Many of the challenges facing the world, such as climate and environmental change, communication and transport, food and energy supply, global security, and infrastructure, are hard to tackle because they require us to understand, manage and control a complex system.
A recurring theme is that the system is very large, there are many inter-connections and interactions are non-linear, and the behaviour of the system is emergent (i.e. exhibits large-scale behaviour different from that of the individual components). A related research strand is informatics
: the engineering of systems that manage and model information.
Research at Aston is developing principled novel methods such as extracting, inferring and communicating information, developing decision-support systems using methods from cognitive science and computational intelligence, understanding the properties and characteristics of complex systems along with modelling complex systems including solitons and optical fibres.
These methods form a cross-disciplinary framework using computer science, probabilistic modelling, Bayesian statistics, machine learning, and statistical physics.