ref 2014


The Department has an international reputation for the quality of its research. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), 92% of our research work was rated either world leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) in terms of its originality, significance and rigour. We have a REF grade point average (GPA) of 3.39, ranking us 5th out of 89 computer science 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.

Research groups

Our research activities are split into research groups. Each of the following links leads to the group's own website:

Computational Biology

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.

Computer Graphics and Virtual Reality

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

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

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.

Organisations, Information and Knowledge

OAK focuses on knowledge and information management over large scale. The research covers 3 main areas:

  • How to capture information over large scale (the Web, the Social Web, distributed organisational archives, mobile devices, drones, sensors, etc.)
  • How to use the captured information (e.g. for knowledge management, business intelligence, customer analysis, management of large scale events via social media, etc.)
  • How to communicate the information (to final users, problem owners, etc.).

Applications areas cover a very wide range from aerospace, to smart cities, environment monitoring, bioinformatics, etc.

Speech and Hearing

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.

Verification and Testing

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.