Matti Tedre is a computer scientist by training with a background in ICT4D and philosophy of computer science. But he did not take a straight path. After high school, he earned a lower music degree with a major in piano 1999. But he also studied social sciences, which eventually led to a Ph.D. in computer science in 2006.

”I was rather bad with social sciences, and computers were always easy for me,” Matti explains his career change. “And I haven’t played music in ten years.”

During his studies he worked for a few years in industry, programming 3D components, before he realized that industry wasn’t for him and that he preferred academia.

“University felt like home. I am always curious about “stuff” – why things are like they are. So I want to know what computer science is – the philosophy of computer science, so to say,” Matti explains.

International life
Matti studied at Yonsei University, Korea, and got a PhD research grant to study at Ajou University, Korea. He worked in Tanzania for a period of about five years, with some breaks between. He has also worked with informatics and design at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa. This is where his love for ICT4D comes from.

“I worked at an IT department at Tumaini University in Tanzania where I started a Bachelor programme in IT. I was the first head of department, and afterwards an advisor to the department,” Matti says.

It was in Uganda that Matti had his first contacts with DSV’s ICT4D research. In 2011 he joined a Spider project that still is running. He ran a small project on risk assessment frameworks for ICT-related development projects. The aim of the project is to guide planners, donors, field staff, and other stakeholders in ICT-related international development cooperation”.

“We have collected data from ICT professionals in a large number of past and previous Spider-funded projects, and we will identify common risks and trouble spots in them to build a risk identification framework,” Matti explains.

DSV
In September 2012 Matti came to DSV as an associate professor with the IDEAL unit. According to him DSV is leading institution in ICT4D in northern Europe, so he is very proud of his new job at DSV.

“This is exactly what I wanted. I am surprised and so happy to have been selected. I really like DSV and Spider for their diversity with so many exciting projects,” Matti exclaims.

Matti Tedre works on many ICT4D topics, but he has a keen interest in the philosophy and methodology of computer science, and wants to create greater awareness about it. There seems to be no agreement on how computer science should be done, and even to the most general rules there will be exceptions.

“Everybody has a justified point of view when it comes to methods, and methods often depend on the problems. But what should we teach our students?” Matti ponders.

In some ways computer science is no longer a “discipline” according to Matti, and research at DSV is in some ways “post-disciplinary”. Matti is busy to put the final touches to his new book on the subject of computing as a science. The book is planned to be published by Taylor and Francis during spring 2014. The book will present and compare different viewpoint to computing as a science with a focus on modern computing from the 1940s onwards.

“I’ve always wanted to read a survey like that, but haven’t been able to find one anywhere.  It still is an open issue. There is still quite little research on the philosophy of computer science,” Matti tells.

While working on his ICT4D projects, Matti is in trying to form a research group on methodology with a few doctoral students in various universities, as well as networking with other researchers within DSV. He is also busy proofreading the manuscript for the new book. There is no mistake that he is very content with his new life at DSV.

“I am already in my dream job,” Matti says as a response to a question about the future.

Links

Project: Empirically grounded risk assessment framework for ICT-related development projects

Website