The ISRC is organised in a team structure. We prefer "teams" as opposed to "groups" because we believe in a dynamic environment - teams may grow, merge, expire etc depending on the current research challenges and environment.
There are currently seven teams in the Intelligent Systems Research Centre. These are:
1. Bio-Inspired and Neuro-Engineering Team (BiSNE)
The research focus of the Bio-inspired and Neuro-Engineering team (BiSNE) is the development of computational approaches to neural architectures and characteristics inspired from biology. The unifying theme for team members is the investigation, development and optimisation of large scale neural systems that emulate biological sensory capabilities such as vision, sound and haptics; with the appropriate systems emulated on reconfigurable hardware. Such motivation has encouraged the exploration of spiking neural networks models, their topologies and training regimes. Current research is targeted at the emulation and modeling of visual processing capabilities of the human brain and will build on the existing collaboration and establish additional links with the leading neuroscience research in this area.
2. Cognitive Robotics Team
The cognitive robotics team focuses on novel, advanced control methods for autonomous mobile robots, merging approaches from Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science and Engineering. Reflecting the increasing importance of autonomous robotics in the service industry, healthcare and manufacturing, research in Cognitive Robotics at ISRC ranges from investigating the foundations of robotics (robotics as a science) to applications of robotics such as industrial or assistive robotics. The group publishes in the areas of cognitive mobile robotics, robot manipulators, machine learning, biologically-inspired approaches to robot control, artificial intelligence, computer vision, pattern recognition, theoretical foundations of robotics science and knowledge management.
3. Brain Computer Interfacing and Assistive Technologies Team
The brain-computer interface and assistive technology (BCIAT) research team’s work encompasses both theoretical and applied aspects of intelligent assistive systems development primarily based on the processing of brain signals with the primary objective of increasing independence and improving quality of life of people with disabilities due to old age, injury or disease. Brain-computer interface (BCI) systems facilitate real-time translation of the electrical activity of the brain (acquired from electrophysiological signals such as EEG) into commands to control devices. They do not rely on muscular activity and can therefore provide communication and control for those who are severely paralyzed (e.g. locked-in). BCI systems may also help actuate a supportive rehabilitation device resulting in enhanced motor restoration in post-stroke paralysis. Beyond medical applications, a practical BCI offers general users an additional and independent communication channel based on trained brain signal patterns alone. This opens up promising opportunities for a range of novel applications such as computer games with intuitive control strategies and advanced virtual reality (VR) scenarios.
4. Computational Neuroscience Research Team
One of the most important scientific challenges of the 21st century is to achieve a greater understanding of the biological brain. The Computational Neuroscience Research Team (CNRT), seeks to develop accurate computational models of brain regions, which are known to be affected during the course of depression and AD. Such models will be critical in studies of the neurodynamics of aging and neurodegeneration and can be used to support hypotheses that are obtained in experimental paradigms. The CNRT brings together the skill sets of two prominent and complementary research centres – the Intelligent Systems Research Centre, at the University of Ulster and Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, at Trinity College Dublin.
The CNRT aims to create sustainable mechanisms for strong, effective research collaboration involving the development of computational models for improved understanding of the brain and brain diseases. These will be instrumental in the development of improved diagnostic tools, better treatments and greater progress towards clinical/medical validation. The immediate focus of the CNRT is be neurological modelling of depression and Alzheimer’s disease, extending to study modelling of other crucial mental health areas in the longer term.
5. Nanoelectronics Research Team
The Nano Electronics Team aims to carry out research into and develop intelligent systems platforms based on electronic nano-scale devices and their associated architectures. The research spans a range of neural-inspired paradigms based on artificial neural networks and their many permutations. The team researches the design and implementation of neural-inspired devices and nano-architectures for intelligent systems whilst developing the associated technology and IP to a point where it could be transferred to industry. The research of the team also investigates the problems associated with the implementation of tera scale architectures such as power consumption, reliability, self repair and evolvability. Biologically plausible intelligent systems envisaged by the team require a vast increase in the scale of neural network architectures by using ultra low power, compact neuron cells with dense routing networks.
6. Serious Games and Virtual Worlds Team
The Serious Games and Virtual Worlds team seeks to focus on world class research, supporting the growth of the industry in the north west of Ireland and attracting external investment. The activities of the team focus on the increasingly important medium of virtual worlds and the application/development of video games technologies in a range of domains. The research within the team is currently focused on Experiential Based Learning in Virtual environments, VLE\Virtual World Integration, Hardware\Virtual World Integration and Optimal Hardware Architectures for Gaming Applications. The team works closely with industry and is an academic partner with Emergent Technologies which provides access to next generation game development tools (Gamebryo Engine) for teaching and research.
7. Ambient Intelligence Team
Ambient Intelligence (AmI) refers to electronic environments that are sensitive and responsive to the presence of people. In an ambient intelligence world, devices work in concert to support people in carrying out their everyday life activities, tasks and rituals in easy, natural way using information and intelligence that is hidden in the network connecting these devices. As these devices grow smaller, more connected and more integrated into our environment, the technology disappears into our surroundings until only the user interface remains perceivable by users. The research team at ISRC has a combined experience of many decades with multi-disciplinary backgrounds in areas including concurrent & distributed systems; computer networking; distributed multimedia; pervasive computing; internet security and mobile computing. One of the focus areas is the application of Location Awareness within ambient Intelligent computing environments.
The problem of accurately pinpointing location indoors is well known and the team is at the forefront of conducting ground-breaking research into this field. Accurately determining location is important because then smart devices can. Our expertise in this area is recognised globally and we have the distinction of being appointed as part of a select UK commissioned research into location awareness.