We will be running a series called – “Meet” where we will be interviewing Weoptians, the people that make our business work and a great place to be.
Pekka: I have always been interested in problem solving, especially when problems are formulated in numerical form. Excel, optimization models, algorithms, programming languages, together or separately, are common tools for me.
I currently have over 10 years of experience with vehicle routing problems, while not forgetting other optimization models and software development.
Sometimes in my free time I might get lost in the forest with real time dynamic route planning problems in the form of orienteering or rogaining.
What have you studied?
“Information technology at the University of Jyväskylä along the lines of simulation and optimization. In addition to the usual software development during my studies, I was able to focus on the more computational side of information technology and algorithms.”
Has the topic always interested you? How did you end up studying this?
“Yes, I have always been interested in computers and computer science. It was clear that I wanted to study information technology in some form preferably with a mathematical touch. At the time, the alternatives were TUT (Tampere University of Technology) and JyU, from which I selected Jyväskylä due to more interesting specialization opportunities.”
What was the most interesting course at the university?
“The programming courses were really high quality. Algorithm courses were also of high interest and of course different optimization courses.”
What is the best thing about your job?
“I get to solve interesting problems and develop new solutions. It warms the mind when concrete results that benefit a client are achieved.”
What does a typical workday look like?
“I suppose there’s not a typical workday. If I’m focused on a project then I will look at what is going on and continue with it. If there is an issue on the list that requires solving, then I will jump into it. Sometimes the day includes very varied things like customer meetings, work-related background research, and internal development.”
Why are mathematics and optimization of interest?
“Mathematics and computers have always been my interest. There is something ‘pure’ about getting numeric values to support a solution. Looking at things through numbers helps to structure the world. Optimization helps to solve practical problems with calculations. After all, quite many problems can be formulated into a form of optimization.”
Do you feel that your work matters?
“Optimization is clearly an important topic to many customers. How to formulate the customer’s needs into a computer-readable format, calculate the solution and then translate back into a customer-friendly format, requires many intermediate steps and iterations. The need for analytical problem solving and doing things a little more efficiently is clear.”
What is the best thing about working at Weoptit?
“Very versatile projects on offer. There is always something interesting to do and you don’t even always have time to participate in everything you would like to.“
What would a dream project be?
“Something related to route optimization and a truly new development, where you have the opportunity to spend time finding the most efficient solution of all by trying several options.”
What has been the best project so far?
“One of the very first, a resource optimization solution was made for a startup company, which has a key impact on the efficiency of their operations. We might have had a little too big promises and maybe a bit of a tight schedule, but the result went to immediate use and the customer was satisfied. After all the hurry, it felt like a very good project.
The Esperi project has also been very rewarding because the process of development was very structured and clear.
How do I identify an optimization specialist?
“By discussing optimization for a while, it becomes clear whether they are an expert. Word ‘’optimization’ can be used on many levels and there are also different fields of specialization
One way to identify a specialist is that he/she starts immediately thinking of different kinds of solutions to an optimization problem – how to model, calculate or start solving.”
Do you wear sandals at work?
“At the office, always. Woolen socks at home.”
How do you relax?
“Going for a walk in the forest or exercise.”
Do you have a motto?
“Nothing in everyday use, but I think that “Yes, somehow this can be solved” would be a good motto.”