Bridging the Gap: Jouni at ICSA 2023 and the merger of Academia and Business

Village in Italy surrounded by mountains and trees

In the realm of software development, architecture serves as the backbone upon which innovation is built. It's the blueprint that shapes the functionality, scalability, and adaptability of applications. Recently, our very own Jouni Männistö, Lead Web Architect at SimAnalytics, had the opportunity to visit and present at the 20th IEEE International Conference on Software Architecture (ICSA 2023) held in the picturesque town of L'Aquila, Italy. The conference's spotlight shone on software architecture, and two crucial themes echoed throughout the event: microservices and machine learning.

Jouni's trip and presentation at the ICSA 2023 conference in Italy marked a significant milestone in his career. As a computer science master’s student at the University of Helsinki, Jouni (almost by accident) collaborated with researchers Antti-Pekka Tuovinen and Mikko Raatikainen on a conference paper stemming from his thesis and seminar work. The conference paper, titled "Experiences on a Frameworkless Micro-Frontend Architecture in a Small Organization," delves into uncharted territory by examining real-life experiences of micro-frontend architecture.

“At my previous job, we set out to create frontend architecture for a microservice from scratch. My supervisors picked up on the project and noted that this could be a great thesis topic—and it was. The findings challenge prevailing truths, such as the idea that micro-frontend architecture might not necessarily be suitable for a very small team. According to the results, small teams can even be a functional solution, and a small group can bring benefits to the process as people can communicate more easily.” Jouni highlights.

Jouni has since switched jobs and travelled to Italy as a SimAnalytics representative. The conference's audience, composed of distinguished academics and industry professionals, welcomed Jouni's and his research partners’ presentation with enthusiasm. The reception he received validated the significance of his work and its small contribution to the academic and professional spheres and even led to a few good talks in the evening with researchers in the field.

“I probably stood a couple of centimetres taller after attending the event, or well, it certainly added to my sense of professional pride. By listening to other lectures, I also gained an understanding that we at SimAnalytics are indeed doing the right things and moving in the right direction.” Jouni adds.

ICSA 23 conference pass

Enabling employees to explore academia linked to their professional pursuits is not only an advantage for the employee but also fosters the innovative atmosphere of the company. SimAnalytics’ history stems from three PhD students who sat down at a café and pondered on how to use the knowledge they had gained from their years in academia—so they founded a consulting business. The idea of rooting development in research has ever since been an important foundational stone.

“The academic world is also reflected in my own work in the sense that I try to make sure that I have a good reason for everything I do. Our main products should work as intended, and furthermore, they should be built in a way where we can expand, develop, and innovate them further. All the great things done on the machine learning side need to be presented to end-users in a way in which they can access the necessary information as smoothly as possible. This presents a really interesting challenge: transforming large amounts of data into a format that benefits the end-user. When I seek solutions to such challenges, I always try to find the root cause. On the other side, when I start planning something, I tend to check if anything has been published about the subject.” Jouni ponders.

Jouni's successful journey to Italy was besides professionally rewarding also intertwined with a newfound appreciation for risotto, a dish that epitomizes the harmonious blending of diverse ingredients.

“You can't get bad food in Italy. However, the risotto which was served during one of the conference dinners changed me. Particularly the parmesan in the risotto made me an enthusiast—I've been creating various risottos at home since.”

As Jouni continues to develop innovative software architecture at SimAnalytics, following the latest trends in academia, and cooking up risottos, his experiences remind us that when academia and business collaborate, the results can be truly remarkable—a fusion of knowledge, innovation, and success.

Intrigued by Jouni's expedition and our approach to melding academia with industry? Explore more about a career at SimAnalytics.

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