Real-Life Science for a Change

After several years of studying quantum phenomena in ultracold atomic gases, it was time to look for challenges in a more application-oriented environment. The leap from Aalto University to the commercially driven Eigenor Corporation might not have been that quantum after all. I still find myself carrying out cutting-edge research with sharp-minded companions, only this time the results will be applicable well before retirement.

Development team daily business

Currently I am developing software that improves the quality of weather measurements. The task is, for example, to estimate the speed and volume of precipitation from a given data set as accurately as possible. We are dealing with something very tangible here, with stuff that falls off the sky every now and then. What irritated me slightly with my previous topic was that if someone came out of the blue and made the mistake of asking "What do you do for work?", my answer was along the lines "Bose-Einstein condensates. Let me explain briefly..." No, I'm not falling for that one again. But now I can do small talk about weather with a scientific twist. Oh boy!

In computational science, you always want to speed up the number crunching process. While working in Japan, I realized to my amusement that one practical time limit for a task to finish was about 8 hours: If you ran the code before you went to bed, you could view the results when you got up. Convenient, eh? At the moment we are working on a real-time implementation of a weather radar algorithm. The radar sends out about 500 pulses per second, and the echo of each pulse from within a 300 km range is stored for processing. The data from a single echo must be analyzed before the next train arrives, otherwise you will be lagging behind. And in this case sleeping in will not help.

After working for four months at Eigenor Corporation, it might be too early to make a very thorough comparison between my old and new jobs. Avoiding the risk of sounding like the husband who just got back from his honeymoon talking about the ups and downs of married life, I'll make general conclusion: As long as we are dealing with science, the similarities overwhelm the differences, even independent of the mechanics applied. Foundations of the scientific method are sound and buried deep, and that is definitely one of the reasons for its greatness.

Jukka Huhtamäki
Software Developer 
Eigenor Corp.