Computer Science and Informatics

Information on the research and impact of computer sciences and informatics at the University of Dundee.

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Research within this cluster leverages fundamental computer science expertise in artificial intelligence, machine learning and user experience to enhance Human Health & Well-being and empower society through technology.

This is achieved by having an end-to-end impact across the University in data acquisition, processing, and producing human-understandable output. This work is represented by:

  • Argument Technology (Arg-Tech) addresses theoretical and practical aspects of argumentation within artificial intelligence with applications to various significant societal challenges.
  • Computing Theory & Methodologies (CT&M) addresses modern computing systems' foundational, methodological, and architectural aspects.
  • Human-Centred Computing (HCC) focuses on Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC) and User Experience (UX) and developing intelligent and multimodal technologies within AAC.
  • Medical Image Analysis & Computer Vision (MIA&CV) develops and applies visual data analysis and machine learning for biomedical, space exploration, and vision applications. The group delivers translational research into deep learning in clinical medicine, mainly in diagnosis, and their contribution to space navigation and guidance systems.


Technologies developed by Arg-Tech have been and are being adopted by the BBC for enhancing critical-thinking skills in areas of social and political debate, including the detection of “fake news” – one impact case study was submitted to REF2021 with a broad reach, including influence on UK and EU policy – and for enhancing the work of the Defence Intelligence sector, inter alia. A significant proportion of the group's income comes from contracts with the BBC, DSTL and other third-sector parties.

The impact of medical translational activities in MIA&CV includes VAMPIRE (Vascular Assessment and Measurement Platform for Images of the REtina), a software application for efficient, semi-automatic quantification of retinal vessel properties with large collections of fundus camera images, which is also an international collaborative project of several image processing groups and clinical centres in Europe, Asia and the UK.

An impact case study was submitted to REF2021 on the Planet and Asteroid Natural Scene Generation Utility (PANGU), a tool for testing and developing space navigation and guidance systems that have been critical to multiple missions, including the recent ESA ExoMars Rover and Surface Platform mission.

HCC are working with the foremost companies in accessibility and assistive technology to harness artificial intelligence and user experience to support and enhance interaction for individuals with little or no functional speech to communicate. This work impacts policy across the four national governments by developing a new profession in Educational Assistive Technology.

Through our User Centre, we support groups of people of varying skills and abilities to meet to learn and help each other in a friendly environment emphasising accessibility. Examples include the Tap and Talk Aphasia iPad Group established by members of the local Speakeasy group together with the Speech and Language Therapy adult service of NHS Tayside to help adults with aphasia using iPads to support communication and the Straight Talking Group of adults with complex disabilities who use a range of Augmentative and Alternative Communication techniques.

Contribution to the strategic themes

Enhancing Human Health and Wellbeing

  • Developing new AI tools for disease diagnosis and risk prediction
  • Medical diagnosis (MIA&CV)
  • Developing accessible and assistive technology combining skills from researchers in computing, psychology, design, and medicine (HCC)

Empowering Society through Science and Technology

  • Designing for diverse users and situations to understand and address challenges that exist when people use technology to actively participate in society actively, enabling and supporting communication and interaction among groups of people with special needs (HCC)
  • Developing and applying argumentation and AI techniques to real-world applications such as intelligence and defence, law, and democracy societal discourse (Arg-Tech)

Research cluster lead