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Computational Intelligence and Applications Research Group (CIA)

Unit(s) of assessment: Computer Science and Informatics

School: School of Science and Technology

Welcome to CIA

Computational Intelligence and Applications (CIA) Research Group at Nottingham Trent University is conducting research on computationally intelligent methods and techniques for real-world applications targeting enhanced living and society.

The CIA Research Group has expertise in the analysis and use of methods from the field of artificial intelligence, such as artificial neural networks, evolutionary algorithms and data analysis to solve real-world problems from science and engineering. The research group has also expertise in smart environments, ambient assistive technologies, pervasive computing, intelligent modelling, control and robotics.

The Research Group has access to research facilities, including high-performance computing, a variety of sensors, actuators and communication devices, different assistive robotic platforms and a smart home facility.

Our Focus

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) Applications
  • Machine Learning (ML) Tools and Techniques
  • Deep Learning and Transfer Learning
  • Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN)
  • Smart Environments and Ambient Intelligence (AmI)
  • Independent Living
  • Assistive Robotics
  • Abnormality Detection
  • Quantum Computing
  • Sustainable Computing
  • Internet-of-Everything-Everywhere (IoE2)

The research group seeks to address the challenges which require computationally intelligent methods and techniques for real-world applications that can make a difference in lives and society, including:

  • Support independent living of older adults by means of equipping homes with sensor networks to monitor system user behaviour.
  • Provide assistive solutions to patients suffering from mild cognitive impairment.
  • Assistive robotics application to help with independent living.
  • Providing technological solutions that promote a sustainable environment, in accordance with UK and UN strategies and targets concerning issues such as net-zero emissions and sustainable production in industry, agriculture and forestry.
  • Digital Ecosystems

We are looking to generate research income through EPSRC, InnovateUK, NIHR, EU Horizon and other industrial partners.

Core services we offer include:

  • Consultancy services to help businesses and organisations implement artificial intelligence technologies, develop strategies, and identify opportunities.
  • Analyse large amounts of data and develop models to extract insights from that data. Our expertise is mainly in analysing the data related to healthcare.
  • Develop and train machine learning and deep learning models to be used for a variety of applications, including image recognition, natural language processing (NLP), and speech recognition.
  • Develop and implement robotics and automation technologies. Considering the diversity in the application of robotics, our expertise is the area of assistive robotics.
  • Develop computer vision technologies, including object recognition, facial recognition, and image analysis.
  • Help businesses and organisations navigate the ethical and governance challenges associated with AI technologies.

SmartNTU (Smart Home):

A typical home instrumented with a range of sensors; detecting everything from the opening of a cupboard to getting up from bed. Data is logged continuously so that it can be processed and evaluated. All sensor data are stored in a dedicated server which can be accessed remotely. Experiments can be conducted over a period of hours or even days, as this is a fully functional home.

Hydra Cluster

The Hydra High Performance Computing (HPC) facility is made out of 320 Field Programmable Gate Array’s (FPGA’s) and networked control computers.  The facility is a reconfigurable HPC system which can be used for numerous highly parallelised applications.

Assistive Robots

A robot arena with state-of-the-art assistive robotic platforms (e.g. iit iCub, SoftBank Pepper, SoftBank NAO, Temi, Rethink Baxter, Rethink Sawyer, Double 3) with specialist computing labs including networking, security, games, data science and high-performance computing.


In addition to the assistive robots, the group has access to the following robot platforms as well:

  • FIFISH V6 VR Underwater Rov Robot
  • Universal Robot UR5
  • Unitree Go1

Selected Partners and Collaborators

The number of partners addresses NTU’s research strategy by focusing research and is external facing, with the potential to provide high quality outputs. The PhD experience is significantly enhanced by providing real world, high impact research projects to potential students.

  • Tokyo Metropolitan University, Japan
  • University of Coimbra, Portugal
  • Institute of Systems and Robotics, Portugal
  • Instituto Pedro Nunes, Portugal
  • Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
  • Environment Agency
  • Trent Rivers Trust
  • NTU Smart Wireless Innovation Facility (SWIFt)

Group Projects

Intelligent Care Guidance and Learning Services Platform for Informal Carers of the Elderly (iCarer)

The iCarer project developed a personalised and adaptive platform to offer informal carers support by means of monitoring activities of daily care, as well as their psychological state, and providing an orientation to help them improve the care provided. Monitored information will be registered by means of home-installed and personal sensors, which will be as inconspicuous as possible for the house inhabitants.

Energy Efficiency in Social Housing

Nottingham City Homes (NCH), in partnership with Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has conducted this research to better understand energy usage in social housing. The project aims to monitor energy usage of a sample of current NCH housing stocks.

Underwater Plastic Detection

Plastics thrown away by humans are normally transported to the oceans by rivers. It is not clear how much plastic is transported every year from land to sea because of a lack of metrics and standard monitorisation techniques.

Digital Displays of Nature to Improve Mental Health

Use of biophilic design and smart environments to recognise the human instinct to connect with nature and the mental health benefits this can bring, such as reducing stress, anxiety and depression, and improving cognitive function.

Quantum Intelligence Research

We recognise the great potential of the massive parallelism provided by Quantum Computing in the near future. The research on Quantum Intelligence in CIA focuses on exploring the new advancements of AI-Quantum hybrid methods that can lead to novel real-world intelligent systems in (but not limited to) smart living, cryptography, finance, and chemical structure design. The research has also extended to quantum-inspired algorithms where Hight-Power Computers (e.g., our Hydra Cluster facilities or cloud-based resources) are being used as simulation platforms for quantum intelligence.

CIFAKE - Classification and Explainable Identification of AI-Generated Synthetic Images

AI-generated images have rapidly improved recently, and the ability to detect them is becoming a critical necessity to ensure the authenticity and trustworthiness of image data. AI models have even beaten humans in art competitions!

Signature Verification

Machine learning is often employed to detect real and forged signatures. However, robotic arms and generative models can overcome these systems and mount false-acceptance attacks. Our research results show that there are exclusive behaviours to human and robotic forgers, suggesting that a system trained wholly on human forgeries can be easily attacked by robots to gain false-positive verification. The results after fine-tuning are effective, showing that such attacks can be prevented now, rather than after the first consumer robot-based forgery crime has been committed.

Fall Detection and Privacy-preserving Human Behaviour Monitoring Through Thermal Vision

Thermal Sensor Array (TSA)  in combination with appropriate Computational Intelligence techniques, can be used as an approach for a low-cost, non-contact, and privacy-preserving human behaviour monitoring.

Group research output

Peer Reviewed Journal Publications (within last 5 years)

Conferences (within last 5 years)

  • ANDRADA, M.E., FERREIRA, J.F., PORTUGAL, D. and COUCEIRO, M.S., 2022. Integration of an artificial perception system for identification of live flammable material in forestry robotics. In: Proceedings of the 2022 IEEE/SICE International Symposium on System Integration (SII). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), pp. 103-108. ISBN 9781665445399
  • MACHADO, P., BONNELL, J., BRANDENBURGH, S., FERREIRA, J.F., PORTUGAL, D. and COUCEIRO, M., 2021. Robotics use case scenarios. In: M. JAHRE, D. GÖHRINGER and P. MILLET, eds., Towards ubiquitous low-power image processing platforms. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, pp. 151-172. ISBN 9783030535315 (Forthcoming)
  • PORTUGAL, D., FERREIRA, J.F. and COUCEIRO, M.S., 2020. Requirements specification and integration architecture for perception in a cooperative team of forestry robots. In: M. RUSSO, X. DONG and A. MOHAMMAD, eds., Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems: 21st Annual Conference, TAROS 2020, Nottingham, UK, September 16, 2020, Proceedings. Lecture notes in computer science (12228). Cham: Springer, pp. 329-344. ISBN 9783030634858
  • MARTINS, G.S., FERREIRA, J.F., PORTUGAL, D. and COUCEIRO, M.S., 2019. MoDSeM: towards semantic mapping with distributed robots. In: K. ALTHOEFER, J. KONSTANTINOVA and K. ZHANG, eds., Towards autonomous robotic systems. Proceedings of the 20th Annual Conference, TAROS 2019, London, 3-5 July 2019. Part II. Lecture notes in computer science (11650). Cham: Springer, pp. 131-142. ISBN 9783030253318

Invited Guest Lectures (within last 5 years)

Research Datasets and Databases (within last 5 years)