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Computer Science and Software Engineering research

08 November 2023

Our Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering has a strong focus on research. We host fifteen active research groups that study a range of topics, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cybersecurity. Find out about Computer Science and Software Engineering research at UC.


We research in a wide variety of areas including, but not limited to: 

  • Theoretical computer science
  • Computer science education
  • Intelligent computer tutoring
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • Computer vision and deep learning
  • Computer networking and cyber security
  • Multimedia and computer graphics
  • Human computer interaction
  • Software engineering and its applications 

World-renowned academics

Many of the lead researchers in our research groups are award winners and have international reputations in their fields.

Professor Tim Bell (CNZM) is the primary instigator of Computer Science Unplugged, a system of activities for teaching computer science without computers. In 2024, Professor Bell was awarded the Companion of New Zealand Order of Merit for services to computer science education. He is also a winner of the UC Innovation Award which honours efforts to have academic research adopted in the wider community. He also received the 2018 SIGCSE award for Outstanding Contribution to Computer Science Education.  His research group is active in supporting and evaluating K-12 curriculum changes around CS education and computational thinking.

Professor Andy Cockburn specialises in human-computer interaction. Professor Cockburn serves on the editorial boards of ACM ToCHI, the Human-Computer Interaction Journal, and Foundations and Trends in Human-Computer Interaction. He was papers co-chair for CHI 2014 and 2015. In 2015 he was inducted into the CHI Academy, which honours leaders in the field.

Professor Tanja Mitrovic  is the leader of the ICTG (Intelligent Computer Tutoring Group). Professor Mitrovic is a past president of the International Artificial Intelligence in Education Society, and past President of the Asia-Pacific Society for Computers in Education (2020-2021). She specialises in Artificial Intelligence methods in online learning systems. She has developed Intelligent Tutoring Systems that are used worldwide. Professor Mitrovic is the Associate Editor of the following journals: Artificial Intelligence in Education, and Research and Practice in Technology-based Education, as well as one of the three co-editors of the Handbook of Artificial Intelligence in Education. Her most recent research focuses on AI support for video-based learning.

Professor Richard Green specialises in computer vision. He is the leader of the Computer Vision Lab. Professor Green also leads a $3 million five year MBIE research project which has successfully developed an intelligent vision-based pruning system (Maaratech). In 2021 Prof. Green won a $10 million five year MBIE grant for “Enabling unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) to use tools in complex dynamic environments.” This exciting project involves several other Universities including Auckland, Victoria and Lincoln University as well as overseas researchers and many industries. In 2023 Professor Richard Green also won a $6 million five year MBIE grant for a project “Predicting the unseen: a new method for accurate yield estimation in viticulture/horticulture.” This is known as the “Occlusion Project” and involves Lincoln University and Lincoln Agritech as well as other universities and companies.

Professor Andreas Willig specializes in wireless ad-hoc and sensor networking, wireless real-time and industrial networking, UAV networks, and protocol design and performance evaluation. He leads the Network Research Group.

Associate Professor Matthias Galster specialises in Software Engineering. He heads the Software Engineering Research and Applications Lab. Software Engineering researchers at UC are also members of Software Innovation NZ. Dr Galster studies how we can improve the way we develop high-quality software. Focus areas include software requirements engineering, software architecture design, software architecture knowledge management and decision making, variability in software architecture, software engineering teams, processes and practices and empirical software engineering.

Dr Walter Guttmann leads the Theoretical Computer Science research group. Dr Guttmann studies algebraic models of computing and their use to develop provably correct algorithms and software systems. The goals are to understand the axioms that govern computing systems, to facilitate reasoning about them and to guarantee zero errors.

Doctoral Scholarships

The Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering offers scholarships to support students for study towards a research doctoral degree in Computer Science and Software Engineering at Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury. For more information about the Doctoral scholarship, please refer to the UC CSSE Doctoral Scholaship Regulations.


Research reports

Our library of technical reports and theses illustrates the breadth of our students' work. 

For all enquiries please contact the chair of the Research Committee:

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