Category: Research

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).

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

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.

Icelandic National Coordination Centre (NCC-IS) for Cybersecurity established

Helmut Neukirchen, 15. November 2022

We just established the Icelandic National Coordination Centre (NCC-IS) for Cybersecurity. It is is a common platform for cooperation in cybersecurity issues, composed of the following public entities: the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, the Icelandic Centre for Research (Rannis), the Electronic Communications Office (ECOI/Fjarskiptastofa), the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IS), the University of Iceland (UoI), Reykjavík University (RU), and the Technology Transfer Office (TTO/Auðna tæknitorg) Iceland.

NCC-IS operates in the context of Regulation (EU) 2021/887 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2021 that establishes the European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Centre (ECCC) and the Network of National Coordination Centres (NCCs).

The core tasks of NCC-IS are:

  • Monitor and support actions: Monitoring and contributing to progress on national cybersecurity strategy activities regarding education, research, and development.
  • Provide expertise and link to ECCC and NCC-Network: Ensuring contribution to and coordination with the ECCC and the Network and supporting their strategic tasks.
  • Manage and coordinate funding: Managing and coordinating funding from the Digital Europe Programme and Horizon Europe for cybersecurity-related projects. Encouraging and assisting civil society, industry, SMEs, and academia in participating in cybersecurity actions (e.g., cascade funding, national funding contributions, etc.).
  • Raise awareness and build a cybersecurity Community: Acting as a central point for the national and European cybersecurity community, disseminating relevant outcomes of the work of the NCC-IS and NCC-Network, the Community, and the ECCC at the national level.
  • Develop and disseminate educational programmes: Coordinating, implementing and sharing educational activities and fostering cybersecurity skill building and training (e.g. gap analysis, competence mapping).
  • Support research and innovation: Identifying relevant research partners, promoting and strengthening dialogue in cybersecurity research and innovation fields.

Later, the NCC-IS will apply for European funding within the TOPIC ID: DIGITAL-ECCC-2022-CYBER-03-NAT-COORDINATION addressing the corresponding call for proposals call text.

To prevent any misunderstandings: NCC-IS will not take over the job of CERT-IS (or any other party) nor is NCC-IS a Security Operation Center (SOC). NCC-IS is rather an add-on to existing activities in order to raise awareness, co-ordinate actions, and improve education and research related to Cybersecurity on national and European level.

University of Iceland is in charge of developing and disseminate educational programmes, i.e. coordinating, implementing and sharing educational activities and fostering cybersecurity skill building and training. You are welcome to contact me if you are offering, e.g., training course or are interesting in getting updates on available training.

The NCC-IS at the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation.

Cybersecurity is now more in the focus of politics and has now an own government web page.

European Researchers' Night 2022 / Vísindavaka 2022

Helmut Neukirchen, 15. November 2022

After two years of COVID break, Vísindavaka, the Icelandic European Researchers' Night 2022 took place on 1 Oct 2022 and it was a real success: while we had 5700 visitors in 2019, we had significantly more this year: the official number is 6400 visitors, but my feeling is that this number was even higher.

The Computer Science department had a booth showcasing some of its research.

Silence before the storm:

While we still need to work on the gender diversity of the team, we had at least a diverse range of exhibits (and nationalities): from creating art using neural networks over to an industrial 3D scanner, remote sensing where satellite images are analysed, to software engineering with sketches on a touch screen, cybersecurity and our Center of Excellence RAISE.


October is the European Cybersecurity Month and we had a flyer for kids (Hvernig á að vera öruggur á netinu) and a quiz for more grown ups in order to raise awareness for cybersecurity.


CoE RAISE (Research on AI- and Simulation-Based Engineering at Exascale) gave a glimpse into neural networks 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 a some seconds up to a minute for loading the trained model and initialisation.)

The used approach is Single Shot Detector (SSD) (the percentage shows how sure the neural network is about the classification) using the Mobilenet neural network architecture. The dataset used for training is COCO (Common Objects in Context), i.e. only objects of the labeled object classes contained in COCO will get detected. The Javascript code that is running in your browser uses Tensorflow Lite and its Object Detection API and model zoo.

Fun fact: a toy car in the foreground and person in the background next to it is classified as a skateboard -- I guess the neural network learned that a thing with two wheels and a something classified as person on top is a skateboard (this limitation of a neural network is a good example to discuss risks and chances of AI):

In addition, the work from the Sound of Vision is given an AI twist in CoE RAISE, so we had also a 3D scanner that scans the shape of your ear in order to calculate how the shape of your ear influences how you hear from different directions.

Finally, the remote sensing demonstration relates also to work done in CoE RAISE where neural networks are used to classify land cover from satellite images. Visitors could compete against a neural network to classify land cover.

While the following video does not cover any of our exhibits, it gives an idea of the whole event (and each year, there is a price for best science communication, and this year, University of Iceland's children's university got awarded):

EOSC-Nordic final meeting and presenting CoE RAISE and EOSC-Nordic at eScience 2022 workshops in Salt Lake City

Helmut Neukirchen, 11. October 2022

After the EOSC-Nordic project's kickoff meeting was face to face in late 2019 (just before COVID pandemics), the final meeting was finally again face to face. I gave a presentation there on cross-border computing via portals:

The week after was the IEEE eScience conference, where I gave two presentations:

A presentation on the Interaction Room for HPC and ML (used in the CoE RAISE project) at the SE4SCIENCE workshop: PPT and PDF.

And another presentation at the REWORDS workshop related to the above EOSC-Nordic presentation: PPT and PDF.

When I arrived in the US, I noticed that my phone with a SIM card from Vodafone Iceland did not work. Once I had WiFi, I was able to send Vodafone Iceland an email and their answer was that there are currently issues with their roaming in the US. So prepare for a digital detox while being in the US with a SIM card from Vodafone Iceland.

Communication with buoys using LoRa (CommBuoy) project funded by the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration Research Fund

Helmut Neukirchen, 7. March 2022

LoRa is a long-range, low-power (but also low-bandwidth) wireless communication suitable for IoT, such as transmitting sensor data.

This one-year project Communication with buoys using LoRa (CommBuoy) received 1.8 million Icelandic krona funding from the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration Research Fund. Together with me, Sæmundur Þorsteinsson from the Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering and my Computer Science collegue Esa Hyytiä are investigators in this project. Should any student be interested to work in this, e.g. as final M.Sc. project, please contact Helmut.

EOSC-Nordic Knowledge Hub

Helmut Neukirchen, 29. September 2021

The EOSC-Nordic project has a knowledge hub that contains knowledge on using the European Open Science Cloud, e.g. services for storing and finding research data or accessing cross-border scientific computing (in particular with a Nordic focus):

PhD Defense Federated Access to Collaborative Compute and Data Infrastructures

Helmut Neukirchen, 29. June 2021

Shiraz Memon successfully defended his PhD thesis in Computer Science on Federated Access to Collaborative Compute and Data Infrastructures. The thesis covers how researchers can perform eScience by discovering services (such as accessing data and processing data) on remote research and e-infrastructures and authenticate (such as logging in order to use the service) and how authorization can be done (i.e. deciding which services are allowed to be used).

The thesis was streamed, Wed, 30. June 2021 starting from 09:30 (UTC), and the recording is available via:

PhD defense announcement

This PhD is an example of the collaboration between the Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science and Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC).

Members of the PhD commitee were Morris Riedel, Helmut Neukirchen, and Matthias Book, opponents were David Wallom and Shukor Abd Razak. The head of faculty, Rúnar Unnþórsson, was steering the defense.