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Research in the School of Electronics and Computer Science

Future technologies for our future world

Photo: Andy Vowles

The MountbattenBuilding is a £100m investment in UK science and technology, which will lead the country’s research in nanotechnology and photonics.

Research in ECS

Future technologies for our future world The School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton is world-class, research-led and multidisciplinary. The largest and most distinguished School of its kind in the UK, it has a worldwide reputation for its education, research and enterprise. This brochure presents an overview of the School’s research, profiling some of our academic staff and students, and highlighting some of our achievements over recent years.

Contents Introduction The PhD programme Doctoral Training Centres - Web Science - Institute for Complex Systems Simulation

4 6 8

iPhD EPrints - ECS Research available on the Web ECS Research groups Communications Dependable Systems and Software Engineering Electrical Power Engineering Electronic Systems and Devices Information: Signals, Images, Systems Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia Learning Societies Lab Nano Pervasive Systems Centre Science and Engineering of Natural Systems

10 11 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30

Research Centres and Institutes in ECS Postgraduate funding opportunities The University and City

32 34 35

Our world-leading facilities are central to our research capabilities and success - the Mountbatten Building, opened in 2008, is the leading cleanroom facility in Europe, with a unique range of equipment for future research in nanotechnology.



The School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton has been at the forefront of research and technology development for over 60 years. Today the School continues to define and develop substantial new areas of research that impact on the fast-changing world in which we live. ECS is the leading university department of its kind in the UK, with an international reputation for world-class research across computer science, electronics and electrical engineering. ECS is unique in the UK through its integration of its core subjects, its distinguished record of research success over many years and, especially, through the scale of its research activities. There are currently over 500 researchers in the School, all working at the leading edge of technology in areas such as digital applications to improve healthcare, transport, security and the environment, new devices for sensing and mobile communications, innovative ways to assess climate change and provide more efficient power generation, and the interface of biomedicine with new computing paradigms. ECS has a global reputation for its ability to define and develop new areas of research. One of the most important aspects of the School’s distinguished history was the invention and development of the fibre optic cable, which transformed the potential of global communications. This spirit of innovation characterizes all the School’s endeavours. Our recent ‘world firsts’ include harvesting energy from vibration (for example to power heart pacemakers), the establishment of the new discipline of Web Science, the first robot to be controlled by living cells, and the development of the world's first biometrics tunnel. The most widely used email protection system, MailScanner, was developed in ECS and continues to be run from the School; every day it protects 1 billion emails in government departments, global agencies, and major multinational companies.

Our Faculty includes some of the world’s most celebrated researchers, including Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, Professor Dame Wendy Hall, President of the Association for Computing Machinery, the world's largest organization for computing professionals, Professor Lajos Hanzo, who has probably contributed more than any other individual to wireless multimedia communications, Professor Hiroshi Mizuta, who is leading research on developing new types of silicon-based devices which will create advanced functionalities at the nanoscale, Professor Stevan Harnad who leads the global campaign to increase access to research online, and Professor Nick Jennings, one of the world’s leading researchers in AI and agent technologies. The far-reaching and transformative effects of the research being undertaken in ECS can be gauged by our distinguished research partners, such as BAE Systems, Philips, ARM, BT, Microsoft, and Rolls Royce. Our current research portfolio is worth £65m, and our annual grant income is around £15m annually. In addition to our collaborative research we also have a strong reputation for the establishment of spin-out companies, particularly in the area of photonics and telecommunications.

‘As a world-class research school, we offer the best possible environment in which to undertake postgraduate research. The School’s 10 research groups all have international reputations, and our faculty includes some of the world’s leading researchers. A substantial element in our success is the strength of our research students and their contribution to our research projects.’ Professor Nigel Shadbolt Deputy Head of School (Research) Professor Nigel Shadbolt is currently advising the UK Government on the release of public data.


ECS is a place where things happen ...

Biometrics are an increasingly important aspect of security systems in public places. ECS houses the world’s only biometrics tunnel, a special research facility built to advance the pioneering research of Professor Mark Nixon and Dr John Carter.

ECS research – ranked world class In the UK the quality of a university department’s research activities is regularly assessed and the findings published. This is done through the ‘Research Assessment Exercise’ (RAE), a very large-scale initiative, backed by the UK government, and held every seven years or so. The RAE thoroughly examines all university research against a number of criteria, mostly focused on the international excellence and influence of the research. ECS is internationally renowned for its research and has achieved outstanding results in the RAEs. In previous RAEs, ECS received the top ratings of 5* for its research across the board - in Computer Science and IT, Electrical Engineering, and Electronics. Indeed, in 2003, ECS was awarded a special ‘Best 5*’ rating, reflecting the fact that it had achieved the 5* rating in both 1996 and 2001. The latest RAE was held in 2008, and again ECS achieved exceptional success. The methodology of the Exercise had changed slightly, with the top rating now being 4*, rather than 5*, and ECS was again ranked at the highest level. In the 2008 RAE Computer Science and IT at ECS was ranked joint second in the UK for the quality of its research, with 85 per cent of its research work receiving either the top 4* rating (defined as ‘world leading’) or the 3* rating (‘internationally excellent’). In Electronics and Electrical Engineering (in which ECS was assessed jointly with the University’s Optoelectronics Research Centre),* ECS (and the ORC) came second in the ‘medals’ tables, with 42 researchers rated as achieving research of either world-leading or internationally excellent quality (4* or 3*). Overall ECS submitted 106 staff to this Research Assessment Exercise, and 97.5 per cent of their research work was deemed to be of international standard.

‘This is an excellent outcome for the School. We have achieved outstandingly good results and demonstrated once again that the driving force for the School remains its commitment to research work that is world-leading and transformative.’ Professor Harvey Rutt, Head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science * The Optoelectronics Research Centre is one of the world's leading institutes for photonics research, based at the University of Southampton.



The PhD research programme ECS is one of the top schools in the world, with a vibrant community of over 270 postgraduate research students, 250 academic and research staff, and a rich and diverse research portfolio totalling over twice the average Research Council income of the other leading schools in the UK. ‘University research offers a unique opportunity to pursue a new field of study of your own choosing, free from many of the constraints that are present in the non-academic world. However, the research process is a complex, multi-faceted activity, demanding passion, application, personal discipline, method, scientific knowledge and insight and, of course, creativity and originality. Working within the structure of the ECS Graduate School will help you succeed in developing these qualities and skills. To be successful in your PhD studies will require considerable dedication and hard work on your part, but our hope is that you will also find research stimulating and fulfilling. We aim to support you throughout your time at ECS, both as you develop research skills and as you progress through different stages of your research. You will be assigned a team of supervisors to oversee your work during the entire enrolment period, and thereafter to help you assess your progress and research training needs. Direct and regular contact with your supervisors is the key for you to develop the relevant scientific insight, and will steer you towards creative and original thinking. We arrange induction activities designed to introduce you to the world of postgraduate research and to get you acquainted with the main ‘tools-of-the-trade’. We will deliver courses to sharpen your skills in oral communications, technical writing, research methodology, mathematics, and more. These are designed to give you the best opportunity to succeed as a research student and beyond. There are regular seminars held within the groups and across the School. Students are encouraged to attend international conferences and also to take part in international projects and competitions. Our students are drawn from many countries as well as diverse subject backgrounds, including computer science, electrical engineering, electronics, mathematics, psychology, the life sciences, physics, and economics. This ensures an intellectually lively, innovative, and high-achieving study environment, as well as a very friendly and welcoming social environment. We look forward to receiving your application’ Dr Paul Lewin Director, ECS Graduate School


Making your application We welcome applications for research degrees from wellqualified candidates. We offer a number of studentships which provide tuition fees and a significant maintenance allowance. This prospectus provides an overview of research in the School. Further information is available on the School’s web site, and especially in the group web sites. If you are interested in joining ECS to undertake PhD research, you should identify themes and subjects of the academic staff in your areas of interest. Alternatively you could contact the Head of the Group whose activities fit with your interests (see Group pages 12 - 30). The University of Southampton’s online applications procedure can be found at:

PhD key facts Intake: 70 per year Start dates: Typically October, but throughout the year Study mode and duration: A PhD typically lasts three years (full-time) Entry requirements: First or upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) Assessment: Thesis and viva voce examination Application procedure: Apply online using the University application form and sending supporting documentation. Application deadline: Applications are welcomed at any time, however application is advised by 1 May (especially if you wish to be considered for School funding) Funding: See page 34 for studentship details Fees per year 2010/11: UK/EU full-time £3,390 (09/10 rate subject to increase) Part-time £1,695 (09/10 rate subject to increase) International full-time £15,500 p.a. Contact: PhD Admissions School of Electronics and Computer Science University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BJ T +44(0)23 8059 2882 E

Research in ECS

Progress stages towards the PhD MPhil/PhD registration

Month 9

Progress report


No travel fund available before this point

Month 15 (max 24)

Online enrolment

Research training

Upgrade to PhD Viva No travel fund available if 1st training incomplete Completed by month 24

Proceed like PhD, but final Viva typically not necessary

PhD registration

Possible 1 year max of nominal registration in months 25-48 when research is completed

MPhil registration Possible 1 year max of nominal registration in months 13-48 if research is completed

File intention to sumit form

File intention to sumit form


Submission: month 24 (min 12-max 48)

Min 2 months before submission by Jan 31 for Graduation in July

Examiners proposed by supervisors appointed byGradSchool Director

PhD dissertation

MPhil dissertation

Submission: month 36 (min 24-max 48)

Supervisors arrange Viva date and venue


PhD defence

Final dissertation

Deadline set by examiners according to complexity of required modifications: typically 1-3 months (6-12 in complex cases)

Degree awarded

Subject to deposit dissertation in the Library (and Eprints)

Note: this illustrates typical work flows for full-time students.



Building the foundations for future science In 2008 the University of Southampton was awarded two prestigious Doctoral Training Centres in which the School of Electronics and Computer Science plays a key role. The Centres are providing a new generation of trained and skilled scientists with wide-ranging understanding across a range of disciplines. The new Doctoral Training Centres (DTC) are part of a £250m investment in the future of UK science and technology. The Southampton Centres are funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and by the University.

Doctoral Training Centre

Complex Systems Simulation The DTC in Complex Systems Simulation is hosted in the new Institute for Complex Systems Simulation, and provides the fundamental training and research experience necessary to create a future generation of researchers able to use complex systems simulation effectively and rigorously.

shortage of resources, the effectiveness of global communications and the interdependence of the world’s economy.

The huge and increasing availability of computational power, raw data and complex systems thinking is now providing unprecedented opportunities for scientists to use computational modelling and simulation to better understand the structure and behaviour of large-scale and complex systems.

Over 50 academics spanning 14 research groups are involved in the Centre, which will recruit 100 new funded doctoral research students over the next five years. ‘We know that UK industry is short of the trained scientists and engineers needed to tackle the complex problems that exist in many sectors, and we have a very strong set of industrial partners involved in the Centre’s work,’ said Dr Bullock.

These systems present some of the most pressing real-world challenges for society, government and industry - in the environment, health and medicine, finance and economics, population growth, technology and transport. Understanding them better will drive progress in addressing global problems such as climate change, the need for better drugs and treatments, the

‘By providing PhD training in the context of live research challenges within appropriate complex systems, we can ensure that our doctoral graduates are fully equipped to act as research leaders in applying complex systems simulation to this century’s most pressing scientific and engineering challenges.’

The Institute’s research addresses live challenges within a broad set of application domains and fundamental problems in complex systems theory. Target systems span 22 orders of magnitude, from sub-atomic interactions to global processes. The application domains share a common concern with understanding how high-level phenomena arise from low-level interactions. In addition, each application domain relies increasingly upon sophisticated simulation modelling to interpret data, understand emergent phenomena, generate theory and hypotheses, direct experimentation, optimise design, and predict system behaviour. Application domains: Core complex systems simulation research; physical systems; biological systems, environmental systems; sociotechnological systems.


The DTC is directed by Dr Seth Bullock of the School of Electronics and Computer Science, and chaired by Professor Jonathan Essex of the School of Chemistry,

Web Science The new Centre for Doctoral Training in Web Science underlines Southampton’s pre-eminence in this newly emerged research discipline. In 2006 Southampton established Web Science as a joint interdisciplinary research collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and global interest in researching the Web has been growing ever since (see Web Science has an ambitious agenda; it is inherently interdisciplinary - as much about social and organizational behaviour as about the underpinning technology of the World Wide Web. Its research programme targets the Web as a primary focus of attention, adding to our understanding of its architectural principles, its development and growth, its capacity for furthering global knowledge and communication, and its inherent values of trustworthiness, privacy, and respect for social boundaries. The new DTC in Web Science is directed by Professor Dame Wendy Hall, one of the pioneers of Web Science (along with Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web, Professor Nigel Shadbolt, and Dr Daniel Weitzner) and will train 80 students. University Schools which will

participate in the interdisciplinary doctoral research and training in Web Science include Health Sciences, Law, Economics, Sociology, Mathematics, Psychology, and Humanities. Research in Web Science will enable greater understanding of the complex technical, social, economic and cultural inter-relations that are shaping the Web's growth and diversification, and which are fundamental to its future productive development. ‘We are looking for the brightest lawyers, economists, social scientists, psychologists, mathematicians and computer scientists to participate in our Web Science programmes and to provide leadership in the future of the digital society,’ said Profesor Hall. ‘The incredible support we have obtained from industry is evidence of the need industry has for people with the sort of interdisciplinary skills that we will be training our students to develop. The funding is a real boost for Web Science and we hope the Centre at Southampton will set an example that the rest of the world will follow.’

DTC key facts Start date: October Study mode and duration: Full-time 4 years Entry requirements: First or upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) Assessment: Year 1 - examinations, a written fulltime project and dissertation; Years 2 to 4 - thesis and viva voce examination Application deadline: 1 May advisable to be considered for studentship funding Funding: Funded studentships are available for students who meet EPSRC eligibility criteria

Fees per year: Year 1 as MSc; Years 2 to 4 as PhD (see p.6) Contact: Complex Systems Simulation T +44(0)23 8059 4510 E Web Science T +44(0)23 8059 2738 E



The Four-Year Integrated PhD – Added value to your PhD The integrated PhD comprises an initial one-year specialist taught MSc course in either: Computer Science Electronic Engineering Electrical Engineering with subsequent progression to the three-year PhD degree. This four-year programme is specially designed for international candidates, ensuring maximum opportunity to benefit from our specialized teaching and facilities in the first year of study, before undertaking the more intensive PhD research. Your first year of study for the MSc degree will provide you with: Comprehensive knowledge and understanding of advanced theoretical foundations of Computer Science, Electronic Engineering or Electrical Engineering; Techniques for design and evaluation of computing, electronic and/or electrical systems; Current important research issues and recent research developments in specialized areas. After successful completion of the first year, you will receive an MSc degree in your subject of study – Computer Science, Electronic Engineering, or Electrical Engineering. The programmes have been carefully designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills required either for an academic career as a researcher and teacher, or for a career in a public or private research organization. Full details of all course modules for Year 1 can be found on our Admissions web site:

Supervision You will be allocated a PhD supervisor and research topic before starting the programme. You will normally remain with the allocated supervisor throughout the four-year programme, in order to achieve integration between your MSc and PhD degrees.

Intermediate awards If you pass the required examinations and project you will be awarded an MSc after 12-16 months, even if you continue to PhD. Those who are unable or unwilling to complete the MSc may leave the programme with a Postgraduate Certificate (subject to achieving 60 credits), or a Postgraduate Diploma (subject to achieving 120 credits).

Key facts Start date: October Study mode and duration: Full-time 4 years Entry requirements: First or upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) Assessment: Year 1 - examinations, a written full-time project and dissertation; Years 2 to 4 - thesis and viva voce examination Application deadline: June Funding: Applicants must have four years full funding in place Fees per year: Year 1 as MSc; Years 2 to 4 as PhD Contact ECS PhD Admissions T +44(0)23 8059 2882 E


Research in ECS

ECS Research - fully available on the Web ECS leads the world in the area of Open Access. Since all the research output of all members of the School is placed on the Web, you can gain a comprehensive perspective on the School’s research by consulting the ECS EPrints Repository. It is the School’s policy to maximise the visibility, usage and impact of its research output by making it available online. ECS was the first academic institution in the world to adopt a self-archiving mandate (2002), requiring all of its research output to be made Open Access on the Web in the ECS EPrints Repository. In December 2009 the repository has over 14,000 records of academic books, conference papers, and journal articles. The School has continued to play a leading role in the worldwide Open Access movement. ECS created the first and most widely used archiving software (EPrints); demonstrated the citationimpact advantage of self-archiving, maintains the Registry of Open Access Repositories, tracking the number, size and growth of archives worldwide, and the Registry of Institutional Self-Archiving Policies. EPrints is open source software developed in ECS, now used to run over 350 institutional repositories worldwide. It has a growing community of users and enthusiastic supporters around the world. ECS EPrints Repository


Also on the School’s web site you will find a full account of the research activities of the groups: and a full list of research themes: Individual members of staff have personal web sites containing a great deal of information about their research; see

EPrints at the forefront of the world’s Open Acccess movement The first-ever internationally designated Open Access Week was held in October 2009, providing an opportunity to broaden awareness and understanding of Open Access to research and to celebrate the successes achieved by the Open Access movement, within the global research communities and the world’s higher education institutions. It was announced at the same time that the world’s 100th OA mandate had been adopted by the University of Salford, UK. The world’s first Open Access Mandate was adopted by the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at the University of Southampton. In 2002 ECS proposed and then mandated that all of its own research output must be made accessible free for all on the Web in order to maximize its usage and impact. While mandates at first grew slowly, despite coming from significant national research funding councils, such as the NIH in the US and RCUK in the UK, last year’s adoption of mandates by Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and UCL provides a strong indication that the next steps in the growth of Open Access will be exponential, according to ECS Professor Stevan Harnad, one of the leaders of the OA movement. Dr Les Carr, Director of EPrints at ECS which provides the software to run many of the world’s leading repositories, underlined the importance of all this concerted effort: ‘It’s important to pay tribute to the coordinated action of the international research community,’ he said, ‘including funding councils and research institutions across the globe which have worked in harmony through proactive local policies (mandates) to bring about international Open Access through an established network of research repositories.’




The Communications group plays a key role in researching and advancing the necessary enabling technologies to facilitate a quantum leap in mobile phone technology, including the physical, network and service layers, as well as their joint optimisation. The group’s research activities are progressing towards the development of the next generation of wireless communications systems and their components. Long-term research in the group focuses on communications and information theory, which informs more short-term, applied research, while directly appealing to industrial partners across the globe. The Communications group is also involved in various European projects and projects with India and China.

Research Context


It is anticipated that the near future will witness the integration of computation and communication in the form of highly intelligent shirt-pocket-sized multimedia communicators.


We will be free from old-fashioned keyboards and mouses, as input devices, we will just talk to our computers. Again, some computers already run advanced speech recognition software, but this is just the commencement of an era hallmarked by a paradigm, which is also often referred to as mobile

computing. This is because our communicators are expected to be well endowed with computing power, memory and networking facilities, in order to serve business and, ultimately, personal users on the move. Some elements of this system - such as palm-top personal computers or personal mobile radio voice and data communicators - are already widespread; however, further research is required in order to amalgamate them into more ergonomic devices, improve the variety and quality of services offered and accommodate the increasing traffic requirements, while providing near-ubiquitous radio coverage at a low cost. The various propagation scenarios of indoor and outdoor wireless systems are also dramatically different, as illustrated above, portraying the range of hostile outdoor macro-cells, the more benign micro-cells and the friendly - predominantly line-of-sight wave-propagation scenario of indoor cells. These indoor pico-cells are already in operation at virtually all railway stations, airports, filling

Academic staff and research interests in Communications PROFESSOR LAJOS HANZO, FIEEE Head of Group Wireless multimedia communications. PROFESSOR SHENG CHEN, FIEEE Adaptive signal processing for communications; intelligent control and learning systems. DR ROB MAUNDER Joint source and channel coding; iterative decoding; irregular coding; code and interleaver design.

DR SOON XIN NG Adaptive coded modulation; channel coding; spacetime coding; joint source and channel coding; OFDM and MIMO. DR LIE-LIANG YANG Wideband, broadband and ultra-wideband wireless communications; advanced signal processing for wireless communications; network information theory, network coding and co-operative networking; multi-user transmission and multi-user detection; smart antennas and multiple-input multiple-output wireless communications.

Research in ECS

stations, and pedestrian precincts; however, they will soon permeate all offices, homes and even vehicles, such as trains, buses and aeroplanes. In other words, some pico-cell base stations will be mobile themselves, providing higher quality radio coverage for users on a train than the outdoor network, penetrating the train from high-rise macro-cellular base stations. A further advantage of such roaming base stations is that, for example, a bus will be always in the vicinity to provide radio coverage to surrounding cars and pedestrians, when in a traffic jam. This is the scenario where a large tele-traffic surge is observed, for example, due to a road traffic accident. The potential of having a wireless home network is also fascinating - though requiring substantial further research - allowing us to monitor all our domestic appliances remotely, while on the move. Indeed, it will be our own ‘body area network’, which will do most of the monitoring and will draw the user’s attention to problems only when requiring personal attention. In most scenarios the user’s mobile agent will be capable of arranging directly for a service engineer to carry out the necessary maintenance job. The mobile agent will also be able to download the user’s favourite sound track or video clip, after negotiating the best possible deal over the network. This can then be viewed on the user’s multimedia communicator. The range of services available - once the imminent convergence of consumer electronics, computers and wireless communications takes place - are limitless. Only highly intelligent, nearinstantaneously adaptive communicators are capable of carrying out these complex functions and providing a seamlessly adjustable quality of service over the above-mentioned wide range of propagation environments, and user requirements. More specifically, there is a plethora of challenges and contradictory factors, which impose conflicting criteria on the associated research.

For these futuristic services to become attractive and affordable, they have to be offered nearubiquitously, at low cost and high quality. However, ‘tele-presence-like’ service quality requires a tremendous bandwidth for the transmission of full-motion video, for example. If this bandwidth requirement is multiplied by the ever increasing number of subscribers, only revolutionary new technologies will be capable of operating in the currently technologically inaccessible extremely high-frequency bands, where spectrum is still available for new services. Multimedia signal compression is a powerful means of reducing the required bit rate of video signals, for example. However, again, there are a range of contradictory requirements, since increasing the compression ratio is only possible at the cost of increasing algorithmic and implementational complexity, which requires bulkier batteries. A further problem - which is well-known for example in the context of zipped, highly compressed computer files - is that a single bit error may corrupt an entire file. Hence complex error correction techniques have to be invoked, in order to remove the associated transmission errors. It can thus be seen that the whole arsenal of signal processing has to be invoked in order to cope with calamities imposed by the wireless communications channel. This is the context of the work of the Communications group and makes for a fascinating era for telecommunications research. For further information about research opportunities in the Communications group, contact Professor Lajos Hanzo, or the appropriate member of the academic staff: T +44(0)23 8059 3125 E


Dependable Systems and Software Engineering Dependable Systems and Software Engineering


The overall objective of the Dependable Systems and Software Engineering group (DSSE) is to conduct research which leads to increases in the dependability of software-based systems through the provision of architectures, construction methods, validation tools and the general advancement of software science. The dependability of software is of critical importance to society as a whole. Failures in software systems are enormously costly not only to developers, but also to the users of such systems, as well as the users and providers of services that depend on them. Our work on software engineering is concerned with management of the software development process and predicting and improving the productivity of software development. While much of our work has a strong mathematical underpinning; it is very much driven by practical experience, objectives and validation. Our research encompasses a wide range of activities covering software engineering practice, software architectures, formal design methods, automated verification, computational models and foundations. On the more practical side, we develop tools that help with software construction and validation. We also construct software applications to experiment with software architectures and construction methods. On the more foundational side, we develop theories and methods for a range of systems including distributed systems, ubiquitous systems, information systems, and control systems. The foundational work feeds into the development of tools and construction methods.

Challenges The software development process has evolved in recent years to become more agile through the

development of programming tools and programming methods. Nevertheless there are still many challenges in software engineering, not least our ability to predict the time it will take to produce software of high dependability. Research in this area continues to develop methods, both formal and semi-formal, and to devise means for measuring progress in an individual software project. Research in this area includes the development of languages, tools and methods both for generating software and for managing the software engineering process itself. DSSE has strong collaboration with industry which provides us with many exciting challenges and helps ensure the relevance of our research. We also have strong links with other groups in the School of Electronics and Computer Science and with groups in other national and international institutions. The strength of our researchers and collaborations provide a rich and cooperative research environment in which to work. The DSSE web site provides a full listing of all open PhD projects but the group welcomes other PhD proposals in its areas of research.

Major research themes Formal Modelling and Refinement - Tools and Theories System Verification Semantic Models and Theories Emerging Computing Paradigms Software Engineering Model checking for B

Research in ECS

Academic staff and research interests in DSSE PROFESSOR MICHAEL BUTLER Head of Group Dependable systems; formal development methods; verification tools; security.

DR JULIAN RATHKE Foundations of distributed and ubiquitous computing; semantics of programming languages; models of computation.

DR CORINA CIRSTEA Theory and applications of coalgebras; modal logic; category theory models, calculi and logics for ubiquitous computing.

PROFESSOR VLADIMIRO SASSONE Foundations of distributed and ubiquitous computing; logics, models and semantics of computation; computational trust and security models; formal methods.

DR BERND FISHER Automated code generation; formal methods; automated theorem proving; software correctness. DR DENIS NICOLE System performance and benchmarking, including the National HPC(X) service; workflow and scripting, including semantic annotations for reliable workflow; security, including interoperation between Microsoft and other technologies; dependable concurrent programming. DR MIKE POPPLETON Formal methods; requirements engineering; software engineering; generative methods in software engineering; theory of refinement and retrenchment.

For further information about research opportunities in DSSE, contact Professor Michael Butler, or the appropriate member of the academic staff: T +44(0)23 8059 3440 E

DR PAWEL SOBOCINSKI Foundations of concurrency and distributed computing; categorical models; graph rewriting. DR KEN THOMAS High performance numerical methods. DR ROBERT WALTERS Distributed systems; formal modelling; software engineering.


Electrical Power Engineering

The activities of the Electrical Power Engineering (EPE) group range from fundamental numerical modelling studies to the development of novel products and procedures in collaboration with industry. Major research themes are:

Electrical Power Engineering



A major focus of this research theme concerns the development of efficient techniques for the computational solution of electromagnetic problems using finite-element (FE) and related techniques. Recent developments include the use of kriging, pareto optimisation and various probability algorithms. These methods are then used to solve a wide range of important engineering problems ranging from magnetic optimisation around superconducting materials to the design of various electromechanical devices.

High voltage engineering This work is based in the Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory and encompasses many different issues related to power systems, including the fundamentals of change transport in the bulk and at interfaces, the development of novel sensor systems and the development of methodologies for assessing the condition of many items of high voltage plant. This work also encompasses lightning strike endurance - an increasingly important aerospace issue.

conditions is of great practical importance. At a very different dimensional scale, the study of charge transport dynamics within disordered and inhomogeneous materials impacts upon our work ranging from high voltage plant to aerospace composites. A related area concerns discharge events in liquid nitrogen, where modelling of the rapid plasma expansion must include both fluid dynamics and ionisation thermodynamics.

Nanomaterials and dielectrics Components of electrical systems from transistors to supergrid transformers all rely on dielectric materials and, currently, polymeric materials are of paramount importance in an increasing number of applications. Our research is unique in the UK in bringing together expertise in high voltage engineering and materials physics to study topics such as the ageing and failure of polymers under ac and dc applied fields and the experimental study of charge transport dynamics. A topic of growing interest worldwide is the use of nanostructured materials as dielectric systems, although the fundamental physics governing the mechanical and electrical performance of these systems is poorly understood and consequently provides an excellent research challenge.

Modelling and simulation

Robotics and control

Experimental work is underpinned by a great deal of theoretical research. Novel FE (Finite Element) techniques have been developed for mesh adaption in two dimensions, in which the field distribution is iteratively used to determine the element size, orientation and shape, in order to create an optimal mesh. Numerical modelling of various coupled electrical, thermal and mechanical phenomena are being performed with emphasis on free and moving boundaries problems. A major issue with large power systems concerns the thermal consequences of large power flows through buried cables and therefore the ability to model this under different electrical and climatic

Current research focuses on the derivation and practical assessment of Iterative Learning Control algorithms using robotic test facilities. These control laws learn from their mistakes and have been shown to offer improved performance over traditional methods when applied practically to systems that repeat the same action continually. Work is also being undertaken to expand these techniques to deal with the constrained and object-driven demands associated with more varied tasks. In particular these novel approaches can be applied to control human movement, and to the rehabilitation of stroke patients using robotics and electrical stimulation.

Research in ECS


Research expertise

The application of temperature superconductivity to electrical power devices is attracting growing interest. Our work in this area has included the construction of a model transformer and synchronous generator operating at 77 K (liquid nitrogen), modelling superconducting tapes and fundamental experimental studies of high voltage cables where liquid nitrogen is used as both as the coolant and the electrical insulation. Current work is focussing on the design and construction of a new high temperature superconducting generator and a topic that impacts on all the above application areas, the development of dielectric systems that can operate successfully at the ambient/cryogenic interface.

Control and signal processing Instrumentation and measurements Condition monitoring Residual life assessment and maintenance optimisation Degradation and ageing Materials characterisation and analysis Functional materials Dielectric behaviour and breakdown Space and surface charge Partial discharge Electrical treeing Cryogenics and high temperature superconductivity Computational electromagnetics Field simulation aided design and optimisation Electromagnetic compatibility and electromagnetic interference Bioelectromagnetics Nanodielectrics Polymer processing

For further information about research opportunities in EPE, contact Professor Alun Vaughan, or the appropriate member of the academic staff: T +44(0)23 8059 3448 E

Academic staff and research interests in EPE PROFESSOR ALUN VAUGHAN Head of Group Polymer science; nanomaterials; dielectrics.

DR MIHAI ROTARU Computational electromagnetics; electromagnetic compatibility; electromagnetic interference.

DR GEORGE CHEN Dielectric materials; simulation of electrical phenomena; high voltage measurement techniques; condition monitoring.

DR DAVID SWAFFIELD Superconducting power apparatus and cryogenic dielectrics; FEA modelling for electrical engineering applications; high-voltage testing techniques.

DR CHRIS FREEMAN Derivation and assessment of Iterative Learning control and repetitive control algorithms; design and testing of rehabilitation devices; modelling and control of human movement.

PROFESSOR STEVE SWINGLER Underground electricity transmission.

DR IGOR GOLOSNOY Computational mathematics; plasma spectroscopy and thermodynamics; numerical modelling of transport phenomena.

PROFESSOR JAN SYKULSKI, FIEEE Applied electromagnetics; power applications of superconductivity; design and optimisation methods; computational magnetics; electrical power engineering.

DR PAUL LEWIN Applied signal processing and control; high voltage engineering; partial discharge measurement and analysis; iterative learning control.



Electronic Systems and Devices

Electronic Systems and Devices

The interests of the Electronic Systems and Devices group encompass every link in the information processing chain of a system from input transducers, through information processing to output transducers. Within this broad spectrum, there are a number of specific areas where the Group has an international profile: design automation of electronic systems, and intelligent sensors.


The Electronic Systems and Devices research group is one of the largest in this area in the UK. The group has five main research themes ranging from advanced chip design to novel sensors and systems.

Novel sensors The group has a well-established track record of developing novel sensors based on a variety of technologies including thick-film, silicon and MEMS. The development of novel thick-film

sensors, based on functional materials, has been applied to a wide variety of applications including the Southampton Hand, resonant tuning fork sensors, microfluidic particle separators and multi-modal sensors for the oil and gas industry. Work in the area of intelligent sensors continues to evolve, with recent activities centred on both the hardware and software design issues. Sensor networks, in particular wireless sensor networks, have become an important research activity within the group as these bring together all of the diverse aspects of electronics systems design.

Academic staff and research interests in ESD PROFESSOR NEIL WHITE Head of Group Thick-film sensors; MEMS; energy harvesting; sensor technology; piezoelectrics. PROFESSOR BASHIR AL-HASHIMI, FIEEE Low power system-on-chip; network-on-chip; VLSI test; pervasive systems. DR STEVE BEEBY Energy harvesting for wireless systems; microsystems/MEMS; sensors and instrumentation; active materials for printing processes; human biometrics. PROFESSOR ANDREW BROWN Synthesis; CAD tools for VLSI design and testing; neurological stimulation. DR PAUL CHAPPELL Medical engineering. DR NICK HARRIS Microfluidics; sensor networks; energy harvesting.

DR TOM KAZMIERSKI Mixed-signal simulations; analogue synthesis; VHDLAMS. DR KOUSHIK MAHARATNA Ultra-low power VLSI circuit design; analogue signal processing; bio-inspired circuit and systems design; development of next generation nano-circuits. DR GEOFF MERRETT Wireless sensing and networks; body sensor networks; low-power design. DR JEFF REEVE Sensor communications; network-on-chip. DR PETER WILSON Mixed-technology modelling and simulation; VHDLAMS. PROFESSOR MARK ZWOLINSKI CAD tools for mixed signal simulation, test and synthesis.

Research in ECS

ECS took part in the 2009 World Championship of Intercollegiate Solar Boating, held in Fayetteville, Arkansas – the first-ever UK entrant in this prestigious event.

Energy harvesting

System design

A key research theme over the past few years has been the development of energy harvesting systems, which are capable of powering sensor nodes. The group has extensively researched vibration-powered generators based on both electromagnetic and piezoelectric technologies, which has subsequently led to the formation of a spin-out company. Recent work is aimed at developing highly efficient thermoelectric generators, which will allow sensors and other electronic systems to be powered from the heat generated by the human body.

Two of the great challenges facing electronics design are the issues of managing unreliability and designing for low-power consumption. As CMOS devices become ever smaller and the complexity of systems increases, it must be assumed that parts of a system will, potentially, fail. Moreover, increasing complexity leads to increasing power demands. The group has a long history of developing high-level behavioural synthesis tools that allow abstract or algorithmic forms of input, which are transformed to circuits optimised for speed, power or area.

System-on-chip This area of research focuses on developing methods, algorithms and tools that automate the process of generating low-power embedded computing systems needed in hand-held devices. The group has a well-established track record of developing a number of hardware-software codesign flows with particular focus on adaptive energy management. Another important area of research activity is concerned with developing manufacturing test techniques for core-based System-on-chip with particular focus on powerconstrained testing and test resource partitioning. The group has a well-established track record of developing low-power test methods and compressed test algorithms.

For further information about research opportunities in ESD, contact Professor Neil White, or the appropriate member of the academic staff: T +44(0)23 8059 3765 E

Modelling and Simulation The development and standardisation of VHDLAMS, in which the group has taken an active part, has resulted in a unified design language for modelling digital, analogue and mixed signal systems within a variety of technological domains. VHDL-AMS extends the modelling power of VHDL to systems that exhibit continuous behaviour in time and amplitude. The new language has become a successful hardware description and hardware modelling methodology and we have used the tool in the design of our energy-harvesting systems and also in nano devices such as carbon nanotubes. The group also has interests in the development of novel fault simulation for analogue and mixed signal IC testing and also magnetic modelling for circuit simulation.

ABOVE: Tarka, the ECS boat, was designed and built by a team of postgraduate students led by Dr Peter Wilson, and achieved outstanding success, winning a host of prizes and guaranteeing a prominent place in next year’s event. Building, designing and racing a solarpowered boat provides a series of tough engineering challenges and from 2010 this becomes a new official project in the School.



Information: Signals, Images, Systems

Information: Signals, Images, Systems


Members of the Information: Signals, Images, Systems (ISIS) group are drawn from a diverse range of backgrounds, in recognition of the need for inter-and multidisciplinary research approaches to cope with the requirements of increased complexity, performance and robustness, and the incorporation of disparate knowledge sources. The group’s activities are centred in fundamental theory and algorithm development associated with adaptive data modelling, machine learning, control theory, and signal processing. This research is developed through verification and validation in the real-world problem domains of vision and image processing, speech, guidance and control, autonomous systems command+control, automotive, aerospace and biomedical fields. It is also concerned with the development of methodologies for integrating such techniques in overall systems engineering.

Image processing and computer vision The ISIS research in image processing and computer vision spans techniques from preprocessing, to feature extraction (especially moving ones) and on to image analysis. Our main application domains have been in biometrics, in remote sensing and in medical image analysis. We have a long record in biometrics, starting in face recognition, and have since conducted some of the earliest work in recognising people by their gait and by their ears. The main academic staff on the research team are Professor Mark Nixon, Dr John Carter and Dr Sasan Mahmoodi. Currently, we have around 20 students and staff working on various aspects of computer vision and image processing. In Southampton we collaborate with the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research and with the School of Geography, together with international institutions. Our financial supporters have included the EPSRC, the EU, DARPA and the UK Home Office together with industry.

Speech science and technology Reflecting our philosophy that powerful speech systems of the future will be based on a thorough understanding of the fundamental science, ISIS research in speech processing ranges from basic science underpinning production and perception, through to applications in biomedicine and improved human-computer interaction. Research topics include: modelling speech aeroacoustics, classification of speech sounds, evolutionary emergence of speech and language, computational models of human speech and language processing, vocal tract imaging and transduction problems in speech synthesis. The research is led by Professor Bob Damper.

Intelligent systems and machine learning In our ever-increasing information age, advanced intelligent systems are required to manage and understand enormous amounts of data, and to learn their salient characteristics. ISIS work in Intelligent Systems and Machine Learning is diverse, ranging from the development of new theories through to their application in fields such as signal processing, vision, materials science, medical, automotive, nautical and aerospace. The theoretical research includes: Modelling evolutionary algorithms. Intelligent data modelling. Data fusion. Support vector machines and kernel-based learning. Data mining and knowledge discovery.

Research in ECS

The research is led by Professor Mahesan Niranjan, Professor Steve Gunn, Dr Adam Pr端gel-Bennett, and Professor Chris Harris. Much of our research is in collaboration with other Southampton research groups such as our work on modelling brake squeal with the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, marine navigation with ship science, work on process knowledge discovery with the School of Engineering Sciences, and on environmental modelling with the School of Geography. We also work extensively with colleagues in UK universities and overseas.

Systems and control ISIS research in systems and control covers a broad range of work, both in theoretical development and in applications. The research is led by Professor Eric Rogers, Dr Mark French, Dr Paolo Rapisarda and Dr Ivan Markovsky.

Our research interests lie in: Robust nonlinear control Identification Adaptive control Behavioural systems theory Radar and sonar processing Plasma modelling Flow control Multidimensional (nD) systems Iterative learning control To underpin applications, our research philosophy is focused on basic theoretical research and on verification and validation of approaches in collaborative hardware demonstrations in partnership with experimental researchers. Our principal industrial collaborators are BAE Systems and Matra Marconi, with further support from the Royal Society, the EU and the EPSRC.

For further information about research opportunities in ISIS, contact Professor Mahesan Niranjan, or the appropriate member of the academic staff: T +44(0)23 8059 3021 E

Academic staff and research interests in ISIS PROFESSOR MAHESAN NIRANJAN Head of Group Machine learning; computational biology; bioinformatics; signal processing; content-based image retrieval. DR JOHN CARTER Biometrics; computer vision; image and video processing. PROFESSOR BOB DAMPER Speech and image processing; mobile robotics. DR MARK FRENCH Systems and control theory: robust control, adaptive control, nonlinear systems, operator techniques, hardware implementations. PROFESSOR STEVE GUNN Machine learning; computer vision. PROFESSOR CHRIS HARRIS Intelligent systems; control and data fusion.

DR SASAN MAHMOODI Image processing and computer vision; biometrics; medical image processing; signal processing and analysis; encryption. DR IVAN MARKOVSKY Control theory; system identification. PROFESSOR MARK NIXON Image processing; computer vision; feature extraction; biometrics; medical image analysis. DR ADAM PRUGEL-BENNETT Evolutionary systems; genetic algorithms. DR PAOLO RAPISARDA Identification; systems and control theory; polynomial methods; behavioural theory. PROFESSOR ERIC ROGERS Iterative learning control and applications; systems with repetitive dynamics; algebraic/ behavioural approaches to control systems analysis and design; flow control; control of AUVs.



Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia

Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia

IAM is a broad-based, multi- and inter- disciplinary group focusing on the design and application of computing systems for complex information and knowledge processing tasks. We seek to undertake world-class research in the theory, design, implementation and application of such systems and to provide leadership on their potential socio-economic impact.


Our main focus is on the development of systems composed of multiple actors, some human some artificial agents, from different organisations that act based on the best available information and interact in flexible ways in order to achieve their individual and collective aims.

E-business technologies

Particular areas of emphasis include: pervasive technologies for capturing information from the environment, next generation web techniques for linking data and knowledge, accountable systems for tracking information provenance and provider reputation, multi-agent techniques for flexible and effective interactions, and interaction design approaches for effective human and machine collaboration.

Grid and distributed computing

Agent-based computing Widely regarded as the foundation of the networked generation of computer systems, agents are encapsulated computer systems that are situated in some environment and are capable of flexible autonomous action in that environment in order to meet their design objectives.

Decentralised information systems A major research challenge is to design and develop large-scale decentralised information systems that are able to collect, reformulate, and reason about uncertain or imprecise information in order to facilitate informed realtime decision making.

Digital libraries Our focus in this theme is Open Access, investigating the technologies, protocols and policies that help organisations to make their information assets available for the maximum benefit to the maximum number of people.

The focus of this theme is on developing technologies that facilitate agent-mediated e-business. In particular, we are interested in various forms of auctions, computational mechanism design, and virtual organisations.

Grid computing is about large-scale computation, large-scale data and large-scale collaborations. By improving and using grid technology, IAM research helps e-scientists exploit computational resources to tackle large-scale scientific problems.

Human-computer interaction The focus here is on interaction and specifically on interaction between one or more humans and one or more computational machines.

Knowledge technologies This theme focuses on the development of integrated methods and services for supporting the management of knowledge through its entire lifecycle (acquisition, modelling, reuse, retrieval, publishing and maintenance). Our work in this area is closely aligned with the vision of the Semantic Web.

Multimedia Our research focuses on the development of versatile systems for multimedia management, imaging and the development of mixed reality systems.

Pervasive computing and networks We focus on future pervasive computing and networking technology and aiming to both develop and research new technologies, as exemplified by current work on Distributed Systems and IPv6.

Research in ECS

Trust and provenance Our research focuses on applying the notion of provenance to electronically-produced data and specifying trust and reputation for data, services and agents.

Web Science Although the World Wide Web has changed the ways scientists communicate, collaborate, and educate, a clear research agenda aimed at understanding the current, evolving and potential Web is still needed. Modelling the Web, understanding the architectural

principles that underpin its growth, and ensuring that it supports the basic social values of trustworthiness, privacy, and respect for social boundaries, requires a research agenda that targets the Web as a primary focus of attention. See also p.9.

For further information about research opportunities in IAM, contact Professor Nick Jennings, or the appropriate member of the academic staff: T +44(0)23 8059 7681 E

Academic staff and research interests in IAM PROFESSOR NICK JENNINGS, FREng, FIEEE Head of Group Agent-based computing; complex systems; game theory; automated negotiation. PROFESSOR SIR TIM BERNERS-LEE, OM, FRS Semantic Web; Web science. DR LES CARR Hypermedia information systems; documentation structures; digital libraries; knowledge technologies. DR ENRICO COSTANZA Human-computer interaction DR RICHARD CROWDER Hypermedia applied to manufacturing applications and processes; special-purpose robotic systems. PROFESSOR DAVID DE ROURE e-research; pervasive systems; Semantic Web; Web 2.0; scientific work flow; e-social science; Web Science; music information retrieval. DR ENRICO GERDING Automated mechanism design; evolutionary algorithms; autonomous agents; auctions and bargaining. DR NICK GIBBINS Semantic Web; hypertext; hypermedia; agent-based computing. PROFESSOR DAME WENDY HALL, FRS, FREng Director, University Strategic Research Group in Digital Economy Web science; hypermedia/multimedia information systems; knowledge technologies; agent-based systems.

PROFESSOR STEVAN HARNAD Cognition; category learning; language evolution; open access; scientometrics. PROFESSOR PAUL LEWIS Image and video analysis; multimedia knowledge management; Semantic Web technologies; medical and cultural heritage applications. DR KIRK MARTINEZ Augmented reality; image processing applications for art; high resolution imaging. PROFESSOR LUC MOREAU Provenance; grid and accountable computing; distributed computing; e-science. DR MARIA POLUKAROV Agent-based computing DR SARVAPALI RAMCHURN Multi-agent sytems; coordination technologies; smart grids; emergency response. DR ALEX ROGERS Agent-based computing; auction mechanism design; sensor networks. DR MC SCHRAEFEL Hypermedia; human-computer interaction. PROFESSOR NIGEL SHADBOLT, FREng Biorobotics; knowledge technologies; grid computing; Semantic Web; Web science. ED ZALUSKA Advanced computer architectures; distributed computing systems.



Learning Societies Lab

The Learning Societies Lab is a multidisciplinary research group, bringing together perspectives from computer science, psychology, education and the social sciences, that develops leading-edge technologies and applies them to enhancing formal and informal learning in personal and collaborative settings. Research in LSL consists of three main activities: a learning infrastructure programme that encompasses formal and informal learning and research a societies infrastructure programme that addresses key current societal issues such as the ageing population, social exclusion, and climate change a common infrastructure programme that creates new knowledge by designing and implementing new systems and underpinning technologies

Learning Societies Lab

When taken together, these programmes have associated common objects of: producing


technology that helps people learn through interaction, developing technology to develop humankind, and creating technological affordances which enable learning and development.

Technology enhanced learning Technology can support all the stages of teaching and learning, resulting in blended methodologies that not only help with existing practice, but can result in novel new practices. We are investigating architectures for learning systems and for assessment, design for learning, competency modelling, digital libraries, m-learning, and learning objects and repositories.

Academic staff and research interests in LSL PROFESSOR HUGH DAVIS Head of Group Service-oriented architectures for eLearning; personalised and adaptive learning and assessment; hypertext and social software for learning; implementing technology enhanced learning in higher education. DR DAVID ARGLES Design of virtual machines; network simulations for effective learning. LESTER GILBERT e-learning; e-research; learning; service-oriented architectures; technology-enhanced learning. DR ANDREW GRAVELL Empirical software engineering; evaluation of IT systems; e-business strategy and implementation. DR DAVID MILLARD Hypermedia and knowledge interfaces; contextual information systems; m-learning; social computing; service-oriented systems.

DR THANASSIS TIROPANIS Virtual communities; web 2.0; e-learning; role-based collaboration; Semantic Web; service-oriented architectures; e-commerce; hypertext. DR MIKE WALD Technologies for enabling and assisting access to learning. DR MARK WEAL Web science; pervasive computing; hypermedia systems; e-learning technologies. DR SU WHITE Models of institutional response to change; the qualitative evaluation of innovation. DR GARY WILLS Personal information environments; virtual research environments; e-assessment; knowledge management; Semantic Web applications.

Research in ECS

Interaction with knowledge and semantics Initiatives such as the Semantic Web are promoting the idea that knowledge can be described and exchanged, but the descriptions that machines use are far more formal and focused than those used by people exchanging ideas and recording their everyday lives. It is therefore important to try and bridge the gap between how people and machines express information, for example by using tagging, annotation, concept mapping, semantic hypertexts, folksonomies and narratives.

Virtual communities and social systems A new generation of social applications is changing the way in which people are organising themselves and interacting with each other. We are researching collaborative systems, tools for group formation, virtual environments, games and social networking.

Accessible technologies Technology offers new possibilities for supporting accessibility. We are investigating how speech recognition can be used to caption multimedia to make learning more inclusive, interactive, flexible, productive and engaging, and is exploring the e-learning experiences of disabled learners including accessible e-learning, compatible assistive technologies and effective learning support.

Innovation in science, engineering and technology education Science, Engineering and Technology have been identified amongst the strategic and vulnerable areas in UK higher education. We are looking to identify, investigate, develop and evaluate educational innovations which can impact directly and enhance the student experience. For further information about research opportunities in LSL, contact Professor Hugh Davis, or the appropriate member of the academic staff: T +44(0)23 8059 3669 E

Synote: Web-based annotation tool receives international award Synote, an innovative Web-based annotation tool developed in the Learning Societies Lab by a team led by Dr Mike Wald, won the EUNIS Dorup E-learning Award 2009. The prestigious award was presented to Dr Wald at the EUNIS (European University Information Systems) 2009 conference ‘IT: Key of the European Space for Knowledge’, held in June 2009 at Santiago de Compostela, Spain. ‘The judges said that Synote won because it is incredibly innovative and they could see that it brought lots of new opportunities for students,’ said Mike. ‘Getting the Award and having it presented at the conference is great publicity,’ he added. ‘Synote is freely available and we want as many people as possible to try it out.’ Synote makes multimedia resources such as video and audio easier to access, search, manage, and exploit. Learners, teachers and other users can create notes, bookmarks, tags, links, images and text captions synchronised to any part of a recording, such as a lecture. ‘Imagine how difficult it would be to use a textbook if it had no contents page, index or page numbers,’ said Mike. ‘Synote actually provides the way to find or associate notes with a particular part of a recording.’ Synote’s synchronised transcripts can be produced manually or automatically using IBM speech

Dr Mike Wald with the EUNis Prize certificate.

recognition technologies. Synote has a whole range of useful features. It enables learners or teachers to read and search text transcripts and slides and replay recordings to support learning style preference, deafness, disability or English as a second language; to bookmark, tag and highlight and link to or from sections of recordings for indexing, revision, clarification or feedback; and to collaboratively annotate recordings with notes and URLs of related resources. Synote can play most audio and video formats on most browsers and computers. Evaluations have shown that students like using Synote, find the synchronised transcripts and note-taking facility useful and want more recordings and lectures to be available in this way.




The interests of the Nano Group are focused on fabrication and engineering at the nanometre-length scale to produce integrated systems on silicon. This includes the creation and characterization of new metamaterials and the study of biomimetics, which aims to borrow evolutionary solutions to optical and mechanical problems from the natural world. Current research topics encompass MEMS/NEMS devices, photonic crystal circuits, solar cells, new materials, atom chips, Lab-on-aChip, particle manipulators, nanomagnetic materials and devices, and nanophotonics, as well as continuing work on ultimate MOS devices. The Nano Group also runs the Southampton Nanofabrication Centre, a state-of-the-art clean room in the new Mountbatten Building. One of the world's leading clean rooms, it is unique in its range of capabilities, across nano- and bio-nano technologies.

Lithography is provided by a mixture of optical and electron-beam techniques, giving an ultimate resolution down to 5 nm. The fabrication of nanostructures by self-assembly is available through the use of chemical vapour deposition systems for the growth of carbon nanotubes, semiconductor nanowires and quantum dots. Ultra-thin film deposition by epitaxy and atomic layer deposition facilitates the fabrication of a range of IV/IV materials (Si, Ge, SiGe), as well as novel materials such as metal oxides. Focussed Ion Beam is also available as well as a range of nano imprint lithography and hot embossing methods for nanofabrication. Wafer-towafer aligning and bonding using anodic, thermal compression and polymer methods is available for

Academic staff and research interests in Nano PROFESSOR HIROSHI MIZUTA Head of Group Silicon-based nanoelectronics; single-electron devices; quantum information processing; hybrid NEMSCMOS-SET devices; atom-scale device simulation.

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KRAFT Micro-electro-mechanical systems, sensors and devices; micro-fabrication process development; Interface & control circuits and systems for MEMS sensors; MEMS for nanotechnology applications.

PROFESSOR PETER ASHBURN Director, Southampton Nanofabrication Centre Carbon nanotube electronics; behaviour of fluorine in silicon and silicon-germanium; bipolar devices and technology; vertical MOSFETs.

PROFESSOR HYWEL MORGAN Director, University Strategic Research Group in Nanoscience and Technology Chemical and bio-sensors; bioelectronics; interaction of electric fields with biology; bionanotechnology.

PROFESSOR DARREN BAGNALL Photovoltaics; optical biomimetics; plasmonics.


DR HAROLD CHONG Nanophotonics; photonic integrated circuits; photoelectronic nanowire technology; nanofabrication technology.


DR NICOLAS GREEN Micro-/nanofluidics; lab-on-a-chip; bioelectronics. DR KEES DE GROOT Spintronics; quantum electronics; nanomagnetism; carbon nanotubes. DR MAURITS DE PLANQUE Bionanotechnology; bio-solid matter integration; nanotoxicity; biological self-assembly.

PROFESSOR GREG PARKER Photonic crystals/quasicrystals; optical biomimetics; upconversion lasers; quantum optics; new electronic materials. PROFESSOR BILL REDMAN-WHITE Analogue and RF integrated circuit design; analogue design in novel semiconductor technologies; sensor interfaces and ultra low power design; wireless systems and circuits; device characterisation and modelling for analogue design. DR YOSHISHIGE TSUCHIYA Silicon nanodevices; nanofabrications; NEMS; quantum information devices.

Research in ECS

the construction of multi-stack devices. The cleanroom also contains a wide range of standard processing equipment. The processing of silicon-based materials are at the heart of the facility, but thin-film, polymer and glass-based technologies are available. Researchers are encouraged to use the clean room for their research and to develop skills and techniques that allow them to innovate in imaginative new ways. Areas of research include:

Nanotechnology and Nanoelectronics As silicon technology enters the nanoelectronics era, remarkable opportunities exist to combine nanomaterials, quantum phenomena and microelectronics technology in creative ways to produce new types of silicon-compatible device for a wide range of applications. The world-class electron beam lithography capability in the Nano Group allows us to research new nanomaterials that have interesting electrical, optical and magnetic properties, and also to apply these nanomaterials to improve the performance of silicon devices. One example of our research is the use of biomimetic and plasmonic nanostructures on the surface of a silicon solar cell to improve its efficiency.

Micro and Nanoelectromechanical Systems (MEMS, microsensors and actuators) MEMS research has played a very important role in the work of the group over the last twenty years. A wide range of activities is currently pursued, including inertial sensors, MEMS interface and control electronics, and MEMS fabrication for atom chips. Our wide expertise in microfabrication, design and simulation allows us to prototype devices with feature sizes ranging from the millimetre scale right down to the nanoscale. Other activities are in microfluidics; for example, devices for oceanographic applications and RF MEMS (switches and voltage converters). We also have the possibility of incorporating electronic circuitry with these MEMS devices for signal readout and conditioning.

Quantum Technologies The continuing trend in down-sizing of conventional devices has led us to dimensions in the nanometre scale in which quantum effects such as tunnelling and discrete energy levels are becoming important. The Nano Group investigates a range of possible applications that utilize quantum features. The top-down approach is based on our brand new electronbeam direct write with which we can lithographically define dimensions

down to 5nm. The bottom-up approach includes self assembly through epitaxy and electrodeposition from templates. We are investigating applications in quantum computation spintronics, and exploiting properties of quantum dots and quantum wells.

Nanophotonics and photovoltaics Optical structures artificially engineered on a mesoscopic level such as photonic bandgap crystals, periodically altered dielectric materials, holey fibers, microsculptured films and composite media are attracting attention because of their potential importance in optoelectronic technologies. Research activities in this area include: photonic crystals; planar chiral metamaterials and biomimetic structures. Layered metallic microstructures could play a special role in future technology as they can be manufactured on a sub-optical wavelength scale and fabricated using established technologies. This new form of photon control has many interesting applications in integrated optics.

Bionanotechnology and Lab-on-achip Bionanotechnology is a rapidly advancing, interdisciplinary research field at the interface of the life sciences, physics, engineering and chemistry. We are exploring new methods for the effective integration, detection, analysis, processing and manipulation of biological materials using electronic components and devices. The background of our researchers in this field is, by necessity, multidisciplinary with experience in a wide range of fields, from electronic engineering, physics and mathematics to chemistry, biology, medicine and oceanography. Our research in this area involves collaborations with researchers in medicine, biophysics, chemistry, biochemistry, oceanography, physics and with the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton. Current research activities are in the areas of medical nanotechnology, environmental sensing with submarine and remote devices, microfluidics, and nanotoxicology.

RF systems Radio Frequency and mixed-signal circuits, both in state-of-the-art mainstream IC technologies with Silicon on Insulator (SOI) and CMOS technology is now central to almost every application. Connectivity, through analogue and RF signal channels remains vital and faces ever tougher challenges in specifications and technology used. For further information about research opportunities in Nano, contact Professor Hiroshi Mizuta, or the appropriate member of the academic staff: T +44(0)23 8059 2886 E



Pervasive Systems Centre

Computing devices are becoming smaller in size and greater in number. In addition to handheld devices like phones and PDAs, devices are increasingly deployed in our environment, homes, cars, and clothes.

Pervasive Systems Centre

Pervasive computing systems – the unintrusive integration of computation into people’s lives and environments through sensing systems - is widely believed to represent the next major market for the wireless and mobile electronics industries. Pervasive systems are the third generation of computing technologies since mainframe computing and personal computing, and they are of critical importance to economy and society. Pervasive systems have many potential applications, from environmental monitoring and mobile healthcare provision through wireless sensing and sensor networks, to the use of mobile technology, GPS and the Internet to distribute information via handheld products like smart phones and PDAs.


How do we understand and engineer the behaviour of these new systems? The key challenges in pervasive computing research are system engineering methods and application of the technology. System engineering methods must incorporate treatment of design optimisation, system architecture and system dependability. Pervasive systems are resourceconstrained in terms of energy, computational power, communication overhead and production cost. A holistic design approach that considers the interactions between the various parts of the systems (embedded computing, wireless communications and energy sources) is therefore needed to achieve global optimisation and enhanced functionality. The Pervasive Systems

Centre tackles these challenges by drawing multidisciplinary expertise from across ECS research groups, ranging from sensors, wireless communications and electronic systems design to computer science theory and practice.

ECS is in a unique position ECS is perhaps the only School in the UK that has all the necessary core expertise in one place enabling the collaborative working and co-design essential to address the major research challenges in achieving the vision of pervasive systems. The School has a world-leading position and a proven track record of achievement in many aspects of pervasive systems research. At the PSC we are focusing on four main research themes: Sensor networks, low-energy sustainable systems, pervasive healthcare, and models and programming languages for pervasive computing. Pervasive systems research normally requires crossing the borders between three disciplines: wireless communications, electronics design, and computer science. Graduate students who are excited about the prospects of training, researching and innovating at the interface between these three disciplines and willing to foster interactions and bring multidisplinary focus to their research are encouraged to apply to the PSC. Students are supervised by academics and research staff from across the school research groups in Electronics and Computer Science.

For further information about research opportunities in PSC, contact Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi: E or Professor David De Roure: E

Academic staff and research interests BASHIR M. AL-HASHIMI Embedded computing systems with particular focus on low-power design and low-cost test; system-onchip research.

PROFESSOR DAVID DE ROURE e-research; pervasive systems; Semantic Web; Web 2.0; scientific work flow; e-social science; Web Science; music information retrieval.

The GLACSWEB project is using networked sensors in hostile environments to provide information about environmental change.


Science and Engineering of Natural Systems

Science and Engineering of Natural Systems


SENSe’s research takes place at the interface between computer science and the life sciences, driven by the conviction that biological systems at every scale are central to the most pressing of modern scientific questions. We are all enmeshed in a variety of large-scale social, informational, and technological systems: consider the Internet, the UK’s National Health Service, or the global economy. When we try to create or alter these systems, they don’t always behave the way we want them to. Traditional top-down design methodologies that work well in simpler cases run into trouble with both the complexity and the scale of such problems. New approaches are needed if we want to create information technology networks that are robust, scalable, and adaptable. Biology gives us the best-known examples of complex systems with these kinds of properties. The organisation of cells in an animal, termites in a colony, or species in an ecosystem provide compelling models of what must be possible, and advances in biology are rapidly expanding our knowledge of living systems at all scales. The Science and Engineering of Natural Systems (SENSe) group exploits the interface between technology and biology. It undertakes fundamental research into the science and engineering of

computational methods that can further our understanding of biological and other natural systems, and also into the development and application of novel computational systems and techniques that are inspired by nature. Research staff from SENSe are involved in the Institute for Complex Systems Simulation, which hosts a Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Complex Systems Simulation. Four-year PhD studentships are available to start in October 2010. The Institute's research activities address the critical new complex systems challenges that face science and society (see page 8). Research in SENSe includes:

Algorithmic biology The use of computational modelling and complexity theory to understand the underlying algorithmic principles of biological systems. Example topics: The major transitions in evolution, the evolution of sex, symbiosis and symbiogenesis, ecosystem selection in biofilms, networks.

Academic staff and research interests in SENSE DR SETH BULLOCK Director, University Strategic Research Group in Complexity Science Evolutionary simulation modelling.

DR JASON NOBLE Social learning; network theory; agent-based computing; cognitive science; artificial intelligence; philosophy of mind.

DR SRINANDAN DASMAHAPATRA Systems biology; knowledge technologies.

DR RICHARD WATSON Algorithmic biology; evolutionary modelling; biocomplexity; life sciences interface.

DR TERRY ELLIOTT Computational neuroscience; synthetic nervous systems.

DR KLAUS-PETER ZAUNER Molecular computing; novel substrates for computation; informed matter; autonomous experimentation.

Research in ECS

Bio-inspired computing The development of algorithms and architectures inspired by natural selection and the decentralised organisation of swarms, brains, immune systems, and so on. Example topics: Immune system behaviour, coevolutionary algorithms for multiplayer games of imperfect information, decentralised computing architectures, neuromodulation, robust analog circuits.

Biological self-assembly The study and manipulation of self-assembling biological molecules and their designed synthetic analogues to enable bottom-up construction of nano/micro-scale devices such as biosensors. Example topics: Lipidic building blocks of cell membranes, lipid polymorphism, semiconductortethered liposomes, biotin-avidin interactions, supramolecular complexes, drug delivery.

Complex networks Applying and extending network theory to deal with the large-scale and topologically complex networks found in domains such as biology, computing, geography and knowledge representation. Example topics: Constraints on networks due to spatial layout, integration of multiple interacting networks, network sampling, network structure in markets, ontology networks, social networks.

Dr Klaus-Peter Zauner’s research is aiming to make molecular computing a reality. He currently holds a Microsoft Research European Fellowship to continue this work.

Ecological and evolutionary modelling The application of modelling techniques developed in artificial intelligence to problems in ecology and evolution. Example topics: Collective building behaviour in insects, the evolution of signalling and communication, social learning behaviour, mimicry, development of sophisticated wireless sensor nodes, the epistemological status of evolutionary simulation models.

Informed matter Eliciting the principles of nature’s molecular level information processing and applying them to the development of molecular devices and the directed complexification of matter. Example topics: The use of biological cells in robot control, microfluidic systems for enzymatic computation, computational design of molecular components for information processors, theoretical models of noise-driven behaviour in stochastic genetic and signalling systems.

For further information about research opportunities in SENSE, contact Dr Seth Bullock, or the appropriate member of the academic staff: T +44(0)23 8059 4470 E


Research Centres and Institutes Optoelectronics Research Centre The Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) was established in 1989 as a national interdisciplinary research centre for optoelectronics, including optical materials and fibres, light generation and manipulation, optical networks and sensors, and nanophotonics and biophotonics. The ORC is not an ECS research centre but has particularly close links with the School of Electronics and Computer Science, including a number of staff whose roles are shared between ECS and ORC: Professor Harvey Rutt (Head of School); Infrared science and technology, Professor Peter Smith (Planar optical materials), Professor James Wilkinson (Integrated optics and microstructures), Dr Neil Broderick (Non-linear integrated devices); Dr Tracy Melvin (Optical biosensors and biophotonics); and Dr Trevor Newson (Distributed optical fibre sensors).

ALADDIN Autonomous Learning Agents for Decentralised Data and Information Networks ALADDIN is an ambitious five-year research programme, funded by the EPSRC and BAE Systems, which aims to find solutions to some of the most complex and challenging problems that we currently face in managing disaster scenarios. A key characteristic of these scenarios is the need for robust information systems and their maintenance during the events and in their aftermath. ALADDIN is developing techniques, methods and architectures to build decentralised information systems that can operate effectively in these extremely difficult circumstances, using computer agents which can sense, act, and interact in order to achieve individual and collective aims. The project is directed by Professor Nick Jennings and Dr Alex Rogers, and involves teams from Southampton, Bristol, Imperial and Oxford. ALADDIN has won a number of prestigious awards, including Chairman’s Awards for ‘Innovation’ and ‘Enhancing Customer Performance’ (2008 & 2009), and The Engineer award for ‘Best Defence Project’ (2009).

EPrints ECS has played a leading role in the worldwide drive towards Open Access to academic research. This movement was instigated in the early 1990s by ECS Professor Stevan Harnad. ECS was the first academic institution in the world to adopt a self-archiving mandate (2002) and since then all its published research has been freely available on the Web. It created the first and most widely used archiving software (EPrints) which is used worldwide by 355 known archives and continues to be evolved and supported from the School. There is a large amount of research taking place in ECS on digital libraries and repositories.

IT Innovation IT Innovation Centre, which has over 30 staff, researches, develops, architects, engineers and integrates innovative IT systems. Applying new technologies from the research community to problems in industry and commerce, it delivers proofs-of-concept, demonstrators and novel operational systems. It is advancing the deployment of information technologies such as secure service-oriented systems, Grid and Web services, workflow, Semantic Web, multimedia processing, data fusion and information discovery. We research, develop, architect, engineer and integrate innovative IT systems. Applying new technologies from the research community to problems in industry and commerce, we deliver proofs-of-concept, demonstrators and novel operational systems. We works in sectors ranging from the creative industries to science, engineering and environment. Current applications include aerospace, automotive, entertainment, environment, finance, logistics, media production, meteorology, and pharmaceuticals, but the Centre is application agnostic in its search for challenging new areas for innovation.

MailScanner MailScanner, the highly-respected open source e-mail security system, was developed in ECS by Julian Field, the School's Postmaster. With more users than AOL and Hotmail combined, MailScanner processes 500 million e-mail messages every day, removing 2 million viruses and identifying 75 million spam messages. It protects 20,000 sites worldwide, including top government departments, commercial corporations and educational institutions.


Research in ECS

OMII-UK Open Middleware Infrastructure Institute UK OMII-UK makes Grid software - which is developed by the UK e-Science Programme and its international collaborators - available and easy to use by e-researchers in all disciplines. Formed in October 2005 by bringing together internationally recognised e-Science expertise at Southampton, Edinburgh and Manchester Universities, OMII-UK provides a powerful source of well-engineered software and enables an integrated approach to the provision of higher-level and more advanced tools. Funding from the EPSRC of ÂŁ5.6 million has enabled OMII-UK to commission further development of open source eScience software components within the community, and extends Southampton's original funding to support OMII-UK until 2010.

PASCAL Pattern Analysis, Statistical Modelling, and Computational Learning PASCAL is the European Commission's IST-funded Network of Excellence for Multimodal Interfaces. The project is supported by the Cognition Unit and coordinated by the University of Southampton. The PASCAL Network of Excellence has 57 partners and the objective is to build a Europe-wide Distributed Institute which will pioneer principled methods of pattern analysis, statistical modelling and computational learning as core enabling technologies for multimodal interfaces that are capable of natural and seamless interaction with and among individual human users.

Southampton Nanofabrication Centre The Southampton Nanofabrication Centre (SNC) is a state-of-the-art facility for nanofabrication and characterisation, run by the Nano Research Group of the School of Electronics and Computer Science and based in the new Mountbatten Building. The purpose-built cleanroom provides a uniquely flexible capability across a wide range of nano- and bio-nano technologies. The Centre is directed by Professor Peter Ashburn. Amongst the large range of equipment are the JEOL E-Beam Lithography System and a Zeiss Orion helium ion microscope, the first in Europe. The facilities in the SNC are available for research, development and small-scale commercial projects through collaborative work and staff placements.

Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory The School’s High Voltage Laboratory is one of only a handful in the UK. It is a centre for research into dielectric materials and insulation systems, as well as high voltage and related phenomena. It is also a commercial testing house and consultancy service. Its state-of-the-art facilities are supported by a specialist engineering team who are all actively involved in internationally-leading research.

Web Science Web Science is a fast-emerging interdisciplinary field of research, critical to our understanding of the Web and Society. It was launched as a discipline in 2006, in an initiative led by ECS Professors Sir Tim BernersLee, inventor of the World Wide Web, Dame Wendy Hall, President of the Association for Computing Machinery, and Nigel Shadbolt, currently Advisor to the UK Government on the release of public data, with ECS Visiting Professor Dr Daniel J Weitzner, Associate Administrator for Policy, US National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Southampton is one of a number of universities around the world which now have established centres for Web Science, with the aim of bringing together researchers and educators from many disciplines, including computer science, engineering, the social sciences, health and the humanities to better understand the Web, engineer its future and ensure its social benefit. The University was awarded a Doctoral Training Centre for Web Science in 2008 (see p.9)



Postgraduate funding opportunities Studying towards an MPhil/PhD degree The majority of our PhD students are supported via scholarships and grants from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the University of Southampton, the School of Electronics and Computer Science, and UK government and industry. To sustain the excellence of the School’s research reputation, we have constructed a financial package that provides generous tax-free support for your research. First-rate UK, EU and international PhD applicants to this School can expect to be considered for financial support from a variety of sources. All applicants who receive a formal offer of an academic place will automatically be considered (subject to their eligibility) for the following scholarships (2009/10 figures):

EPSRC (DTA) Doctoral Training Award These pay UK/EU tuition fees and provide a tax-free maintenance grant of £13,290 per annum.

Zepler and Barron Scholarships These pay fees and maintenance (of £13,290 p.a. minimum) to outstanding UK, EU or international students.

Contract Scholarships Can provide payment of UK/EU/international tuition fees and provide a maintenance grant.

Commonwealth Scholarships Candidates from Commonwealth countries are encouraged to apply for these awards. Applications must be made in the first instance to the Commonwealth Scholarship agency in the country in which the applicant has their permanent home. Students applying for the Integrated PhD programme should be able to provide their own funding for the duration of the course. For further information on applying for postgraduate research contact: Postgraduate Admissions Office School of Electronics and Computer Science University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom E T +44(0)23 8059 2882 F +44(0)23 8059 4498 Postgraduate application forms are available online; see:

Research in ECS

University of Southampton and the City One of the top ten research universities in the UK, Southampton is also the country’s premier engineering university. There are around 22,000 students, of whom over 2,000 are international students, and 5,000 members of staff. The University has over 5,000 places in halls of residence, all situated close to the main campus at Highfield. All international students are guaranteed University accommodation for the duration of their degrees, and have access to specialized welfare and support services. The Highfield Campus has a wide range of services and facilities, including a full sports complex with swimming pool, excellent cinema and social facilities in the Students’ Union, arts venues, and plenty of local shopping nearby. The City Centre is only two miles away with a full range of high street shopping, bars and restaurants. Excellent transport links around Southampton are provided by the University's own Uni-Link bus service.

Southampton City Southampton is a great place to be a student. It is a lively and cosmopolitan city, with plenty going on all year round. It is one of the most popular student cities in the UK, and has a reputation for being very safe. The city centre has beautiful parks and wide open green spaces, as well as one of the UK’s best shopping malls in the centre of town. Southampton is situated on the south coast of England, right in the heart of some of the UK’s best countryside, and close to sandy beaches, the New Forest (paradoxically one of Europe’s most ancient wilderness spaces!), and the historic cathedral cities of Winchester and Salisbury. Much of Britain’s naval history is rooted in Portsmouth, only 25 miles along the coast, and Southampton itself has some of the best medieval city architecture in the UK. Southampton is only one hour by train from London, and its international airport gives it quick and easy links throughout the UK and Europe. Read more about the City and region of Southampton on the University’s website: Information for International Students is available at:

This brochure is prepared in advance of the academic year to which it relates and the University offers the information contained in it as a guide only. While the University makes every effort to check the accuracy of the factual content at the time of drafting, some changes will inevitably have occurred in the interval between publication and start of the relevant academic year. You should not therefore rely solely on this brochure and should contact the Admissions Office, School of Electronics and Computer Science and the University web site for up-to-date information concerning course fees, course content and entry requirements for the current academic year. You should also consult the University’s Prospectus ( for more specific details of the limits of the University’s liability in the event of changes to advertised courses/programmes and related information. This brochure is available in a variety of alternative formats. Contact for more details; tel. +44(0)23 8059 5433.



ECS Research Prospectus  

The School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton is world-class, research-led and multidisciplinary. The larg...