Personal profile

Artistic and research interests


Pekka Orponen is Professor of Computer Science at the Aalto University School of Science. He received his MSc and PhD degrees in Computer Science at the University of Helsinki in 1983 and 1986, respectively. After a postdoctoral period at the University of Toronto, he held assistant and associate professorships at the University of Helsinki, before moving first to the University of Jyväskylä (1996-2001) and then to the Helsinki University of Technology, now Aalto University (2001-present). He served as the founding Head of the Aalto Department of Information and Computer Science for 2008-2014, and then as Vice-Head for Research of the newly-established Aalto Department of Computer Science for 2015-2016.

His general research area is algorithms and complexity, with specific contributions spanning computational complexity theory, foundations of neural network and analog computation, stochastic algorithms and distributed sensor networks, and the computational theory and algorithmic design of nucleic acid nanostructures. His Nature 2015 article on the algorithmic design of 3D wireframe DNA nanostructures (with co-authors in Aalto and at the Karolinska Institutet) is currently listed as an ISI highly-cited paper, i.e. within the top 1% from its publication year in the areas of biology and biochemistry.

In addition to his academic activities, Pekka Orponen served in 2003-2021 on the Association and Supervisory Boards of the Finnish Cultural Foundation, which is one of the largest private foundations for arts and science in Europe. Since 2018 he has been a member of the Board of Informatics Europe, the association of European Computer Science departments. He is also a member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, and served in 2015-2022 as the founding Chair of the Academies' joint National Committee for Research Data, representing Finland in CODATA, the Data Committee of the International Science Council. He was awarded Knight First Class of the Order of the White Rose of Finland in 2021.

 Research interests:

  • Algorithmics of self-organisation
  • DNA nanotechnology
  • Stochastic algorithms
  • Computational complexity theory

Research group page:

Personal web page:

Education/Academic qualification

Doctoral degree, Natural Sciences, University of Helsinki

Award Date: 30 May 1986

Licentiate degree, Natural Sciences, University of Helsinki

Award Date: 30 Jan 1986

Master's degree, Natural Sciences, University of Helsinki

Award Date: 7 Apr 1983


  • Algorithms
  • Complexity
  • DNA nanotechnology


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