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 it 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: 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 head 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.

Distributed Systems reading resources

Helmut Neukirchen, 18. October 2022

As the CDK5 book starts to get outdated (and there is no update: the main authors all retired), we need to think about some replacement.

Some reading resources can be found at

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.

EV charging in Iceland / Chargers for electric cars

Helmut Neukirchen, 2. May 2022

Now that electric cars have a reasonable range, driving around the ring road is no issue anymore (on your own car via the ferry or via an Icelandic car rental that offer more and more electric cars). Therefore, some information for tourists (and Icelanders new to EV charging: hleðsla rafbíla) who want to use an electric vehicle (EV) in Iceland and want to know how the charging situation is. (For non-Europeans: in Europe, Type 2 plugs are the norm, so when below the term CCS is used, this refers to CCS-Type 2 fast charging plugs).

Basically, the charging infrastructure is as follows:

  • ON (the former Reykjavik utilities company), in some EV navigation systems also listed as part of the Fortum Charge and Drive network (not sure, whether this means that the Fortum charging app or RFID key would work): Across Iceland, the oldest and most dense and most powerful charging points: Alpitronic High-Performance Chargers with CCS and Chademo, some old ABB 50 kW tripple chargers, i.e. CCS, Chademo and Type 2, some Tritium Veefil 50 kW CCS and Chademo chargers (pinball machine flashback), a few old DBT 44 kW multistandard DC chargers, and AC chargers: a few with tethered Type 1 and Type 2 cables, most with the usual European Type 2 plug, i.e. you need your own cable.

    You can spot the ON chargers easily as they are orange. For locations, see their map. They issue their own RFID charging keys, but you need an Icelandic ID number ("kennitala") to order them, so no chance to get these as a tourist (I found at least one Icelandic car rental that therefore provides you with an ON key when renting from them). Luckily, the Plugsurfing key works as well (I can confirm that the key works) -- however, the Plugsurfing app does not work. Unfortunately, Plugsurfing sends RFID keys/cards only to addresses in Europe.

    For those without ON nor Plugsurfing key: ON has now a new app (Android or iOS) where you can register without having an Icelandic ID number (not tried registering without yet, though -- reports are welcome). ON has just recently added stickers with QR codes to their charging station that contain station IDs that you can scan with the ON app (tried that: works), you can also enter that station Id manually into the ON app.

    In case of problems at the charging station, do not hesitate to call ON 24/7 hotline (they are very helpful), e.g., to make them reset a fast charger (I heard stories that they even started charging when you forgot your ON key).

  • Ísorka: they mainly offer owners of AC chargers to take care of the finances, i.e. while the chargers are marked Ísorka, they are not owned and operated by Ísorka. As such, the costs of AC charging are decided by the owners of each charging point. In addition, there are also a few DC fast chargers.

    You can spot their charging station based on their blue-white logo. For locations, see their map.

    You should not need an Ísorka RFID key as the Ísorka app works typically always. However, the payment works in a pre-paid way and thus you have to pre-pay 3000 ISK at the first use (via credit card) and if you charge during your Iceland vacation only for 500 ISK, you have wasted 2500 ISK. There is also a web-based payment using the QR code on the charging point which might be somewhat more expensive, but you do not need to pre-pay (never tried that, though). I read that it is also possible to register at Ísorka also other RFID cards than the Ísorka RFID key and use then that other RFID card, e.g. register the ID of your ON RFID key in order to reduce the amount of RFID key clutter.
    As Ísorka is part of the Virta network, Virta-related keys and apps should work as well (not tried, though).

    There was some controversy around Ísorka when they filed a complaint against ON which did lead to that (while the complaint was processed), ON had to shut-down curb-side AC chargers on which many EV owners relied on. First, Ísorka denied that the shut-down was due them filing a complaint, but later it came out that the opposite was true. Later, it was confirmed that the shut-down would not have been necessary at all.

  • Stoppustuð: Sometimes, you find (in particular on the country-side) some purple AC chargers marked STOPPUSTUÐ. These charging points where once given by the company Orkusalan for free to, e.g., municipalities. (Some may not work at all as no one maintains them anymore.) It is up to the municipalities how much they cost, but typically, they are for free -- I did so far encounter one that was not for free, but some of them show up on the Ísorka map, so maybe non-free chargers would be paid via Ísorka?

    Typically, you still need whatever RFID chip (could be, e.g., you Plugsurfing key/card or anything else that has RFID) to start and then use the same RFID to end the charging session and release the charging cable. Most Stoppustuð are listed on Plugshare (which is anyway from the crowd-sourced maps the one mainly one used in Iceland).

  • N1: A gas station operator that started offering EV charging by taking over old 50 kW fast chargers from ON (when N1 terminated the rental contract based on which ON was able to set up fast chargers at N1 gas stations) and painting them in red (in Plugshare, you still find old photos from which you might be tempted that these are still chargers operated by ON).

    For locations, see their map. Since 2021 and still at time of writing in 2022, some stations (e.g. Vík, Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Ísafjörður) have a golden sticker ("Frí hleðsla") stating that charging is free for a limited amount of time: welcome this, but do not rely on that it is free forever.

    In the past, it was always required to pay: either using the N1 pre-paid card that also works for gas (and thus you can buy at the shops at N1 gas stations) or some chargers might even take ordinary credit cards: the N1 gas pumps have anyway some payment terminal where you can chose the pump and in fact also the chargers (if, e.g., the charger has some Icelandic text "Greiðsla fer fram í sjálfsala á dælu 6" this translates to pay at pump 6 where you should find a payment self-service payment terminal where you can then also pay for the charger using a credit card or an N1 card). They now have a new app -- I have not tried it, but they claim that it is possible to pay with it. Recently, I read reports of people complaining that the chargers are unreliable and when they called the N1 hotline, their reports say that this was not helpful. These people recommend to not rely on N1 chargers: they are nice to have if they work while they are taking a pee at N1, but they do not add them as reliable chargers into their route planning.

  • Of course, there is Tesla with Superchargers with Type 2 CCS: like in many other countries, they have now been opened for the general public -- but only the less frequently used ones: these are currently all except Reykjavik and Staðarskáli. Most are V3 superchargers (V3 provides up to 250kW, older ones less, typically 150 kW). Tesla superchargers are typically slightly more expensive than other DC chargers.

    You need the Tesla app for payment. Tesla also has a few destination chargers (those who do not know it: if there is only one destination charger, it is Tesla-only, but if there are more, then the others are also for non-Tesla EVs).

  • Free destinations charging in the Reykjavik area at shopping malls and IKEA: The malls Kringlan and Smáralind offer free charging at a few spots of their parking space (marked in green).

    In particular IKEA has plenty of free chargers: as the IKEA restaurant is typically the cheapest (fast) food in Iceland, you can fill your car's battery with electrons and your stomach with french fries in parallel.

  • In addition, some guesthouses have their own AC chargers for their guests: they are listed at (and there, you can also filter and switch to, e.g., hotels, farms or appartments with chargers).

    If your accommodation has no charger, you might still use an ICCB (in-cable control box)/Mode 2 charging cable that plugs into the Schuko socket used in Iceland for normal AC wall plugs.

    But note that while officially Schuko connections are rated for up to 16 A peak currents, this applies only to short peaks: Charging several hours, e.g. overnight, with 16 A (times 230 V, i.e. approx. 3.6kW) will generate a lot of heat at the connectors and will melt your Schuko connection and can even cause fire. So, take care that you can limit charging to, e.g. 10 A (approx. 2.3 kW) or lower, and that the Schuko socket does not look totally corroded (not uncommon for outdoor connectors exposed to Icelandic weather) or any indications that the installation is very old and cannot deal with permanent high load. Good ICCB/Mode 2 charging cables have a heat sensor inside the Schuko plug to prevent such overheating, so do not use any extension cords (because then, the heat sensor is only in the Schuko plug of the ICCB, but not in the Schuko plug of the other end of the extension cord). As an example, the Tesla Universal Mobile Connector (UMC) gen 1 with Schuko plug draws 3 kW (i.e. 13 A which is for my taste not what I would consider as a safe permanent load with a Schuko plug), whereas the UMC gen 2 is very conservative and draws with Schuko plug only 8 A (1.8 kW) which I would consider safe.

In general, finding a 50 kW charger is not a problem (often, these are ABB triple chargers, where it is often possible to use Type 2 AC charging in parallel to either CHAdeMO and Type 2 CCS DC charging). Typically, there is only one 50 kW charger at each place, i.e. you may have to wait for the charger to get available.

High-Power Chargers are just slowly being added, but the ones operated by ON come typically as twins, i.e. two chargers are installed at each place and since these are the modular Alpitronic chargers that have two or three 75 kW modules: if one car uses only 75 kW, then you can charge another car in parallel with using the remaining module(s) (so in the best case, two Alpitronic chargers can charge four cars at the same time).

Be warned that Icelanders travel on their EVs in particular during the weekends of the summer, i.e. Friday evening, and in particular Sunday afternoon, the chargers tend to be busy: if you plan to travel during these times, you can expect delays, i.e. try to AC charge your car overnight so that it is 100% full in order to minimise relying on fast chargers during that trip and instead of relying that it is safe to arrive with, e.g., 10% state of charge at some charger, charge rather whenever you come along a free charger (even if you still have plenty of juice in your battery).

As always, leaving a phone number visible in the car to be reachable while charging is a good practise.

Be warned that during winter, the chargers may not be reachable, as snow has not been cleared.

I did not cover any pricing, as there is not a lot of competition (well, some companies try to compete mainly by filing complaints about the other company), but you are in the first place happy to find at all a charger.

For those coming with their EV via the ferry: the first AC charging point (Stoppustöð) is on the camping ground in Seyðisfjörður and the first fast chargers are in Egilstaðir (N1 and Tesla, see Plugshare map -- but ON has just announced to improve in future Egilstaðir where they have currently only AC chargers) and your car has to climb a mountain pass to reach Egilstaðir. Note that there is no electrical power grid along the ring road between Egilstaðir and lake Mývatn that would supply enough power to operate a fast charger, so take this into account.

The Westfjords are not covered well by ON, so again, have a look at at Plugshare for the available fast chargers offered by others. Mainly, this is the Westfjord Power Company (Orkubú Vestfjarða) with chargers in Bjarkarlundur, Flókalundur, Hólmavík, Hvítanes, Ísafjörður, Patreksfjörður, Reykjanes, Tálknafjörðir og Þingeyri who are relying on the Icelandic charging operator e1 and their eONE charging app. (I have not tried that, yet.)

Of course, also Iceland suffers from the bad habit of dinosaur-blood consuming ICE cars (and even EVs not charging) blocking EV chargers. Unfortunately, you can only request to get them legally towed away if they are marked with an official sign (which is typically not the case).

Vehicle to load (V2L) adapter

Helmut Neukirchen, 20. April 2022

Luckily, more and more Electric Vehicles (EVs) support getting electricity out of the drive battery again. In future, this can be a key to use the energy stored in EVs during peak-usage (Vehicle-to-Grid). For the time being, I use it to have electricity when camping or during power outages to power my fridge.

For example, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has a dedicated Schuko plug (rated at 1500 W -- by the way: it has no fuse: if you draw more amps, then simply the voltage goes down). Note that the Schuko plug exists only if the Outlander PHEV has not a heated windscreen as the same cabling is used for heated windscreen as for the plug, i.e. it is "either or" .

MG and Hyundai/Kia do this via the Type 2 charging connector (well, Hyundai/Kia do support also an internal Schuko plug, but the Icelandic Kia importer decided to offer/order only configurations without that internal plug). For the Type 2-based approach, a proprietary Type 2 to Schuko adapter is needed that is pretty expensive if you buy the OEM version.

Luckily, some re-engineering has been done that shows that only cheap passive electronics is inside. But be aware that the adapters are slightly different for MG and Hyundai/Kia. And in addition to DIY solutions (concerning the resistor, I did some research: a 0.25 W resistor should be enough), third parties start to offer way cheaper adapters: both for the MG, and for the Hyundai/Kia -- these are UK quality, better than China quality that does not even have the butto needed for Kia/Hyundai V2L adapter to start and stop V2L.

New LaTeX templates for theses at University of Iceland / LaTeX sniðmát ritgerðar/lokaverkefna Háskóla Íslands

Helmut Neukirchen, 25. March 2022

Finally, the new (2021 and later) thesis title page examples are available at the HÍ Corporate Design web page and I just finished creating a LaTeX template based on it.

You should find the most recent templates at

But you can also download it: UniversityOfIcelandMScThesisV2.0.1. (I have submitted it to Overleaf as a template.)

The PhD thesis template has also been updated: If you started already your PhD thesis, it is in principle enough to

  1. replace the old ui-phdthesis.cls by the new one and
  2. replace the two files HIlogo.pdf and UIblueribbon.pdf by banner.png
  3. add \thesislicense{All rights reserved} to your .tex file (or update to the license you want to make your thesis available).
  4. Also check the comments at the start of file uiphd_template.tex for possible further additions (\numberwithin and \UrlBreaks).
  5. In contrast to Version 2.0.0. version 2.1.0 moved the bibliography management out of the cls file into the tex file where BibLaTeX is now used

While the old template used the school-specific colors (e.g. VoN had orange), the new color scheme suggests to use these school-specific colors only internally, but work targeting people outside the university (such as a thesis) use always blue independent from the school (this was by the way already always the case with PhD theses).

The PDF version is used by a print shop when printing and binding the thesis: the normal M.Sc. thesis pages are printed using A4, but the cover page (with the blue) will be printed in A3, with the front page on one side and the back page on the other and the spine (bókarkjölur) in the middle (so in fact, that page is even bigger than A3 to accommodate the extra space for the spine). All the A4 pages are then glued into this A3 sheet. The inner side of the A3 remains blank: to simulate this in the PDF, the second page is simply empty (BTW: that empty page is missing in the official Microsoft Word template) and it is then followed by a page that serves as some inner title page, i.e. it repeats all the information from the title page, just with a slightly different layout and without the blue graphical elements. After that follows a page with copyright information, and only after that, your real contents starts.

This means, when you go to a print shop, the title page generated by you gets anyway ignored (and therefore, the LaTeX template does not even bother about generating a back page -- the print shops use the back page to add their name there).

But as the thesis is also electronically archived using the PDF that you submit, your self-generated PDF with the title page matters for that version.

The fact the Word template (to be used by students) looks less professional than the PDF (to be used by print shops), hints at the PDF version is the serious one (and I can only recommend to use not that Word template. If you use it, try match the PDF generated from my LaTeX template).

See my older post for further information.

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.

Software Engineering versus Programming

Helmut Neukirchen, 24. February 2022

The book “Software Engineering at Google” (curated by Titus Winters, Tom Manshreck and Hyrum Wright, O’Reilly, 2020) is officially available for free online at and I can only recommend reading it to get an idea of how Google delivers high-quality software. Of course, their solutions that fit a company as big as Google do not necessarily fit smaller companies.

As I did already in my post Why you should study Software Engineering cover the difference between Software Engineering and programming, I found it interesting that the above book covers it as well:

We believe it is important to differentiate between the related-but-distinct terms “programming” and “software engineering.” Much of that difference stems from the management of code over time, the impact of time on scale, and decision making in the face of those ideas. Programming is the immediate act of producing code. Software engineering is the set of policies, practices, and tools that are necessary to make that code useful for as long as it needs to be used and allowing collaboration across a team.
(“Software Engineering at Google” curated by Titus Winters, Tom Manshreck and Hyrum Wright, O’Reilly, 2020, p. 23)

For my taste, that quote does not cover enough human aspects (the nice thing about Software Engineering is that it does not only include the hard skills, but also soft skills), but that was in fact discussed already earlier in that book:

Another way to look at software engineering is to consider scale. How many people are involved? What part do they play in the development and maintenance over time? A programming task is often an act of individual creation, but a software engineering task is a team effort. An early attempt to define software engineering produced a good definition for this viewpoint: “The multiperson development of multiversion programs.” (There is some question as to the original attribution of this quote; consensus seems to be that it was originally phrased by Brian Randell or Margaret Hamilton, but it might have been wholly made up by Dave Parnas. The common citation for it is “Software Engineering Techniques: Report of a conference sponsored by the NATO Science Committee,” Rome, Italy, 27–31 Oct. 1969, Brussels, Scientific Affairs Division, NATO.) This suggests the difference between software engineering and programming is one of both time and people. Team collaboration presents new problems, but also provides more potential to produce valuable systems than any single programmer could.
(“Software Engineering at Google” curated by Titus Winters, Tom Manshreck and Hyrum Wright, O’Reilly, 2020, p. 4)

Want to study Computer Science, Software Engineering or Computational Engineering / Nám í tölvunarfræði, Hugbúnaðarverkfræði, Reikniverkfræði

If you want more information on our programmes:

Bachelor (B.Sc.)

Computer Science (Tölvunarfræði) -- we added recently the specialisation in Data Science

Software Engineering (Hugbúnaðarverkfræði)

Master (M.Sc.)

Computer Science (Tölvunarfræði)

Software Engineering (Hugbúnaðarverkfræði)

Computational Engineering (Reikniverkfræði)


And of course, you can also do a PhD in any of these programmes. Before you apply, contact a professor: either by a personal visit or -- if you are located abroad -- by writing an old school paper letter (professors get hundreds of email with PhD applications where it is obvious that the same email was written to many professors and thus, these email are considered as spam -- but a paper mail makes an impress)!

Crossover Office and Microsoft Powerpoint presentation user template storage location

Helmut Neukirchen, 5. January 2022

It took me some time to figure out where my PowerPoint 2007 stores the user specific presentation template. Assuming the bottle's C: drive is at ~/.cxoffice/Microsoft_Office_2007/drive_c/, then just copy your templates to
~/.cxoffice/Microsoft_Office_2007/drive_c/users/crossover/Application Data/Microsoft/Templates

Zoom Panopto integration

Helmut Neukirchen, 9. November 2021

Panopto can tell Zoom to copy Zoom meeting cloud recordings to Panopto. You can configure this automatic import/export by clicking in the very upper right corner of on your user name and then select "User Settings".

University of Iceland is running Panopto with at least two different storage spaces: the old storage space used when logged-in to Panopto via UGLA (for Panopto videos accessible via UGLA) and the new storage space when logged-in to Panopto via Canvas (for Panopto videos accessible via Canvas).

On, you can in the upper right corner log out and log in to change between these two spaces. But you cannot copy videos between these two spaces -- but UTS help desk can do so.

For the Zoom integration, the problem is that recordings may end up in the wrong space: whatever the last log-in to Panopto was, sets the integration, i.e. tells Zoom where to store the video for all future Zoom session recordings. So take care that your last log-in was into the intended storage space before a Zoom cloud recording starts. (Or ask UTS help desk to fix it afterwards.)