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Our research

We aim to be a leading African centre for research and study of information systems, producing world class graduates and research while playing a positive role in the upliftment and empowerment of our community. This is only possible through the excellent endeavour of our academic staff, all with strong IS/IT background, in theoretical and research areas, as well as contemporary industry experience.

We have a dual mandate: to bring the best of IS knowledge to the classroom for dissemination to students and to assist in the production of IS knowledge through active research and publication.  

Research Areas

The main research focus of the department is the role of ICT in National Development. This entails looking at the relevance of current information systems issues in the context of both the first-world and developing context within South Africa as well as the rest of African. In particular, the following specific research areas have been identified by the staff as areas of strength.

  • Education: Educational technologies for previously disadvantaged SA students; teaching educationally disadvantaged students; e-learning; IS staff and skills shortages; IS careers; perceptions of IS in work and study; computer literacy.
  • Management of the IS function: IS planning; strategic aspects of IS systems; management information systems; systems thinking in IS; enterprise IS architectures; management of IS professionals; enterprise computing; computer supported cooperative work & EMS.
  • Knowledge management: indigenous KM systems; modelling; data mining.System development: methodologies of IS development; teams and project management; OO approaches to systems development; system development approaches.
  • Electronic commerce and business: e-markets; SME's; mobile computing; e-business models; e-government.
  • Development and cultural issues: IS and culture; the digital divide; IT implementation and 1st world technologies in 3rd world environment; gender issues in IS and women in IT; IT government policy; open source software; IT adoption.
  • Cybersecurity: security governance; security intelligence; computer forensics; behavioural issues (human aspects); security education training and awareness; information privacy.

Research in Computer Science

Research in the Department is organised into well-equipped laboratories funded by international, governmental and industrial sponsors.

CENTRE FOR ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE RESEARCH
(Director: Professor Tommie Meyer, Deputy Director: Associate Professor Deshen Moodley).
The Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research (CAIR) is a national centre, hosted by the CSIR, with nodes at a number of South African universities. CAIR conducts research related to foundational and applied aspects of Artificial Intelligence. The UCT node has a specific focus on Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, as well as Adaptive and Cognitive Systems, and explores applications of Artificial Intelligence for social and economic development in South Africa and Africa.

CENTRE IN ICT FOR DEVELOPMENT
(Interim Director: Professor Wallace Chigona).
The UCT Centre in ICT for Development seeks to create ICTs that are appropriate for developing nations. To date, most innovation in ICT has been driven by the developed world to meet challenges originating from that context. This centre will design, create and evaluate technologies that address the needs of the developing world and the people who live there.

COLLABORATIVE VISUAL COMPUTING
(Co-ordinator: Professor J Gain).
Topics of research include: Collaborative Virtual Environments; Usability and Human-Computer Interaction; Computer Graphics; Image Analysis applied to Medical Images; Virtual Reality and Behavioural Therapy; allowing end-users to create interesting virtual environments; Interaction with Mobile Computing Devices; Scalable Interfaces; and implications of these for Government Information Technology Policy. Special interests within the CVC lab include Socially Aware Computing, VR Methodology, Virtual Environments, Modelling and Procedural Graphics.

DIGITAL LIBRARIES
(Co-ordinator: Associate Professor H Suleman).
Research areas covered within digital libraries include information storage and retrieval; multilingual retrieval; Web-based systems; scalable and flexible repositories; interoperability and protocols; component-based systems; Open Access; and cultural heritage preservation.

HIGH PERFORMANCE COMPUTING
(Co-ordinator: Associate Professor M Kuttel).
This laboratory investigates aspects of high performance computing, including: parallel algorithms; multi-core and GPU programming; computational science; and scientific visualisation;.

HUMAN-COMPUTER INTERACTION
(Co-ordinators: Dr Melissa Densmore and Dr Brian DeRenzi). 
Affiliated with the Centre in ICT4D, this laboratory takes a human-centred approach to the design and deployment of systems. Domains of research include design for mothers, design for community-health workers, local content creation for communities, media-based peer health education, and co-design across borders, with a focus on the role of HCI in making effective, usable and sustainable systems to address problems of inequality and social justice.

NETWORK AND INFORMATION SECURITY
(Co-ordinator: Professor A Hutchison).
Computer Network Security: this group aims to design and implement network security protocols to address problems of security in web services, cloud computing environments and enterprise environments; research includes goal-oriented protocol design and identity management.

NETWORKING FOR DEVELOPMENT
(Co-ordinators: Dr David L Johnson and Dr Melissa Densmore).
This group focuses on Dynamic Spectrum Access and Wireless Mesh Networks for low-cost wireless back-haul infrastructure, and community wireless cloudlet services to provide low cost, low latency access to local content. Our work involves a mix of creating solutions using network theory and systems combined with trial networks that provide tangible measurable results.

For more information on the research being conducted by our team, visit the Academic Staff page where you will find links to their research profiles.

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