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The Department's Research

Birkbeck has been at the forefront of computer science research since one of the first electronic computers was developed by Dr Andrew Booth and his colleagues in the then "Computing Laboratory". The department was formally established in 1957 as the Department of Numerical Automation, one of the first computer science departments world-wide.

Today, the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems is a world-class centre of expertise in algorithms, data analytics, data management, experimental data science, knowledge representation, and program verification. We engage in a broad spectrum of both fundamental and applied research. We host two research centres, Birkbeck Knowledge Lab and the newly established Birkbeck Institute for Data Analytics.

In REF 2014, almost all of the Department's research activity was judged as being of international significance, with 21% being world-leading, 47% internationally excellent, and 20% internationally recognised. For research outputs specifically, 32% were judged as being world-leading, 45% as internationally excellent and 16% as internationally recognised.

There are three main research groups in the Department: Algorithms, Software and Verification; Experimental Data Science; and Knowledge Representation and Data Management. These groups form the focus for our discipline-specific research. In addition, informal interest groups emerge and evolve over time within and between these main groups, for example in search engine technology, sensor networks, semantic web, computer vision, cluster analysis, adaptive systems and learning environments.

There are two main interdisciplinary research activities: the Birkbeck Knowledge Lab and the Birkbeck Institute for Data Analytics. The Birkbeck Knowledge Lab is a unique collaboration of experts from computer science, education, psychology, language, museum studies, cultural heritage, information systems and organisational psychology, exploring the ways in which digital technologies and digital information are transforming our learning, working and cultural lives. The new BIDA institute develops research as a multi-dimensional discipline combining statistics, computing, operational research and domain-specific knowledge. We also collaborate in the Institute for Structural Molecular Biology together with several other departments from Birkbeck and University College London.