others struggle with combining the long video conference meetings at inconvenient hours with taking care of their families. There is no silver bullet, but I will at least try to do my best to listen to the concerns voiced by the TCS community.
I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Aalto University, Finland. My work focuses on the theoretical foundations of distributed and parallel computing, with particular emphasis on the concept of locality. I was the PC chair of DISC 2019 and SIROCCO 2016 and one of the local chairs of ALGO 2018, and I am currently the vice chair of the DISC steering committee. I received the FOCS 2019 best paper award and DISC 2012 and 2017 best paper awards, as well as a number of teaching awards.
Home page: jukkasuomela.fi