University of Helsinki: Partnership Drives Numerous Digital Innovations

The long-term partnership between Codento and the University of Helsinki has enabled numerous digital innovations

Codento is a long-term partner

The University of Helsinki is Finland’s largest and oldest academic institution and an innovative center of science and thinking. Since 1640, they have contributed to the establishment of a fair and equal society that is considered one of the best in the world. Today, their multidisciplinary academic community solves problems that affect us all – with the power of knowledge, for the world.

Codento has been a long-term software development partner to University of Helsinki by participating in numerous software development projects with multiple consultants, for example:

  • System and integrations for the study sector
  • CBRN Toolbox service to help in a crisis situation
  • A cloud solution for the international research unit

System and integrations for the study sector

A significant project entity of the University of Helsinki’s strategic period 2017-2020, in which the system entity and integrations of the University of Helsinki’s study sector were renewed. The work supports the successful implementation of the University of Helsinki’s education reform Big Wheel. As part of the project, applications in the study sector will be developed (a total of 15 different applications). Codento has been involved in the development project throughout the contract period.

CBRN Toolbox service to help in a crisis situation

Verifin, the Institute for the Chemical Weapons Convention of the University of Helsinki, conducts research, trains experts, acts as the national authority for the Chemical Weapons Convention and performs verification analytics. VERIFIN assists the International Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the UN. Among other things, Verifin analyzes and identifies various chemical warfare agents, their precursors and degradation products from the samples sent.

Verifin, in collaboration with Codento, produced a CBRN Toolbox that identifies CBRN threats based on its findings. The service that works in a web browser is helpful, for example, in situations of chemical accidents, when you want to identify which substance is being met at the scene of an accident.

Various services focused on identifying CBRN threats have been around for decades. However, the difference in the application conceived by Verifin is that the service is based on different delimitations made within the application. In the event of a disaster, it is important to quickly identify the toxic substance and act accordingly in rescue missions, the establishment of a clean-up line and, for example, sampling.

Originally intended to be an aid in accident and crisis situations, the application can also be used for the training of rescue personnel. The service has been developed in two phases with Codento, with a total of five Codento consultants.

In the second phase, the service was further developed in a more user-friendly direction, which would be particularly useful in rescue and crisis situations. With the help of Codento, the user interface was clarified, two different user views were created according to the user profile, and a portal containing training material was implemented. When the original service was intended mainly for desktop or tablet use, a Mobile version was also now made.

A cloud solution for the international research unit

The Finnish Institute for Molecular Medicine FIMM is an international research unit belonging to the University of Helsinki. The institute studies the molecular mechanisms of diseases using methods of genetics and systems biology. FIMM combines high-quality research, technology and patient and biobank data.

The Codento project participated in the FinnGen project, coordinated by FIMM, which combines Finnish genomic data and digital health care data on a large scale, with the aim of finding new ways to prevent and diagnose diseases and treatments.

This is a major project, and FinnGen is raising the profile of Finnish research in biomedicine. The project started in 2017 and is expected to continue for at least six years.

Combining genomic information with digital health information is a huge project. It requires high-performance systems to process and analyze data and thus find new information and solutions.

The customer has a process environment called Factory, where genomic data is processed. This involves about a dozen different work steps as the data is run through the pipeline. Initially, the preprocessing environment operated on the customer’s own IT infrastructure. However, this capacity does not match what is needed to process and analyze the current amounts of data. The customer’s capacity is limited and the servers become congested during practical work, which slows down the progress of the work and increases the possibility of errors.

The tools and programs used by the customer were dependent on many other software programs. In order to perform and further develop the analyses, all of this software had to be installed separately on your own machine or server.

A solution to the challenges of data processing and analysis was found in the cloud platform. In the cloud, capacity is guaranteed and more can be found if needed, so it speeds up and ensures that the production process progresses without clutter. Data security is also better on the cloud platform than on your own IT infrastructure.

Flexible scaling of analytics was a key objective for the customer. The software was converted to use container technology, where the software is installed in removable “containers” that can be easily installed in a variety of environments.

Together with Codento, the proof of concept phase was reached in the development of the project’s software environment, where a few individual modules of the processing environment were transferred to the cloud platform. After modeling, it is easy for FIMM to continue moving to the cloud.

Why Codento?

“We made a mini-tender for the implementation of the service, mainly because in the beginning we weren’t quite sure what we wanted. This is how we got to see what kind of solutions suppliers can offer. Codento was chosen because their approach was very practical ”

Matti Kuula




In customer’s own words (testimonial)

“The first thing that comes to mind is agility. The people of Codento are a relaxed, open and agile group. The project was launched briskly, and clearly there was a process for this kind of work. Right at the beginning of the project, there was already a workshop concept and feedback workshop in mind, which is not always the case. Codento consultants were able to delve into new issues very quickly during the project. At the same time, we went ahead and learned a lot, on both sides. The most significant result of the project is that we were able to prove that data processing works on a cloud platform as well. There are still some open and unresolved issues, but the project verified the functionality of the model. Next, we’ll move the entire Factory to the cloud. ”


Head of Data Management

Jarmo Harju

“Everything has gone very well with Codento and the finished result is on schedule. Just a quarter of a second before I left for the airport towards Athens, software was installed on my laptop, so even the busy schedules have been able to bend over to Codento. Lauri had a good overall view of the project and the Codento people knew how to focus on the essentials without rushing to the side paths, we got exactly what we wanted. Codento’s approach to the service was very practical, which is why we chose them as a partner to implement the service. ”

Matti Kuula