UoA 23: Computer Science and Informatics

Research in Computer Science and Informatics at UCL is centred on the Department of Computer Science, its constituent groups and the interdisciplinary research centres within which much of the research is conducted. It is brought together by a clear focus on experimental computer science; that is we are concerned with real-world data and observations about computer and software systems and their use. We develop theory that leads to hypotheses that can be checked experimentally, and where experimentation delivers results forming a basis for theory. This shared experimental orientation, which emphasises measurement, methodological rigour and ultimately reproducibility, not only binds together our research but determines our strategy and policy towards recruitment, directs our investment and underpins our research education.

Experimentation in this broad sense has always distinguished UCL Computer Science (UCL-CS). There has been a marked trend during the last decade in many core computer science disciplines, notably in software engineering, networking, human computer interaction, virtual environments and image processing towards experimentation. We have established UCL-CS as a leading centre for research in experimental computer science in Europe.

UCL is a leading UK research-intensive institution, notable for its strength across the disciplinary spectrum including Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences, Laws and Physical Sciences. UCL has a significant concentration of research in Life Sciences and Biomedical Sciences.

UCL is organised into Faculties reflecting broad disciplinary groupings. The primary building blocks of the Faculties are Departments. Interdisciplinary Centres can reside wholly within Faculties or may be shared. The Department of Computer Science is part of the Faculty of Engineering Sciences; this reflects both our outlook and our close collaboration, notably with Medical Physics & Bioengineering and Electronic & Electrical Engineering. Members of the Department of Medical Physics are for example an important and integral part of this submission. Collaboration between Departments extends significantly beyond the Faculty of Engineering Sciences. This submission includes staff from the Department of Psychology (Life Sciences) and the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit (Biomedical Sciences).

Our research should not be seen in isolation. We also contribute towards the excellence of UCL’s overall research profile by applying computer science to important scientific questions asked, and answered, within other disciplines. These links are so extensive that they cannot be catalogued in their entirety but they can be readily inferred from joint publications and funding.

Important and longstanding links include those with the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (through the work of the Bloomsbury Centre for Bioinformatics, Prof. Christine Orengo), the Department of Chemistry (in close collaboration with the Centre for Computational Science, Prof. Peter Coveney, Prof. Sally Price and Prof. Richard Catlow), CHIME - the UCL Centre for Health Informatics and Multi-professional Education (Prof. David Ingram, Dr. Dipak Kalra), the Department of Oncology (Prof. Richard Begent), the Bartlett School of Architecture (through the work of the VR Centre for the Built Environment, Prof. Alan Penn), CoMPLEX – the UCL Centre for Mathematics and Physics in the Experimental Life Sciences (comprising links with a broad range of Departments including Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology, directed by Prof. Anne Warner and Prof. Andrew Pomiankowski), the Institute for Structural Molecular Biology (through direct links with the Bloomsbury Centre for Bioinformatics, Prof. Gabriel Waksman), the Gatsby Centre for Computational Neuroscience and the Department of Statistical Science (both as contributors to the Centre for Computational Statistics & Machine Learning, Prof Peter Dayan, Prof. Tom Fearn, Prof. Trevor Sweeting), the Department of Psychology (directly through the UCL Interaction Centre and also work with Dr. Chris Barker, Dr. Nancy Pistrang and Prof. Paul Bebbington).

The Centre for Medical Image Computing (CMIC), part of this submission, has extensive links across the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, in particular with the Institute of Neurology, the Institute of Child Health and imaging activities at UCLH in Radiology, Surgery, Oncology and the Institute of Nuclear Medicine. CMIC is closely involved in the Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre awarded to UCLH. There are also links with the London Centre for Nanotechnology (Profs. Mike Horton and Quentin Pankhurst).

There are formal collaborative links with UK institutions. The Bloomsbury Centre for Bioinformatics is joint with Birkbeck College, a longstanding link that encompasses both computing and structural biology. London Software Systems is an established collaboration with the Department of Computing at Imperial College London in software engineering. A Cancer Imaging Centre is being developed with Kings College London.

The research activity for UoA 23 is largely but not exclusively based in the Department of Computer Science at UCL. The department has eight research groups. Research Groups have a relatively tight disciplinary focus while Research Centres are broader and generally interdisciplinary. Research Centres are independently managed, jointly with partners from within UCL and from other institutions. This is a flexible and robust structure. Members of Centres, whose research falls within the remit of UoA 23 but are not within the Department of Computer Science, form a key part of this submission (indicated by • in the Table). There are rich informal links between research groups, realised in projects and publications. Examples of these cross-links between groups are shown in the Table. The Table also shows the (shaded) overlap between Groups and Centres, and between Centres and our Partners.

UoA 23 Research Group Table

Download full text of the RA5a statement for Computer Science and Informatics (pdf 264Kb)

Staff names below link to submitted publications:

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Page last modified on 19 feb 08 14:48