The Department has an international reputation for the quality of its research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), 65% of our research work was rated world leading or internationally excellent in terms of its originality, significance and rigour. According to the widely used "research power" measure (research quality multiplied by volume) the Department is ranked 15th out of 81 similar departments in the UK.
A collaborative approach
There are many local and international collaborations in both research and teaching within the Department. Some of the companies that support our research and teaching include Daimler-Chrysler, Glaxo Welcome, Motorola and Nokia. In particular, Daimler-Chrysler has chosen the Department as one of its very few Distinguished Academic Partners.
Our research activities are split into research groups. Each of the following links leads to the group's own website:
The promise of being able to use the power of computers and of recent computational and mathematical modelling techniques to understand and predict important aspects of the behaviour of biological systems is an exciting and vitally important opportunity for medicine and biology.
The Computational Biology Group is at the forefront of this endeavour and is working extremely closely with experimental biologists and clinicians in building realistic and useful models of biological phenomena from the molecular level, to the cellular, tissue, organismal and social levels.
The Computer Graphics and Virtual Reality group mixes visual creativity, programming, mathematics, and an understanding of people and interfaces. We create virtual characters, serious games, and GPU-based solutions for science and engineering problems, and study presence and behaviour in virtual worlds.
Machine learning is a diverse subject with many application areas. We are interested in the development of computational algorithms suitable for data-driven models which are applicable in the extraction of useful information from large and complex datasets. Members of the group have specific topics of interests (uncertainty caused by numerical representations, nonstationary signal processing and Bayesian probabilistic models), but we also collaborate effectively on problems of common interests which have applications in Speech, Natural Language Processing and Computational Biology.
Natural Language Processing (NLP) is both a modern computational technology and a method of investigating and evaluating claims about human language itself. Our major emphases in research are on the use of coded representations of meaning content, belief and knowledge, on Machine Learning techniques to derive our data from sources like the web, and on the provision of software architectures to underpin NLP research. Our GATE architecture has been installed at thousands of sites world-wide. We also see processing language on computers as a major route to understanding how the mind works, the traditional goal of Artificial Intelligence. We see NLP as the main way of using and coping with the world wide web, which means bringing intelligent machines and knowledge, including all scientific knowledge, into contact with people through conversation technology, as well as being a principal contributor to the future of electronic games and entertainment.
The NRG group specialises in robotics, and the development of biologically inspired methods for robot and simulated robot control.
The Organisations, Information and Knowledge (OAK) Group does research on, and provide applications of, Information and Knowledge Technologies for tomorrow's Web, with a particular focus on their use for Knowledge Management.
The Speech and Hearing Research Group (SpandH) is concerned with:
- Computational modelling of auditory and speech perception in humans and machines
- Robustness in speech recognition
- Large vocabulary speech recognition systems and their applications
An aspect of the group which makes it unique in the United Kingdom is the wide spectrum of research topics covered, from the psychology of hearing through to the engineering of large vocabulary speech recognition systems. It is our belief that studies at different points in this spectrum can and should be mutually beneficial.
The Verification and Testing (VT) group's research interests cover a wide range of core topics in formal systems development and theoretical foundations of computing, software engineering and testing. Computational modelling in many forms lies at the heart of the group's work. Because of this broad range and the tradition of a holistic approach to the field the group prides itself in developing research interests that integrate all these aspects. There is a genuine interest in developing rigorous theories that underpin robust software development techniques and methods as well as a large variety of modelling approaches for complex systems and various phenomena.