About our research

The Department of Computer Science at York carries out fundamental research that is setting the agenda in the discipline; it also works extensively with industry, translating research results into usable solutions.
Fundamental work includes developing novel forms of computation, e.g. quantum and biologically inspired algorithms. It is also involved in real-world applications, involving the development and assurance of large-scale and autonomous systems, development and analysis of interactive games, and the design and evaluation of computer systems for the elderly and impaired.
In both foundational research and in these application domains, many of the challenges are interdisciplinary, and involve the interaction of computing with other technologies and disciplines. Thus the Department has strong working links with disciplines and departments as diverse as Electronic Engineering, Mathematics, Medieval Studies, Psychology and Theatre, Film and TV in York, and many others internationally.

Our REF results

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 results ranked York's Computer Science:

  • 7th overall in the UK;
  • 5th for impact;
  • 6th for environment.

This result confirms the long-standing global reach and real-world significance of our research and makes us one of best departments in the country for nurturing excellent research by staff and research students alike. All aspects of our impact and environment were judged to be of world-leading or international standard.

As the Head of Department said at the time: "York Computer Science has always aimed to give excellent support for the production of great research that excites the academic community and has profound real-world effect. The REF 2014 results confirm our outstanding research achievements to date. Our staff and students' creativity, expertise and enthusiasm will allow us to build on this success over the coming years."

Research Group Structure

We currently have eleven research groups within the Department, covering the following areas:

  • Advanced Computer Architectures
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Cyber Security
  • Enterprise Systems
  • Games
  • High Integrity Systems Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Non-Standard Computation
  • Programming Languages and Systems
  • Real-Time Systems

For more information about our research groups please visit the research groups page.

Research Themes and Centres

As many of the interesting problems facing computer science are inter-disciplinary the need for work across disciplines is reflected in our four major themes and four interdisciplinary research centres.

The main themes are:

  • Critical Systems: design, modelling, implementation and verification of autonomous, cyber-physical, embedded, real-time, enterprise and secure systems.
  • Health, Well-Being and Human-Centred Computing: including image analysis and healthcare informatics; 
  • Analytics: including AI, analytics for games and eSports;
  • Beyond Human Vision: novel approaches and algorithms for computer vision, pattern recognition and face analysis.

The four research centres, all of which span several departments, are:

  • York Centre for Complex Systems Analysis (YCCSA): mathematical, computational and analytical methods and tools for the analysis and modelling of complex systems.
  • Digital Creativity Labs (DC Labs): impact driven research in games and interactive media space, including eSports.
  • Quantum Communications Hub: including work on quantum cryptography and sensing. 
  • Safety of Autonomy Centre: (currently being established with funding from the Lloyd's Register Foundation) focussing upon the safety of complex computer-based systems.

Research Facilities

The University has maintained a consistent policy of investing in Computer Science. This can be seen in our move to the campus expansion at Heslington East, where we are now housed in purpose-built accommodation. This includes space for the major centres, e.g. the DC Labs and YCCSA, and purpose-built laboratories, e.g. for robotics and to support the work of the human-computer interaction group.

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