ECML/PKDD-2002 General Information

Conference venue

The conference will take place at the Main Building of the University of Helsinki. Founded in 1640, University of Helsinki is one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in Europe.

Address: Fabianinkatu 33, 00170 Helsinki

Conference language

The official conference language will be English. Interpretation will not be provided.

City of Helsinki

Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is a lively city with more than one million people living in the metropolitan area. Helsinki was founded in 1550 and has been the capital since 1812. The city has a beautiful location right on the Gulf of Finland, which creates a wonderful seaside atmosphere throughout the downtown area.

Helsinki is a human-sized city that is easy to get around. It is safe for visitors and has excellent services and modern facilities. All major shops are conveniently located in the downtown area and there is a wide selection of restaurants for your culinary delight.

More information on Helsinki and Finland is available, for example, at the City of Helsinki site (Tourist Office, Tourist Map) and the Virtual Finland site.

Travelling information and airport transfer

Most major international airlines, including the Finnish flag carrier Finnair, have direct flights to Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport from the capitals and major cities of Europe, North America and the Far East. For schedules and ticketing, please contact your travel agency or airline office. Helsinki is also easily accessible by boat from Sweden, Germany or Estonia and by train from Russia.

Downtown Helsinki can be conveniently reached from the airport by bus or taxi. Finnair citybuses depart near the arrivals hall at 20-minute intervals and the journey takes about 30 minutes to the city centre (bus fare 4.90 €). See the Finnair citybus schedule. Also regional buses 615 and 617 take you to the city centre from the airport. Taxis are available right outside the arrivals hall.

Passport and visa

A valid passport is required for entry to Finland (although a valid national ID card is enough for many European citizens). Finland is a member of the European Union and visas are not required for citizens of EU countries. Citizens of other countries should contact the nearest Finnish Diplomatic Mission (see Ministry for Foreign Affairs) for further information. Generally, a visa is not required for nationals of most industrialized countries. Please check regulations if in doubt.

Participants requiring a visa ("Schengen visa") for entry to Finland are strongly advised to make an application in their home country at least three months before the intended date of travel.

Letter of invitation

The organising committee will be pleased to send a letter of invitation to any individual requesting one. It should be understood that an invitation is intended to help potential participants raise travel funds or obtain a visa. It is not a commitment on the part of the conference to provide any financial support.

Currency and banks

Finnish currency is the euro (€). One US$ equals approximately 1 €.

Most Finnish services accept major credit cards. Facilities for cashing travellers' cheques in Finland are available at banks (opening hours 9:30-16:00) and at most hotels. Banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays except for banks at the Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport. Foreign exchange agencies have more flexible opening hours. The "Forex" office at the railway station is open 8:00-21:00 every day.

Tipping

Tipping is not expected in Finland. Rounding up the bill is completely within your discretion.

Electricity

The mains voltage in Finland is 230 V (50 Hz). Plugs and sockets are the same as in most countries of Continental Europe. In case your equipment requires different voltage, an electrical transformer will be needed.

Climate and clothing

Temperatures in August on the average are +16 - +20 °C. Warmer clothing is advisable for evening outdoor wear. The possibility of rainy weather cannot be excluded.

For weather forecast, please visit Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Time difference

In August, summer time in Finland is 3 hours ahead of Universal Time.

Public transportation in Helsinki

The public transportation system of Helsinki includes bus, tram, underground (metro marked with "M") and train services, and the Suomenlinna ferry. A single ticket (2 € bought from the driver, 1.40 € prepaid, for all services) is valid for one hour inside the Helsinki city limits. A tram ticket costs less (1.50 € bought from the driver, 1 € prepaid) but includes no right of transfer. See Helsinki City Transport.

N.B. Aleksanterinkatu will be renovated during the summer of 2002. Due to extensive road construction work on Aleksanterinkatu, trams 2, 3B, 3T and 4 will follow temporary routes for a half-year period including the conference dates. Also 7A and 7B have been diverted from Aleksanterinkatu.

Taxis are reliable and readily available at designated taxi stands or by calling in advance. Taxis have meters indicating the fare and tips are unnecessary.

Helsinki Festival

The annual Helsinki Festival will commence immediately following the conference. The festival program includes names like Sara Tavares, Mísia, Radio Tarifa, Mari Boine, Sussan Deyhim, Jonna Tervomaa, Maaria Wirkkala, Paul Auster, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, UMO Jazz Orchestra, Hagen Quartet, Kaija Saariaho, Schauspielhaus Zürich, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Susanna Mälkki, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Olli Mustonen, Emio Greco, Frank O. Gehry, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Insurance

The Conference Organisers cannot accept liability for personal injuries sustained, for loss of, or damage to, property belonging to conference participants (or accompanying persons), either during or as a result of the conference and/or tours. Please check the validity of your own insurance.

Liability

The Conference Organisation and the Conference Agency (TSG-Congress Ltd) act as agents only in securing hotels, transport and travel services and shall in no event be liable for acts or defaults in the event of injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity of any kind whatsoever during arrangements organised through contractors or the employees of such contractors in carrying out services. Hotel and transportation services are subject to the terms and conditions under which they are offered to the public in general. The Conference Organisation and the Conference Agency reserve the right to make changes where deemed necessary, without prior notice to parties concerned. All disputes are subject to Finnish Law.