🇮🇸 The journey to infinity and beyond has just begun

March 3, 2023
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Press release from Reykjavik University

The department of Computer Science at RU: An internationally competitive hub for Computer Science research

The Department of Computer Science at Reykjavik University underwent a formative research evaluation in November 2022. The evaluation was carried out by a high-profile panel consisting of Geraldine Fitzpatrick (TU Wien, Austria), Kim Guldstrand Larsen, (Aalborg University, Denmark) and Michael Wooldridge  (University of Oxford, United Kingdom).

The resulting report states that overall, the panel were pleased and impressed to find that a department which is very young in international terms has succeeded in establishing itself as an internationally competitive hub for Computer Science research. This is a noteworthy achievement by any measure, but is particularly impressive when considering the highly competitive culture of international computer science research, where world-class researchers are very highly-sought after and can demand highly lucrative packages.

Moreover, the panel mentioned that;

The self-evaluation report we were provided with gave several key performance indicators, such as volume of publications in internationally competitive journal and conference venues, research awards such as best-paper prizes, and the acquisition of research funding. We were pleased to note that these measures seem to be on a positive upward trajectory despite some expected minor year-on-year variations.

They also noted that much of the department’s research portfolio is strongly interdisciplinary and addresses key societal challenges with demonstrable national impact.

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The panel also highlighted the quality of the research carried out within the research centres at the department. In particular, they remarked that they were particularly impressed by the work on virtual reality/virtual agents and language technologies carried out within the Center for Analysis and Design of Intelligent Agents and by the Sleep Revolution project, which has brought together a cross-disciplinary team in which computer scientists give their contribution to addressing the complex challenges related to sleep apnea in research with huge potential for international impact.

The Center for Research on Engineering Software Systems was found to have a strong applied nature to their research and impact with strong links with the local software industry. The centre has been particularly successful in attracting many women at all levels. Finally, the panel mentioned that they were truly impressed by The Icelandic Centre of Excellence for Theoretical Computer Science that, in a short period of time, has established itself as a world-class centre within Theoretical Computer Science.

Luca Aceto, deildarforseti tölvunarfræðideildar HR

Luca Aceto, chair of the department of Computer Science, says that those positive comments, aired by the panel on the department of Computer Science and its research centres, provide an independent indication that the research quality of the department is very good by international standards.

Apart from being a crucial factor in attracting talented scientists and students to Iceland from all over the world, research quality strongly impacts education at the department. Indeed, in a rapidly-evolving field such as Computer Science, research-based education is the only way any university can empower its students to invent the future. Being part of a research environment of high international quality gives students and researchers at the Department of Computer at Reykjavik University the opportunity to hone their creativity and skills, preparing them to shape a future in which humans and machines will cooperate to tackle some of the world’s most pressing scientific and societal challenges. The panel also identified several challenges for the department and offered many recommendations that the department might follow to improve its research environment and work and its impact. The department’s journey to infinity and beyond has just begun!


Originally published on 27 February.

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