Arto Portrait

Arto Salomaa was born in Turku in 1934 to an academic family. His father, J.E. Salomaa, was a professor of philosophy at Turku University.

Arto received his Ph.D. from Turku University in 1960 and became a professor there in 1966 holding this position until his retirement in 1999. During these years he frequently spent periods as a visiting professor in universities across the globe. He also served three 5-year terms as an academy professor of the Academy of Finland. Arto's personal and academic roots in Turku are very important to him. He is proud of being a fluent speaker of the local Turku language "Turun murre".

For half a century his research and writings inspired and guided some of the most significant developments in foundations of computer science. He is one of the founders of, and the towering figure in, formal languages and automata theory.

As a researcher, Arto is famous for being prolific, deep and broad, and for pioneering many important research directions. He has had more than 500 publications including 13 books translated into at least 7 different languages. His writings have had enormous influence on the development of theoretical computer science. Well-known examples are his famous "Formal Languages" book declared a classic by the Association for Computing Machinery and the three-volume masterpiece "Handbook of Formal Languages".

His retirement in 1999 was in name only: his research is still flourishing and he is pursuing both classic and novel research directions.

He has supervised 25 doctoral students, many of whom became well-recognized scientists in their own right and who are at key locations around the world.

Arto's enormous achievements are well recognized by the scientific community in both his native Finland and abroad. He is one of the most decorated computer scientists - among others, he holds 9 doctorates honoris causa. In 2001 he received Finland's highest scientific honor when he was appointed an Academician - only 12 scientists may hold this title at any moment of time.


The portrait of Arto given here was created by the University of Art and Design Helsinki on the occasion of his 60th birthday - it was one of the first computer-aided portraits in Finland.