The Center for Ubiquitous Computing (UBICOMP) is one of the research units in the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (ITEE). Today, UBICOMP comprises of four independent research groups:
- Crowd Computing (CC) group (lead PI Associate Professor Simo Hosio) investigates the next frontier of collective computing, where humans and algorithms collaborate to solve problems that are too challenging for computers alone.
- Design Research (DR) group (lead PI Associate Professor Georgi Georgiev) focuses on understanding, supporting and empowering fundamental human capabilities and behavioral traits in the creative design of interactive artifacts and environments.
- Interactive Edge (iEDGE) group (lead PI Research Director Susanna Pirttikangas) applies distributed artificial intelligence for adaptive, reliable and trusted edge computing, to optimize local computing power for applications supporting humans.
- Perception Engineering (PE) group (lead PI’s Professor Steven LaValle and Professor Timo Ojala) studies the scientific and engineering foundations of creating and experiencing perceptual illusions, to guide the design of future virtual reality (VR) systems.
UBICOMP’s budget in 2022 is estimated at 3.5 MEUR of which about 75% is competitive external and internal funding.
In the international university-level Research Assessment Exercise 2020 (RAE2020) UBICOMP was awarded the highest “Outstanding” score across all assessment criteria. UBICOMP’s public evaluation report can be found on page 167 of the RAE2020 report.
UBICOMP was founded in Jan 2016, when University of Oulu’s organizational structure was changed so that faculties comprised of so-called research units instead of departments. The research units were required to be of a certain minimum size to be sustainable. Hence, three professors from the former department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) joined their research groups – Vassilis Kostakos (COMAG, Community Imaging Group), Timo Ojala (UCC, Urban Computing and Cultures) and Jukka Riekki (iSpaces, Interactive Spaces) – into the Center for Ubiquitous Computing (UBICOMP). Prof. Kostakos volunteered to serve as the first RUL (Research Unit Leader). Since then, UBICOMP has evolved as follows:
- 3/2017: Prof. Kostakos moved to University of Melbourne. Adj. Prof. Denzil Ferreira became the leader of the COMAG group, rebranding it as CIA (Community Imaging and Analysis) group. Deputy RUL Prof. Ojala became the new RUL. Dr. Ferreira became the new deputy RUL.
- 8/2018: Prof. Steven LaValle moved from UIUC to UBICOMP as an invited full Professor on CSE, in particular robotics and virtual reality. Profs. LaValle and Ojala established joint Perception Engineering (PE) group that inherited VR related researchers and projects from Prof. Ojala’s UCC group that was dissolved.
- 9/2018: Adj. Prof. Ferreira was appointed as tenure track Associate Professor in Mobile Computing to match an offer for a tenure track position in Denmark.
- 3/2019: Adj. Prof. Georgi Georgiev was appointed as tenure track Associate Professor in Digital Fabrication through an open international call and established the Design Research (DR) group. The position was established by the PROFI2 profiling action to have a Professor providing teaching and conducting research in the context of the new Fab Lab Oulu founded by the Faculty of ITEE.
- 9/2019: Adj. Prof. Susanna Pirttikangas became the leader of the iSpaces group, as Prof. Riekki focused on leading the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (ITEE) as a full-time Dean. Group’s research focus had shifted to edge computing hence it was rebranded as iEDGE.
- 2/2020: Adj. Prof. Simo Hosio was appointed as tenure track Associate Professor in CSE through an open international call of the PROFI4 profiling action and established the Crowd Computing (CC) group.
- 9/2020: Assoc. Prof. Ferreira accepted a full-time position in industry and was granted a partial 1-year leave from his position in UBICOMP.
- 8/2021: Assoc. Prof. Ferreira moved permanently to industry, but retained a part-time position as a Senior Research Fellow in UBICOMP. His CIA group was dissolved and researchers joined the CC group.