Tallinn University of Technology

Main research areas

The School of IT contributes to three priority areas:

  • smart and energy efficient environments – creation, development and application of new smart cyberphysical systems through innovative ICT-based and energy-efficient engineering solutions;
  • dependable IT solutions – reliable and attack-resilient ICT systems and services, sustainable development of critical ICT infrastructure, energy efficient ICT systems and data processing methods, trust and confidence of users and society in the ICT services and guaranteeing privacy;
  • future governance – people's expectations of public policies and services, the government's new role in the society, development of innovative ICT-based solutions and services (ehealth, e-learning) based on new governance (incl. e-governance) by applying knowledge of and experience in various ICT technologies.

Please find Academic Strategic Plan of the School of Information Technologies, approved by the Council on June 16, 2020, here

Further information:

Maie Bachmann
Vice-Dean of Research

Research, teaching, and development in 2021

  • Five out of TalTech’s 12 successful proposals for Estonian Research Council personal research grants were submitted by researchers from the School of Information Technologies, for the total amount of 1.16 million euros. One of the proposals was the project “CRASHLESS – Cross-Layer Reliability and Self-Health Awareness for Intelligent Autonomous Systems”, led by Tenured Professor Maksim Jenihhin. The proposal was ranked first among the team grant proposals.
  • Graduations reached an all-time high in 2021 with 675 IT students completing their studies. While the university’s activity support from the state budget has increased by just a few percentage points, the number of graduates from the School has grown by almost 40% over the past four years. A total of 926 new students were admitted to undergraduate (498) and master’s programmes (428) at the School. The most popular undergraduate programme (of all programmes across the university) was IT Systems Development with 174 new students enrolled and the most popular master’s programme was Analysis and Design of Information Systems with 75 students enrolled. 14 students, including 4 female students, completed their PhD studies in 2021.
  • The IT Didactics Centre was created in the autumn, and Birgy Lorenz, Senior Researcher at the Department of Software Sciences was appointed Head of the Centre. The Centre disseminates the best practices in modern teaching and provides support to teachers (through seminars, co-vision, mentoring, trips, conferences and mini surveys), and help prepare admission-related workshops.
  • The Centre of the Environmental Sensing technologies, led by Tenured Professor Jeffrey Andrew Tuhtan, was created in 2021, and won the contracts tendered by the German Federal Institute of Hydrology for developing large-scale underwater artificial intelligence allowing for an automatic assessment of fish biodiversity in German rivers. The research group has also successfully marketed hydropower sensors now in use in major European power companies and government institutions, the Belgian Research Institute for Nature and Forest and the UK Environmental Agency.
  • In collaboration with the Strathmore University Business School (SBS) in Kenya, we started to develop an interdisciplinary curriculum focused on digital competences and e-governance. We introduced case studies from Estonia, several training programmes were conducted and two e-courses created targeted at both students and the representatives of the public and private sectors.
  • The project „RESCUE ETN – Interdependent Challenges of Reliability, Security and Quality in Nano-electronic Systems Design“ (principal investigator: Tenured Professor Maksim Jenihhin, 2017–2021, funding: 3.8 million euros) was successfully completed. The aim of the international research project and training network RESCUE was to increase Europe’s leading role and increase competitiveness in the field of nano-electronic systems.
  • We completed several projects under the NUTIKAS programme, with the total funding of 7.8 million euros. The projects include the development of smart city and cross-border e-commerce digital infrastructure, preparing e-courses for Digiriigi Akadeemia, and increasing resistance to phishing attacks in the Smart-ID service. TalTech was represented by researchers from the Centre for Digital Forensics and Cyber Security, who explore cryptography, network security, cyber crime and cyber operations.
  • The Communication Systems Research Group of the Thomas Johann Seebeck Department of Electronics successfully applied for funding for the ambitious project 5G-TIMBER, aimed at implementing digital and green transformation in timber industry and at improving the efficiency of work processes. There are 16 parties to the project including several Estonian industrial companies. The research group of the School of Information Technologies is entrusted with the responsibilities of the project coordinator.

Research, teaching, and development in 2020

  • With the aid of a research support measure under the Study IT in Estonia programme, we launched new research groups in the fields of hardware security and software reliability, led by professors Samuel Pagliarini and Pawel Sobocinski. Professor Pagliarini, in collaboration with researchers from Carnegie Mellon and Stanford in the USA, developed a novel solution for producing secure integrated circuits.  
  •  With funding from Horizon 2020, we launched the 5G-Routes project, which has a consortium of 22 members from a total of ten European countries. Organisations participating in the venture include Ericsson Eesti, Telia Eesti, TalTech, Eesti Raudtee, Latvian mobile network operator LMT, Airbus Defence and Space, and many others. TalTech’s area of responsibility in the project is 5G-based positioning solutions for autonomous vehicles. One of the main challenges in this area is the determination of the position of vehicles with centimetre-level accuracy instead of metre-level. 
  •  The Department of Software Science and the Maritime Academy were awarded a five-year grant under the ERA Chair programme for a collaborative project, which will see the founding of a professorship in maritime cyber security and the launch of a research group dedicated to matters of cyber security in ship, port, and navigation systems. The multidisciplinary research group will build on TalTech’s existing know-how in the field of cyber security and maritime affairs, and will co-operate with maritime companies in Estonia and abroad. 
  • At the ceremony dedicated to the anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, Tallinn University of Technology announced its most outstanding researchers, research articles, and projects from the past year. Margus Viigimaa, professor at the Department of Health Technologies, was elected Researcher of the Year. Juri Belikov, professor of software sciences, was awarded the title Junior Researcher of the Year.
  • The best development work of Tallinn University of Technology in 2020 was the prototype of an innovative sensor created by the university's researchers that monitors lung function and heart rate and also the transfer of oxygen to tissues through the bloodstream. 
  •  We carried out a year-long IT didactics centre project aimed at raising awareness of, introducing, and researching various IT teaching methods and technologies. We laid the foundation for the development of research and competence in the field of digital pedagogy and education informatics. Our university has now set a goal of stepping up didactics-related activities and establishing didactics centres in all of its schools and regional colleges. 
  •  In 2020, we launched new projects under the Estonian Research Council’s support measure NUTIKAS for a total of almost 2.5 million euros. These include the development of digital infrastructure for smart cities and cross-border e-commerce, improving resistance to phishing attacks in the Smart-ID service, timber industry-specific custom production management software, and applied research aimed at enabling electricity consumers to respond more quickly to changes in the market prices of electricity. 
  •  In order to increase the research computing capacity of the university, the High Performance Computing Centre was established under the School of IT for the management and development of the hardware and software resources necessary for high-performance computing for scientific purposes. The centre manages two large computer clusters with a total of more than 200 servers and 200 TB of storage capacity, in addition to providing cloud services to users of virtual machines. 
  •  The Laboratory of Language Technology won first prize at the national Language Deed of the Year awards with a speech recognition system that can be used, for example, for voice dictation of documents, transcription of voice and video recordings, and voice communication with computers and other devices.  This free program is used by radiologists at the North Estonian Regional Hospital, media monitoring companies, as well as for automatic preparation of verbatim reports in the Estonian parliament. 
  •  Ardo Allik, a doctoral student of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), was awarded an Ustus Agur scholarship by ITL (Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications) and HARNO (Estonian Education and Youth Board). The applications he will be developing within the framework of his doctoral thesis will allow to monitor a person’s level of fatigue or state of health by processing various signals and thereby to increase safety and comfort at work. 
  •  The largest number of students to date began studies at the School of IT: 612 bachelor’s and 451 master’s students. The new ‘Hardware Development and Programming’ study programme proved highly popular. The international joint study programme ‘Digital Solutions’ was launched with EIT Digital
  •  In late summer, we conducted two EIT Digital Summer Schools in parallel. Over two weeks, students from various universities around the world – from Europe, the US, Asia, and Africa – sought solutions to health technology problems and learned about the key components of a digital state.  

Research, teaching, and development in 2019

  • Professor Yuri Belikov, who studies complex control systems, received the Young IT Researcher Award from President Kersti Kaljulaid.  In his research, Yuri Belikov has combined mathematics and information technology to create better models for controlling complex processes. The results of his research can be utilised in biology, medicine, energetics, large infrastructures, and a number of other fields.  
  • Kaido Kikkas, a lecturer at the IT College, received the Teacher of the Year Award at the national Teacher of the Year award ceremony. In addition to his regular and extensive teaching efforts that are regarded highly both by his students and colleagues, Kaido has contributed wholeheartedly to creating learning opportunities for people with disabilities at universities. He is extremely skilled at recognising people’s individual differences and adjusting the teaching process accordingly. 
  • In early September, the Tallinn University of Technology and the Tallinn Health Care College signed a partnership agreement aimed at improving knowledge transfer in the field of e-health innovation between the health care sector and IT students. Now, healthcare technology students can test digital solutions at the simulation laboratory of the Health Care College. In addition, work was started on the development of a virtual ambulance training environment in collaboration with the Tallinn Health Care College and the Health and Welfare Information Systems Centre.  
  • Interest in the field of ICT is growing: a record 535 students are entering bachelor’s studies, while the number of new students in the first and second level of studies combined is nearly 1,000. The number of graduates is similarly record-breaking. This spring, we awarded 270 master’s and 272 bachelor’s and applied higher education degrees, which is the highest number yet. Two out of every three Estonian IT whizzes come from the Tallinn University of Technology
  • The school’s commercial revenue totalled 2.6 million euros (cf. EUR 1.45 million in 2018). Major partners include Reach U, Guardtime, Thinnect, Cybernetica, Telia, Swedbank, Aurora Solutions, and Tallink.  
  • The Department of Software Science and OÜ Thinnect developed a technology that can be used to monitor urban air quality and measure traffic flows. Over the course of this spring, the so-called smart city sensor network on Tallinn’s street lighting posts will be fitted with 900 devices equipped with batteries and solar panels for collecting environmental and traffic density data. City and traffic planners will be able to use the data to make better decisions as well as reduce traffic noise and pollution. 
  • Thanks to the smart specialisation project NUTIKAS, a partnership was launched with Aurora Solutions OÜ for the creation of a service platform for VAT and customs declarations that will enable countries to significantly increase their tax revenues. Currently, creating a manual declaration in the EU costs 15–25 euros, while an electronic declaration costs 2.5–5 euros. The service devised by Aurora Solutions brings this down to between 0.05 and 2 euros. Through the Archimedes Foundation, the parties received €1.3 million for applied research from EU Structural Funds. 
  • A research team at the Thomas Johann Seebeck Department of Electronics set out to develop a medical measuring device utilising impedance spectroscopy for monitoring cardiac function in humans. 
  • Two new research groups were set up with the aid of a research support measure under the Study IT in Estonia programme. At the end of the year, a software reliability professorship was established, taken up by Pawel Sobocinski. Meanwhile, Professor Samuel Pagliarini began leading a hardware and systems security and reliability group.  
  • The Laboratory of Language Technology worked on improving Estonian-language speech recognition and developed a publicly available speech recognition service. Although the development efforts are focused on the Estonian language, most of the methods and technologies are language-independent and the developed software is available under an open-source licence. 
  • The Centre for Digital Forensics and Cyber Security celebrated its fifth anniversary. According to Rain Ottis, the head of the centre, the multidisciplinary group of researchers takes a broad approach to the study of cyber security, exploring all areas from cryptography to monitoring systems and from the legal aspects of cyber security to digital forensics. This allows for high-level collaboration with both the public sector as well as private companies, such as Cybernetica, CybExer, GuardTime, and RangeForce. 
  • In November, a free online course titled ‘Elements of AI’ was launched, aimed at providing knowledge and skills regarding artificial intelligence to as many people as possible from various fields, and reaching at least one percent of the Estonian population. The objective of the project was to support the development and growth of our artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science communities. The project was joined by nearly 50 companies and organisations that wanted to educate their employees about artificial intelligence.   
  • We launched the Government Technology and AI Lab (GovAILab), aimed at advising public authorities in the areas of digital technologies, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, and providing solutions to data-related problems in the public sector. The lab acts as a partner for organisation managers, businesspeople, and technical specialists to help them make better choices, develop a technology vision, and test out artificial intelligence solutions. Additionally, it provides a platform for testing various solution concepts through prototype development. Our interests are also scientific: we want to publish our work and introduce what we have created to the world.