University of Edinburgh School of Informatics

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University of Edinburgh School of Informatics
University of Edinburgh School of Informatics logo.jpg
Established 1998 (1998)
Parent institution
University of Edinburgh
Head of School Jane Hillston[1]
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 1717[3]
Undergraduates 1020[3]
Postgraduates 697[3]
Location Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

The School of Informatics is an academic unit of the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland, responsible for research, teaching, outreach and commercialisation in Informatics. It was created in 1998 from the former Department of Artificial Intelligence, the Centre for Cognitive Science and the Department of Computer Science, along with the Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute and the Human Communication Research Centre.

Research in the School of Informatics draws on these component disciplines and much of it is interdisciplinary in nature. The school is known for research in the areas of artificial intelligence, computational linguistics, systems biology, mathematical logic and theoretical computer science; but also contributes to many other areas of informatics.

The school was ranked 15th in the UK in the latest 2014 REF (successor to RAE) ranking[4]. The School of Informatics was ranked 12th in the world by the QS World University Rankings 2014.


The School of Informatics was awarded a 5*A[5] in the UK HEFCE's 2001 RAE, the only computer science department in the country to achieve this highest possible rating.[5] In the 2008 RAE, the School's "Quality Profile" was 35/50/15/0/0, which means that of the over 100 FTE staff research outputs evaluated, 35% were found "world-leading (4*)" and 50% "internationally excellent (3*)".[6] These figures can be interpreted in a number of ways, but place the School first by volume and tied for second (following Cambridge with 45/45/10/0/0) by percentage of research rated 3* or 4*.[7] The School is generally considered world-leading, standing with the foremost U.S. institutes, particularly in areas such as artificial intelligence, natural language processing and machine translation, and theoretical computer science.

The School has seven research Institutes:

Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation (ANC)
Theoretical and empirical study of brain processes and artificial learning systems, drawing on neuroscience, cognitive science, computer science, computational science, mathematics and statistics.
Centre for Intelligent Systems and their Applications (CISA)
Basic and applied research and development in knowledge representation and reasoning.
Through its Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute (AIAI) it works with others to deploy the technologies associated with this research.
Institute for Language, Cognition, and Computation (ILCC)
Research on all aspects of natural language processing, drawing on machine learning, statistical modeling, and computational, psychological, and linguistic theories of communication among humans and between humans and machines using text, speech and other modalities.
Institute for Computing Systems Architecture (ICSA)
Architecture and engineering of future computing systems: performance and scalability; innovative algorithms, architectures, compilers, languages and protocols.
Institute of Perception, Action and Behaviour (IPAB)
Linking computational action, perception, representation, transformation and generation processes to real or virtual worlds: statistical machine learning, computer vision, mobile and humanoid robotics, motor control, graphics and visualization.
Laboratory for Foundations of Computer Science (LFCS)
Developing and applying foundational understanding of computation and communication: formal models, mathematical theories, and software tools.


The Edinburgh Cowgate fire of December 2002 destroyed a number of buildings, including 80 South Bridge, which housed around one third of the school and its renowned AI library. Space was quickly made available in the University's Appleton Tower as a replacement.

Until June 2008, the School was dispersed over five sites: three in the George Square Campus: Appleton Tower, Buccleuch Place, Forrest Hill; and two at King's Buildings: James Clerk Maxwell Building, and the Darwin Building.

In June and July 2008, the School's research moved into its new home, The Informatics Forum. This building for interaction designed by Bennetts Associates, Reaich and Hall and Buro Happold, now houses some 500 researchers, including staff and graduate students. Construction began in October 2005, and the Forum's completion in July 2008 finally brought the School's researchers together, under one roof, some ten years after its inception.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Contact us". University of Edinburgh School of Informatics. 11 September 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Staff Headcount & Full Time Equivalent Statistics (FTE) as at Oct 17". Human Resources, The University of Edinburgh. Oct 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "University of Edinburgh Factsheet 2017/2018" (PDF). Governance & Strategic Planning, The University of Edinburgh. 31 Jan 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Research Excellence Framework 2014: Institutions Ranked By Subject" (PDF).
  5. ^ a b 2001 UK Research Assessment Exercise - UOA 25 : Computer Science
  6. ^ 2008 Research Assessment Exercise - UOA 23 : Computer science and informatics
  7. ^ Informatics News: RAE 2008 results:
    Informatics and Computer Science

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°56′40″N 3°11′14″W / 55.94444°N 3.18722°W / 55.94444; -3.18722