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ISTeC building

Centre for Computer Science and Informatics



The Computing and Informatics Research Centre’s (CIRC) unifying and overarching research vision is ‘Enabling Digital Technology’ and is grounded in high-quality, interdisciplinary work with expertise in advanced computer science topics with links to partners from both academia and industry. The CIRC’s research is delivered by four groups:

  • Interactive Systems (IS) – technologies for the cognitive and physical rehabilitation of users within the real world, and the promotion of their mental wellbeing.
  • Computational Intelligence and Applications (CIA) – research on computationally intelligent methods and techniques to real-world applications targeting enhanced living and society.
  • Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Robotics (CNCR) – research into computational intelligence techniques that takes inspiration and learning from medicine and neuroscience.
  • Network Infrastructures, Computing and Cyber Security (NICCS) – research into network technologies that underpin today's connected world with emphasis on middleware technologies, cloud-based systems, classical and quantum computing, and security and mobile systems.

The CIRC is harnessing Enabling Technologies, such as, machine learning, AI, advanced display technologies (including VR, AR, XR), intelligent sensors, IoT, and robotics to drive advances in health, education and wellbeing. Some notably CIRC advances made in the area of health, education and wellbeing extend to prediction and staging of cancers, physical rehabilitation, mental health, care of the elderly, education through personalised learning systems so that all learners are supported to reach their full potential, and intelligent transportation systems with positive environmental impacts. Our strategy is strongly user-focused, interdisciplinary, informs our future research intentions through the construction of high-spec computing research facilities, and coincides with three NTU strategic research themes.

Related Groups and Projects

  • Interactive Systems

    Interactive Systems is dedicated to combining an unstinting commitment to user-centred approaches with the utility of enabling technologies to drive radical changes in health, education and mental wellbeing.  IS research in virtual environments, augmented reality, affective computing, serious games, digital game making, robotics, computational intelligence, advanced sensors, and interaction are driving improvements in the performance and capabilities of users, especially those with learning disabilities and autism, those recovering from stroke, those who experience health inequalities due to their ethnicity, and those experiencing mental health and wellbeing issues – all of which is congruent to CIRC’s vision of ‘Enabling Digital Technology’.

    IS’s vision is to view our research environment as not ending at the outer physical boundaries of our campuses, but as extending into the communities we work with and serve at local, national and international level. IS research focus is thus fivefold:

    1) to combine our commitment to user centred approaches with the power of enabling technologies to drive improvements in the health, education and mental wellbeing of underserved communities;

    2) to exploit our specialist infrastructure, facilities and investments in people to foster and sustain meaningful and effective collaboration with end user groups;

    3) to prioritise the use of rigorous computer methods to analyse the impact of our interventions with underserved populations, and to use this knowledge to inform public policy;

    4) to position end users from underserved populations not as participants but as co-researchers, and;

    5) to extend the reach and effectiveness of our collaboration with end user groups, industry and academia.

    Notable recent projects include:

  • Network Infrastructures and Cyber Security

    Network Infrastructures and Cyber Security (NICCS)'s strategic vision is to spearhead current networking technologies and infrastructures deployment through research in ad-hoc networks, peer-to-peer communications and advanced mobile networking. The application of the group’s research extends to traffic information systems for connected and autonomous vehicles, mobile networking for health applications, mobile security, secure network deployment for energy efficiency applications. Our strategy for impactful research firmly aligns us to CIRC’s over-arching vision of ‘Enabling Digital Technology’.

    Specific research and impact aims are fourfold:

    1) to combine sensor data and novel network infrastructures to achieve energy efficiency in dwellings across cities;

    2) to use novel mobile technologies for increasing the effectiveness of mobile applications in health and wellbeing;

    3) to use mobile networking approaches in connected and autonomous vehicles domains, and;

    4) to use our expertise to inform and influence industry through our novel teaching and learning materials recognised and approved by industry and Transport Systems Catapult.

    Notable recent projects include:

  • Computational Intelligence and Applications

  • Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Robotics

    Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Robotics (CNCR) is dedicated to research into computational intelligence, bioinspired learning and reasoning, working at the interfaces of computing, robotics, bioscience and neuroscience. Group strengths arise from its expertise in computational intelligence, AI and machine learning, and the fact that it exploits both software modelling and hardware emulations in its work. CNCR collaborations in neuroscience and robotic systems research, grounded on a firm foundation of neural modelling, positions it very appropriately for national and international funding and a key contributor to the overarching ‘Enabling Digital Technology’ research theme.

    CNCR places strong emphasis on modelling that incorporates large data volumes and also encompasses the development of learning algorithms for big data, data analytics and deep learning. Emphasis on modelling extends also to biological sensory systems in our research, particularly visual, tactile and auditory sensory modalities and the implementation of biological learning in both hardware (in particular, Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) where CNCR has one of the largest FPGA HPC systems in the UK) and in software. Indeed, CNCR’s strengths in modelling have and continues to inform the group’s strategic vision.

    Notable recent projects include:

    EU FP7 Si–Elegans will provide the scientific community with a reconfigurable, scalable and modular neuromimetic open-access computational platform to explore neural principles that give rise to complex behaviour and to derive a neuro-inspired technological blueprint for a new era of brain-like computational architectures.


We maximise the impact of our research through new major interdisciplinary research facilities spearheaded by the Computing and Informatics Research Centre (CIRC) – a research facility that achieved 80% world-leading or internationally excellent research impact (REF 2014) and houses the Unit’s four specialist research groups. CIRC has been supported by investment in the £8M Mary Ann Evans building with a variety of electronic and communication laboratories. We also enjoy access to a range of other facilities including:

  • Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Centre (ISTeC) – a £13M computational research facility for project-based work and its application to the real-world.
  • Medical Technologies Innovation Facility (MTIF) – a £22M medical research, computing-orientated facility aimed at improving patient care via research collaborations to develop products and materials.
  • Institute of Industrial Digitalisation (IDI) – a £23M research facility focusing on opportunities and challenges connected to Industry 4.0: digitalisation, robotics, Internet of Things, and smart future factories.
  • Smart house – a facility which takes the form of a typical home and instrumented with a wide-ranging collection of sensors to detect and detail all possible movements.

PhD Studentships

We’re offering fully-funded PhD studentships aligned with our research centres for UK, EU or International students. Find out more about our PhD studentships

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Professor David J Brown