Department of Informatics

Facilities

We carry out annual reviews of our computing facilities, so you can be sure that you will be working with the most up-to-date hardware and software. Students get 24/7 access to professional workstation-grade PCs, and – for specialised modules and projects – access to dedicated TV studios, an HD video editing suite, robotics hardware, and wearable and haptic interface devices. These are all supported by a helpdesk and team of technical staff.

General Teaching Labs

Informatics general teaching labAn Informatics general teaching lab

There are three main teaching labs for exclusive use of Informatics students, each equipped with professional-grade workstations (Dell Precision range) running Windows 7. Software available in the labs includes:

  • program development environments, including Netbeans, Visual Studio, BlueJ, Eclipse, Android SDK, CUDA SDK, MATLAB, Robot C
  • programming languages, including Java, C++, C#, Visual Basic, Python, Perl, Haskell, Prolog, Lisp, Scala
  • creative and media related packages, including 3D Studio Max, Adobe Creative Suite 6, Cortona 3D, DaVinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, Maya
  • a wide range of standard productivity and document preparation tools, including Microsoft Office, EndNote, Emacs, MiKTeX
  • many other software packages and tools, including Aqua DataStudio, Apache Tomcat, Maple, MySQL, NLTK, Phidgets libraries, SPSS, Wireshark.

Informatics computing accounts provide a generous quota of network disk storage, a web directory, a subversion repository, and a MySQL account. All user data is automatically backed up and personal configurations are preserved ("roamed") across sessions and workstations. All Informatics users have remote access to interactive Linux servers. High quality printing and scanning facilities are available and wireless connectivity is good in all labs.

Specialist Teaching Labs

Specialist Teaching Labs Media Technology Lab video editing suite

Camera equipment from the MTL LabMedia Technology Lab filming equipment

In addition to the general purpose Informatics labs, a number of smaller labs are provided for particular activities (peer-assisted learning or robotics classes, for example). There are also number of teaching labs with specialist hardware.

Another major teaching facility is the Media Technology Lab (MTL). This contains two fully-equipped digital TV studios with broadcast-quality cameras, sound recording, digital lighting, etc. Each studio has an associated gallery with control facilities, mixing desks and digital recording equipment. Students using the Media Technology Lab have access to a Mac-based edit suite running professional post-production software, including Final Cut Studio HD. Productions from the MTL studios can be broadcast live or archived for delivery on demand using the department's own web and streaming media services.

Research Labs

Gantry Robot LabGantry Robot Lab

TMS/EEG LabTMS/EEG Lab

Eye tracking equipmentEye tracking equipment

Each of the research groups in Informatics has one or more specialist labs. These contain facilities including: machine tools for robot construction, motion capture equipment (sensor suits and 3D video technology), eye tracking equipment, a multi-viewpoint observation area with synchronised video streams, and networked ubiquitous electronic devices.

There are also studios with facilities for broadcast-quality television recording, a gantry robot that allows unrestricted 3D motion within a large volume (e.g. for insect flight simulation), and a rig that integrates EEG with simultaneous transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

Research groups have ring-fenced allocations on the University's high performance compute facility, which contains over a thousand CPU cores, with Infiniband interconnects and 200TB of storage. Within the department we run CUDA-based compute servers (each containing multiple NVIDIA GPU coprocessors), and a dedicated multi-processor graphics rendering server.