European Researchers' Night 2023 / Vísindavaka 2023

Helmut Neukirchen, 26. September 2023

On Saturday, 30. September 2023, 13:00-18:00, there will be Vísindavaka 2023, the Icelandic family-friendly-during-daytime edition of European Researchers' Night 2023 at Laugardalshöll.

Just as last year, the Computer Science department of University of Iceland will have a booth there, showcasing some of their research:

  • Cybersecurity: Eyvör/NCC-IS, the National Coordination Centre Iceland for Cybersecurity will start 1st of October with full force using co-funding from the European commission. The Computer Science department of University of Iceland is part of it and we will show four pieces to raise awareness:
    • Has my user info (in the worst case: my password) been leaked? Look up who else owns your login data:
      Note: if your data shows up there to have been leaked, then this is not your fault, but the fault of the website that was storing your data in an insecure manner and you should change your password at that website (also check whether the password has been leaked or only, e.g., your email adress). However, it is your fault if you use the same password for multiple websites: should your password leak from one website, criminals will try that password on other websites and will have success if you use the same password there. Use different passwords for different services. Even better: use multifactor authentication, i.e. not just a password that can be easily leaked, but in addition something that can be less easily stolen, such as your phone: an authenticator app running on it, an SMS sent to your phone number, or the Icelandic digital ID on your SIM card.
    • An online quiz on how good you are at identifying phishing emails, i.e. emails trying to trick you into providing information, e.g. passwords: (Note: solutions not provided online -- you need to visit us to get hints where you were wrong and where you were right!)
    • A flyer for kids: Hvernig á að vera öruggur á netinu
  • CoE RAISE (Centre of Excellence for Research on AI- and Simulation-Based Engineering at Exascale) gives a glimpse into artificial intelligence by using a neural network that runs purely in your browser without any connection to a super computer. Simply use the camera of your smartphone (or laptop) to detect objects in real-time -- just open the following web page and allow your browser to use the camera:

    (Allow some seconds, up to a minute, for loading the trained model and initialisation.)
  • Interaction design with sketches on a huge touch screen:
  • A 3D scanner that scans the shape of your ear: used in CoE RAISE in order to find with AI out how the shape of your ear influences how you hear from different directions.
  • A remote sensing demonstration that relates also to work done in CoE RAISE where neural networks are used to classify land cover from satellite images: Compete against a neural network to classify land cover!
  • Quantum computing: a new piece to show, therefore no photos yet -- you really need to come and see!

See you at Laugardalshöll!

Salary as PhD student / laun doktorsnema

Helmut Neukirchen, 22. September 2023

As the typical advertisement for a PhD student position has some statement like salary according to wages contract, an applicant does not know what this means in practise for the salary to expect.

Currently, the union responsible for PhD students at University of Iceland is Félag háskólakennara / Association of University Teachers. They made a contract with University of Iceland. For the latest version, check for Stofnanasamningur Fh og HÍ. In the version from 5. March 2021, you find in Section 4.3 that PhD students (doktorsnemar) get salary level 030. The first two digits are the y axis in the salary table and the last digit is the x axis. There are two salary tables, one for academic and another one for administrative staff. Confusingly, for PhD students the latter applies, so you need to look at Launatafla stjórnsýslu. The most recent is from 1. April 2023. Take care to have in that spreadsheet the tab "Mánaðarlaun" opened to get the monthly salary. There, you will find that salary level 030 gives you 462 586 kr. per month (as of 1. April 2023.). This is before taxes, so feeding this into a tax calculator gives 361 867 kr. after taxes (as of the tax system valid at time of writing, i.e. 2023).

First M.Sc. thesis in cybersecurity defended at University of Iceland

Helmut Neukirchen, 22. September 2023

To the best of my knowledge, we had just the first M.Sc. thesis in cybersecurity defended at the Computer Science department of the University of Iceland. (There were earlier cybersecurity-related theses, e.g., at the school of Social Sciences.)

The topic was: The state of cybersecurity vulnerability reporting in Iceland.

Read the thesis PDF or watch the defense on YouTube:

Information meeting on the new joint cybersecurity master's programme.

Helmut Neukirchen, 25. August 2023

Friday, 25.8.2023, 15:00, room Ada, in Gróska, 3rd floor is an information meeting on the new joint cybersecurity master's programme.

You can find more info here:

Kia EV6 engineering mode

Helmut Neukirchen, 31. May 2023

The HYUNDAI/KIA/GENESIS models have a "hidden" engineering mode that can be used to, e.g., find out manufacturing date or software versions (you can also reset settings -- which you probably want to avoid).

Entering engineering mode seems to differ from region to region and also from head unit firmware version, here are the instructions for European models up to (Dec 2022) 221223 versions:

  1. Switch from air condition panel to navigation and radio panel
  2. Switch radio on (probably to FM)
  3. Turn the volume dial to 7
  4. Press the other dial (marked "FILE")
  5. Turn the volume dial to 3
  6. Press the other dial (marked "FILE")
  7. Turn the volume dial to 1
  8. Press the other dial (marked "FILE")
  9. Now, some number buttons are displayed to enter a secret number code
  10. The number code varies from head unit (AKA center display) version to version. For the Nov 2022 (221129) and Dec 2022 (221223) versions, the number code is: 1950 0624

This info can be found, e.g., on YouTube:

For European models up to Dec 2022 (221223) versions:

I have yet to try how it works for the Jun 2023 (230601) version that does not seem to use the volume dial method anymore, but some very specific touch locations (and then, then number code 19450815)

For example, using the versions displayed in Engineering Mode, you can see that service action SA533 "VCU Software Upgrade for i-Pedal Operation" did update the VCU version from, e.g., 5.10 to 5.12, but none of the other ECUs firmwares get updated.

If you just want to check ECU firmware versions, it seems that this can also bee done via the OBD port and the Car Scanner app feature for an ECU dump (ECU information from the main screen) that is supposed to contain version numbers as well. I yet have to check my ICCU firmware version (my ICCU was already damaged and therefore replaced; so the fact that I did find my car's VIN is on Kia's list of ICCUs needing a software update might be based in Kia thinking that I still have the original ICCU, so I rather should check the ICCU firmware version itself).

Open position as professor in cybersecurity

Helmut Neukirchen, 21. April 2023

Reykjavik University and University of Iceland have each an open position for a professor in cybersecurity.

The advertisement of the position at University of Iceland can be found at Euraxess, at University of Iceland, and here below:

Assistant Professor in Cyber Security

The department of Computer Science in the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences at the University of Iceland seeks applicants to fill an assistant professor position in computer science with a specialisation in cybersecurity within the Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science.

Further information

Field of work

The candidate will carry out research in the area of cybersecurity. In addition to research, the successful applicant is expected to teach courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, to supervise M.Sc. and Ph.D. students, to attract third-party funding and to participate actively in departmental activities. The University of Iceland is developing a new research and M.Sc. program in cybersecurity receiving national funding. Moreover, the Department of Computer Science is involved in research and education activities in the context of the government-led Icelandic National Coordination Centre for Cybersecurity. The candidate is expected to participate in these activities.

Qualification requirements

  • The position requires a Ph.D. degree in computer science or a closely related field.
  • Record of research according to the applicant's academic age as well as future potential in the field of cybersecurity.
  • Academic teaching experience.
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English.

The selection process will take into consideration how well how well the applicant fits the needs and goals of the Department.

Application process

The tentative starting date is September 1st 2023 or according to a further agreement.

When evaluating applications, special attention will be paid to success in research, taking into account how long the person has been working on research. The hiring process will focus on identifying candidates who are best suited to the circumstances and needs of the Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science.

Applicants are required to submit the following documents with their application:

  1. Cover letter stating how the applicant meets the qualification requirements
  2. Certificates of education
  3. Curriculum Vitae
  4. List of publications
  5. Report on scholarly work and other work they carried out
  6. Outline of proposed research and teaching plan
  7. Contact Information for three referees willing to provide a reference

The applicant must list up to eight of their most important publications, in relation to this position. The applicant must include a copy of these publications along with the application or indicate where they can be accessed electronically. When multiple authors are listed on a publication, the applicant must include an account of their contribution to the publication. Applications and accompanying documents, which are not submitted in electronic form, must be sent in duplicate to the Division of Science and Innovation, University of Iceland, Main Building, Saemundargata 2, 102 Reykjavik, Iceland.

The successful candidate will be hired for five years with the possibility of a permanent contract at the end of this period, cf. paragraph 3, Article 31 of the Regulation for the University of Iceland no. 569/2009.

Processing of applications, evaluation of applicants' competence and hiring shall be in accordance with the Act on Public Higher Education Institutions no. 85/2008 and the Regulation for the University of Iceland no. 569/2009. The rector may promote an assistant professor to the position of an associate professor or full professor.

All applications will be answered, and applicants will be informed about the appointment when a decision has been made. Applications are stored for six months after the application deadline.

Appointments to positions at the University of Iceland are made in consideration of the Equal Rights Policy of the University of Iceland.

The University of Iceland has a special Language Policy.


Application deadline

Application deadline is 12.05.2023

For further information contact

Helmut Neukirchen

Ingibjörg Óðinsdóttir

Applications are submitted via the Icelandic State Recruitment web portal where you can switch to English language and register a user account:

Apply now

EDIH-IS European Digital Innovation Hub Iceland opened

Helmut Neukirchen, 21. April 2023

The European Digital Innovation Hub Iceland (EDIH-IS) or in Icelandic: Miðstöð stafrænnar nýsköpunar has been formally opened. As name suggests, it serves as a hub to drive digital innovation, e.g. artificial intelligence, high-performance computing or cybersecurity, and connects industry and academia. University of Iceland is part of EDIH-IS and in particular the computer science department contributes in exactly these fields, i.e. artificial intelligence, high-performance computing or cybersecurity.

In fact, EDIH-IS has been operational already before that formal opening event and Auðna Tæknitorg, the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) Iceland is taking care of the day-to-day operations of EDIH-IS. For example, Auðna Tæknitorg/EDIH-IS is a partner in the Icelandic National Coordination Centre (NCC-IS) for Cybersecurity together with University of Iceland and other relevant partners.

Siðfræðistofnun HÍ -- The Centre for Ethics that is above the rules

Helmut Neukirchen, 25. January 2023

At University of Iceland, all are equal, but some are more equal. So much more equal that they think rules do not apply for them. Last week, Siðfræðistofnun HÍ, the Centre for Ethics at the University of Iceland, was using for some event the teaching room GR-321 Ada (named after Ada Lovelace) at the Computer Science department in the Gróska building. The rules for using teaching rooms are common-sense and pretty simple (English translations added by me):

  • 1. gr. Almennt

    Skylt er að ganga vel um húsakynni Háskóla Íslands, umhverfi hans, tæki og búnað á hverjum stað. Enginn má skilja eftir sig rusl, hvorki innan dyra né utan. Notum ruslafötur!

    Deal well with the premises and equipment. No one may leave trash behind. We use trash cans!

  • 2. gr. Tillitssemi

    Hverjum og einum ber að sýna tillitssemi og valda ekki öðrum truflun eða óþægindum.

    Everyone is responsible to show consideration and does not disturb others or cause inconvenience.

  • 5. gr. Neysla matar

    Neysla matar er óheimil í kennslustofum og tölvuverum.

    Consuming food is forbidden in teaching rooms and computer rooms.

  • 8. gr. Brot á húsreglum

    Brot á húsreglum, tjón og hvers konar spjöll geta leitt til bótaskyldu og/eða brottvísunar.

    Breaking rules, damage or any kind of harm can lead to liability and/or expulsion.

How the Centre of Ethics left the teaching room behind: tables re-arranged, nothing cleaned up

Coffee stains left behind by the Centre of Ethics become visible after I started to clean up

I was the first one to teach in Ada on Monday morning and was quite surprised that I cannot use the room for teaching as intended. To put the room into a state usable for teaching, it would have been necessary to:

  1. put the tables and chairs again in the position needed for teaching -- the Centre for Ethics re-arranged the tables without reverting that.
  2. collect the trash (single-use coffee cups distributed over the room, including where the teacher's computer is) and throw them into the trash can -- the Centre for Ethics had left behind coffee cups that they did not throw away.
  3. collect water glasses from the tables and put them into our dish washer -- the Centre for Ethics had taken water glasses from our kitchen, but did not put them back to the kitchen from where they had taken them.
  4. wipe away huge coffee stains -- the Centre for Ethics never took a course in how to operate a coffee dispenser, so they messed around on the tables of the teaching room.
  5. move all kind of stuff (coffee dispenser, napkins, tea) into a tray and move the tray outside the teaching room -- the Centre for Ethics had ordered this stuff but did not consider it necessary to move them out of the teaching room after the meeting so that teaching would not be disturbed when the stuff is fetched.

I therefore wrote emails to four persons of the Centre for Ethics asking them to clean up there mess before my teaching starts in that room: first, no one replied, but then, the head of the board replied that this is not their fault, but that this is fault of the service from where they ordered the coffee as that service was supposed to tidy the room (How can that coffee service re-arrange the tables if they do not know how they were before? How can that coffee service find all the single-use coffee cups that were partly well hidden behind the teacher's computer screen? How can that coffee service put the water glasses back into the kitchen if they do not know how from where they have been taken? How can that coffee service clean all the coffee stains if a coffee service was ordered and not a cleaning service?)

Because the board members of the Centre of Ethics refused to clean up their mess, I had to do that on my own in the time that I had planned for preparation of the class. This all was then crowned with my teaching was later being disturbed by a coffee service employee trying to get back the coffee dispensers because the Centre of Ethics had told them to fetch it from the teaching room (instead from the kitchen that is just next to the teaching room).

I do not know why they do not follow my request to clean up their mess, but some hypotheses come into my mind:

  • Hopefully, this was not the usual discrimination that probably every foreigner experiences in Iceland. (While I am -- as a professor from Germany -- privileged in comparison to other foreigners, even I experience discrimination.) -- so far, I experienced the university as a foreigner-friendly space (except that some scholars are maniac about enforcing a language policy of requiring to use the Icelandic language, because the university tries to solve the dilemma of being an Icelandic-speaking university and an international university at the same time).
  • Cultural issues: If you have a look at the names of the members of the board of Centre for Ethics, then these are all patronymic: Elínborg Sturludóttir, Henrý Alexander Henrýsson, Kolbrún Pálsdóttir, Páll Rafnar Þorsteinsson, Sólveig Anna Bóasdóttir, Vilhjálmur Árnason. While the gender diversity is balanced at the board, the university committed to diversity in all fields. And in fact, cultural diversity is non-existing at the board of Centre for Ethics: they all have very likely a socialisation in an Icelandic culture: I once was told about a survey among Icelanders that showed that a huge majority thinks that rules are important for the Icelandic society, but that rules do not apply to yourself, because you consider yourself as so important that exceptions are justified for you (unfortunately, I do not have the source -- a social scientist reported about this at an introductory event on the Icelandic society for foreign staff at the University of Iceland).
  • Maybe, this is not a cultural issue, but just personality of the head of the board of the Centre of Ethics -- but: I wrote to four members of the board and the other board members even preferred to remain silent.
  • If you are in the board of the Centre of Ethics, there is the danger of developing the attitude that you are the authority on concepts of what is right and wrong behaviour. And if you are then convinced that your behaviour is right (and the head of the board of the Centre of Ethics obviously is convinced), then you make your own rules and therefore behave like as you are above the rules.

I also tried to build the head of the board of the Centre for Ethics a bridge by offering him to apologise, but the head of the board answered that he will not, because leaving the teaching room in that state was not their fault, but rather the fault of the coffee service not cleaning up. So, even saying sorry seems not to be part of the culture of the Centre for Ethics.

While I am not a lawyer, I would be surprised if their arguing would hold the Icelandic law system: they rented the teaching room, so they have to adhere to the rules of using the teaching room. Just the fact that they outsourced some service, does not mean that they themselves do not need to adhere to the rules anymore and are not liable anymore (even if they would have ordered a service to clean up the room who then failed to do that).

Does the Centre for Ethics think, they are above the law? (And what does it means for ethics in Iceland if such people run the Centre for Ethics?)

In fact, they did break all of the above rules, even the above 8th rule: they refused to take liability for their mess -- après moi, le déluge!

O tempora, o mores!

P.S.: I have no problem with holding an event with food and drinks, but for that, the computer science department has a kitchen/coffee room just next to the teaching room: just serve the food and drinks there, instead of using a teaching room for that. (When, e.g., the rector holds a meeting in the aula, the food is simply served after the meeting and outside of the aula.) Or a pragmatic approach: if you think you need to break the rules: do it in a way that no one notices it, i.e. clean up your mess.

Masters programme in Cybersecurity will get funded with 90 by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation

Helmut Neukirchen, 12. January 2023

The list of proposals that got funded. We are on place 4.

University of Iceland and Reykjavik University applied together for funding in order to start a joint study Masters's programme in Cybersecurity. Today, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation announced (including video recording) that the two universities will together get for the project Nytt meistaranám í netöryggi 90 million ISK funding over 2 years from the university collaboration fund (Samstarf háskóla). This is a great collaboration between the professors of computer science interested in cybersecurity at both universities, facilitated by EDIH-IS, the European Digital Innovation Hub in Iceland, where both universities are as well involved in digital innovation, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) or High-Performance Computing (HPC).

The new cybersecurity programme funding is announced (ignore the HA and Bifröst -- that's a typo)

While the schedule is tight, the plan is to offer as a start a Cybersecurity specialisation of the Computer Science Master's programme at each university already this autumn, i.e. 2023. Students can then apply at their preferred university, but take as well courses at the other university. (There is another project that got 35 funding to enable technically, i.e. on the IT and learning management system side, but also administratively, i.e. collaboration contracts, taking master's courses at other universities. But I doubt that this is ready when we would need it already in autumn 2023.)

The project to make taking MSc courses everywhere come true

Later, this Computer Science specialisation is supposed to become a study programme on its own.

The funding will be used to hire professors, but also to import distance teaching courses from abroad.

A presentation covers more details: Powerpoint / PDF.

Adding POIs / charging stations to TomTom data

Helmut Neukirchen, 5. January 2023

Modern electric vehicles (EVs) are computers on wheels (anyone interested in research on this is welcome to contact me), e.g., they provide in their navigation system (live) data concerning EV chargers (location, power and plug type such as AC vs. DC, availability such as busy or not). Concerning Icelandic charging stations, these data bases need to be improved. My experience is that this EV charging station data displayed in the cars comes from the big map providers (i.e. TomTom and Here), but not from their maps, but from some extra data base. For example, TomTom has -- in addition to their map data -- a data base for EV services (it seems that Here does not have such an EV-specific service and even if your car has map data from Here, the EV services probably come from TomTom).

(Having as many DC chargers as possible known to the car is needed to make the car pre-heat the battery before charging, as in case of Kia/Hyundai, this requires the charger to be known to the car.)

The Icelandic Ísorka charging operator is using the Virta infrastructure and Virta is collaborating with TomTom and therefore, their stations are pretty complete and provide dynamic live data concerning availability in my TomTom-based car. But the data for the Icelandic Orka náttúrunnar (ON) chargers are often outdated (e.g. assuming everywhere only a 50 kW DC fast charger where ON nowadays has 150 kW or even 225 kW fast chargers) or in the worst case simply lacking on the map or do not exist anymore (e.g. the fast charger in Kirkjubæjarklaustur used to be operated by ON in the past and is therefore still listed in TomTom's EV service data base, even though it is now operated by N1 -- I anyway have the feeling that N1 chargers are not in the data base). Also, some ON stations (e.g. the two DC chargers on the two sides of Miklabraut at Kringlan) are listed as Charge and Drive and others as Orka náttúrunnar.

(If all these names of the Icelandic charging operators confuse you, please have a look at my overview on the Icelandic EV charging infrastructure operators.)

These ON Alpitronic chargers at one of the most important charging locations (Baulan) are 225 DC chargers (would be listed as High Power Charger as for the Porsche charger below), but is only listed as slower DC, i.e. 200 kW or less, charger. Also, no real-time availability info.

These ON Alpitronic chargers at one of the most important charging locations (Viðigerði) are 225 DC chargers that were initially completely lacking, but after I reported them via the TomTom Mapshare tool, they show up -- but only listed as slower DC charger and no real-time availability info.

This 300 kW charger is correctly listed as High Power Charger. Still, no real-time availability info: listed as unknown.

This Ísorka AC chargers have real-time info on availability (as they are part of the Virta network).

I was wondering how I can improve this. I reported electric vehicle charging POIs to the TomTom Mapshare tool. And indeed, it seems that after a couple of days, my reported POIs have been added to the map: at least in Viðigerði, I reported the missing ON charger and the N1 petrol station that has been moved. And now, these POIs are in the TomTom online map and my car displays it on the map (even though, I did not install manually a map update in my car). This means it is known to my car using TomTom's EV service data base that it accesses online. TomTom was really fast in adding the charger at Hof in Akureyri that I reported, both on the TomTom online map and in TomTom's EV service data base.

Obviously, my car uses another source for charging stations than the map data (but POI reporting on the map helped to get charging stations also into the EV service data vase). Another evidence for this is that while my car knows the (so far only) 350 kW HPC charger in Iceland as Porsche dealer, the TomTom Mapshare tool does not even display this charger as POI.

TomTom has this extra EV service's API that provides exactly this kind of data (but it does not mention how to get data into that system: bug POI reporting on the map helped to get a charger into that data base, however the power information is lacking). Also, my car displays live data for Ísorka stations (some listed as Virta, some as Ísorka -- so there is also some chaos there), but not for ON. This is all evidence that charging station information does not come from the TomTom map itself, but via their EV services that provide, e.g. static information (the example response contains charger locations, plug type, etc. -- this is information that is not on the map, but that is nevertheless listed by my car) and dynamic real-time (availability) information.

So, very likely even without any map updates installed in your car, just getting updates into this static EV services data is already enough to let a car know about charging stations.

I have asked ON to contact TomTom to get more up-to-date static ON charging station data (e.g. correct info on max. charging power) into the TomTom EV services (and preferably also the dynamic live data on availability). And ON answered me that they are working on it.

Update 25.4.2023 ON kept me up-to-date: they partnered with some company to make real-time data available and Google maps lists now real-time data for ON (if you let Google maps display EV charging station). Later, the data should also be available via TomTom EV services.

Update 21.6.2023 There was new firmware for the headunit available that also has new map data. While some of the ON HPC chargers that were before listed as DC only, are now listed as HPC, I am not sure whether this comes from the map or from the live data (I forgot to check before I did the update). But in addition to reporting updates for the chargers I also reported updates for the map itself, i.e. changed roads, and none of them are contained in the updated map.