Research Supervisor Details

This page provides additional information about our research supervisors. You can either browser supervisors by department or search for them by keyword. Most supervisors also have a personal webpage where you can find out more about them.

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Dr Nikolaos Aletras
n.aletras@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science
  • NLP
  • Computational Social Science
  • Legal NLP
  • Data Science
  • Machine Learning
Dr Mauricio Alvarez Lopez
mauricio.alvarez@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Dr. Álvarez López is interested in machine learning in general, its interplay with mathematics and statistics, and its applications. In particular, his research interests include probabilistic models, kernel methods and stochastic processes. He works on the development of new approaches and the application of Machine Learning in areas that include applied neuroscience, systems biology, and humanoid robotics.

Professor Jon Barker
j.p.barker@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Professor Barker’s research is concerned with speech processing in both humans and machines. His work in human speech processing involves developing computational models of human speech perception and applying these models in applications such as hearing aid signal processing and speech intelligibility prediction/enhancement. His work on machine speech processing focuses on distant microphone speech recognition for deployment in noisy environments. 

Dr Kirill Bogdanov
k.bogdanov@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

In traditional software development, specification and testing do not play an important role. In particular, changes to software code do not normally get reflected in a specificaton. At the same time, specification-based testing methods are very important for maintaing software quality, for identification of missing or incorrectly-implemented behaviour. K.Bogdanov's research aims to develop a method and a tool to take an incomplete state-based specification, hints for developers as to how it relates to code and both (1) extract an up-to-date specification and (2) generate tests from it.
A number of existing specificaton-based testing methods rely on a program under test being built with testing in mind, and lose a lot in power if this is not true. In his work, observation of program behaviour under test is used to make up for the missing information about a system, making it more amenable to testing using these methods. 
More recent work focuses on passive inference of software models from logs, where it is not possible to attempt experiments on a system being reverse-engineered.

Professor Kalina Bontcheva
k.bontcheva@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Kalina Bontcheva is a senior research scientist and the holder of a prestigious EPSRC career acceleration fellowship, working on analysis and summarisation of social media. Her main interests are information extraction, opinion mining, text summarization, and their application to analysing social media.

Professor Guy Brown
g.j.brown@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Professor Brown's main research interest is Computational Auditory Scene Analysis (CASA), which aims to build machine systems that mimic the ability of human listeners to segregate complex mixtures of sound. He also has interests in noise-robust and reverberation-robust automatic speech recognition, models of auditory function in normal and impaired hearing, binaural modelling and the phonetics of overlapping speech. A recent interest is the application of CASA technology in mobile robot platforms. He is the co-editor (with DeLiang Wang) of Computational auditory scene analysis: Principles, Algorithms, and Applications (IEEE Press/Wiley-Interscience).

Dr Heidi Christensen
heidi.christensen@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science
Professor Fabio Ciravegna
f.ciravegna@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

Focus is on knowledge and information management over large scale. The research covers 3 main areas:

• How to capture information over large scale (the Web, the Social Web, distributed organisational archives, mobile devices, drones, sensors, etc.)

• How to use the captured information (e.g. for knowledge management, business intelligence, customer analysis, management of large scale events via social media, etc.)

• How to communicate the information (to final users, problem owners, etc.).

Research areas covered are knowledge and information management, Web technologies, human computer interaction, search technologies and natural language processing.

Prof Ciravegna’s research income since 2006 tops £7 million, of which about 10% directly from industry (e.g., Rolls-Royce plc).

Professor John Clark
john.clark@sheffield.ac.uk

Department of Computer Science
I have a general interest in dependable systems and high integrity software and systems but my primary focus is on cybersecurity aspects.  I also have significant interests in the Internet of Things. I have particular interests in applying AI to problems in cybersecurity. Below is a summary of my main interests:
 
*  safe and secure systems
*  security of manufacturing systems, security of robotics and security of buildings
*. approaches to user authentication.
*. use of AI for crypto design and analysis
*  use of AI in quantum information processing (with a security focus)
*  use of AI for testing of modern critical systems (e.g. autonomous ones)
*  security and safety of AI
*  use of AI to reverse engineer hidden phenomena
*  use of AI in malware detection and intrusion detection.
*  use of AI in digital forensics
Professor Richard Clayton
r.h.clayton@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

Computational models of structure and function of human cells, tissues and organs, with an emphasis on:

  • Calibrating models against experimental and clinical data using machine learning.
  • High performance computing and numerical techniques for computationally intensive models.
  • Uncertainty quantification and sensitivity analysis of detailed multiscale models of the heart.
  • Gaussian process emulation of computationally intensive models.
  • Developing tools to guide intervention and reatment in clinical settings.

See also www.insigneo.org for information about the Insigneo institute for in-silico medicine in Sheffield.

Mr Alexander Cope
a.cope@sheffield.ac.uk

Department of Computer Science

No details available

Professor Hamish Cunningham
hamish@gate.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

My work centers on Internet of Things (IoT) devices for sustainable food production. Increases in domestic and community food production promise to reduce transport-related carbon emissions and promote resilience in face of supply chain interruptions or economic shocks. Aquaponics is a low-impact, high-density agriculture method which has a recognised potential to increase sustainability of food production, according to the UN’s FAO and others (Somerville et al. 2014; Kotzen et al. 2013; Goddek et al. 2015). By combining elements of aquaculture and hydroponics, it offers reduced input requirements and waste disposal load in comparison to each, while still providing high volume fish and vegetable outputs. Year-round growing is possible even in unfavourable climates, and operations can be tailored to many types of environment, including arid, urban and peri-urban areas. The recirculation and biofiltration of water performed in aquaponics systems can reduce load on agricultural water sources (in contrast to both hydroponics and soil-based growing).
 
The use of aquaponics is increasing, but there are several factors which create barriers to entry, including:
  • Expertise. The method relies on a continuously balanced multi-element ecosystem and requires a combination of technical and agricultural skills that are not widespread. Further, optimal configuration varies radically according to local conditions, and a formulaic statement of how to tailor the method is not yet available for many cases.
  • Setup costs; energy usage. These are of the order of aquaculture and hydroponics systems, i.e. significantly higher than soil-based growing.
We are working to to lower these barriers by a combination of technical innovations (IoT devices, cloud-based data analytics and control dashboards) and social interventions.
 
We develop the unPhone ESP32-based IoT development platform, and the WaterElf aquaponics control and monitoring device.
Professor John Derrick
j.derrick@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

Specification, refinement and testing using formal methods:

  • Refinement in state-based systems
  • Verification of concurrent algorithms
  • Testing distributed and concurrent systems
  • Integrated formal methods
  • Testing of formal specifications
  • Process algebraic refinement
  • Frameworks for distributed systems: architectural semantics, specification templates, object orientation, interfaces

I have specific interest in the use and theory of refinement in specifications languages. We have recently been applying this to the verification and liearizability of concurrent algorithms. Work on testing includes that on property-based testing for distributed applications (e.g. those written in Erlang), and reverse engineering. I have coordinated two EU FP7 grants in this area (ProTest and Prowess).


Dr Gordon Fraser
gordon.fraser@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science
Professor Rob Gaizauskas
r.gaizauskas@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

Rob's research interests are in natural language processing, specifically in information extraction from natural language texts, software architectures for natural language processing and evaluation of language processing systems.

Dr Yoshi Gotoh
y.gotoh@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

Yoshi has been working in the field of speech and spoken language processing for years. His current interests include audio visual processing, in particular, video analysis and video information retrieval.

Professor Thomas Hain
t.hain@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

Thomas' research interests cover many areas in natural language processing, speech, audio and multimedia technology, machine learning, and complex system optimisation and design.

His interests include: large vocabulary continuous speech recognition, non-linear methods in speech processing, low bit-rate speech coding, machine learning, multi-modal systems, image classification, microphone arrays, system and resource optimisation.

Dr Mark Hepple
m.r.hepple@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

Dr Hepple has wide-ranging interests across Computational Linguistics and Natural Language Processing, and has published on many topics, including formal grammar and parsing, information extraction, clinical text mining, temporal information processing, robust dialogue processing, and efficient storage of large-scale linguistic data.

Professor Robert Hierons
r.hierons@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Professor Hierons’ research largely concerns software testing. The main aim of this research is to devise automated techniques (and tools) that generate efficient, systematic test suites on the basis of program code, models or specifications. Progress in this area can help industry to produce higher quality software and potentially to do so more quickly. He has recently become interested in the testing of autonomous systems, with a particular focus on robotics.

Dr Nesrine Kaaniche
n.kaaniche@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science
Dr. Nesrine Kaaniche's research interests are situated in several domains of ICT (wired and wireless) security and privacy issues, with a special emphasis on the design of secure and privacy-preserving cryptographic algorithms and protocols for emerging networks, i.e., IoT environments, opportunistic networks, cloud, data provenance systems, and blockchain-based applications.

Dr Elif Kavun
e.kavun@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science
  • Hardware security
  • Design and implementation of cryptographic primitives
  • Lightweight cryptography
  • Side-channel attacks and countermeasures
Dr Vitaveska Lanfranchi
v.lanfranchi@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Her research has a fundamental interdisciplinary nature, and has developed both in industry and in academia. It concerns the intersection among ubiquitous computing, knowledge capture and visualization and human computer interaction in fields as diverse emergency response, mobility, smart cities, manufacturing, aerospace and more recently wellbeing. Her research focuses on user participatory design methods to develop novel methodologies and interfaces for ubiquitous and mobile computing.

Dr Chenghua Lin


Department of Computer Science
Dr Haiping Lu
h.lu@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Dr Lu’s current research focuses on machine learning, brain imaging, and tensor analysis. His research also covers related areas such as big data, biomedical engineering, computer vision, and signal/image processing. His core expertise is tensor analysis and learning.

Dr Ning Ma


Department of Computer Science
Dr Steve Maddock
s.maddock@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

Dr Steve Maddock's research interests include computer facial modelling and animation, surface deformation, AR and VR technology and applications, and sketch-based interfaces for simulation.

Dr Michael Mangan
m.mangan@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

My group uses bio-robotic methods to investigate how animals solve complex problems such as navigation before abstracting lessons learned to solve engineering goals. 

To reveal how animals function we utilise methods from computational neuroscience, behavioural ecology, graphics, information theory, computer vision, machine learning, and robotics disciplines. 

We then use more standard robotic and engineering methods to apply lessons to specific problem areas including robot controllers, novel sensing, and new methods of AI and machine learning inspired by natural intelligence.  We celebrate this truly multidisciplinary approach which we find both stimulating and challenging. 

Therefore we welcome exceptional candidates from across fields but those with strong backgrounds in mathematical, physical sciences and engineering disciplines (including computer science and computational neuroscience) are particularly well suited to research in my group.  

Professor James Marshall
james.marshall@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

Professor Marshall's research interests cover modelling of collective behaviour, particularly in social insects, evolutionary theory, decision theory, robotics, and theoretical neuroscience

Dr Diana Maynard
d.maynard@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Dr Maynard's research focuses mainly on developing information extraction tools to understand and aggregate information from text, in particular those dealing with social media analysis and sentiment analysis. She also works on term extraction and Semantic Web technology based on NLP techniques. She is particularly interested in combining text analysis with behavioural and social information, and welcomes multidisciplinary research in this area, such as understanding social media behaviour in the context of political or environmental campaigns.

Professor Phil McMinn
p.mcminn@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

Professor McMinn's broad areas of research are in software engineering and software testing. 
 
He is particularly interested in developing automated techniques to test case generation, fault detection, and fault fixing. His main expertise is in applying search heuristics to these problems – an area known as search-based software engineering (SBSE).
 
He is currently working on:
 
* Automatic test data generation for programs
* Automatic generation of tests for databases and database-centric software
* Automatic detection and fixing of "presentation failures" in web applications – visual discrepancies in the layout of a web page
* Automatic grading and feedback provision for programming assignments.
Professor Roger Moore
r.k.moore@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

Prof. Moore has over forty years experience in speech technology R&D, and much of his research has been based on insights derived from human speech perception and production.  In recent years, he has been working on a unified theory of spoken language processing in the general area of 'Cognitive Informatics' called 'PRESENCE' (PREdictive SENsorimotor Control and Emulation). PRESENCE weaves together accounts from a wide variety of different disciplines concerned with the behaviour of living systems - many of them outside the normal realms of spoken language - and compiles them into a new framework that is intended to breathe life into a new generation of research into spoken language processing, especially for Autonomous Social Agents and Human-Robot Interaction.

Prof. Moore is involved in collaborations aimed at Clinical Applications of Speech Technology (particularly for  individuals with speaking difficulties) as well as Creative Applications of Speech Technology through interactions with colleagues from the performing arts.

Dr Siobhan North
s.north@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

Dr North currently works in two areas; XML databases and formal languages. The XML database work currently concerns indexing and compression techniques and the formal language work relates to translation between Isabelle and SAL.

Dr Pietro Oliveto
p.oliveto@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

My main research interests are in randomized search heuristics and randomized algorithms in general, with strong emphasis on runtime analysis and computational complexity. My main expertise is the analysis of bio-inspired search heuristics such as evolutionary algorithms, ant colony optimisation and artificial immune systems. My work focuses on understanding the working principles of algorithms inspired by nature and on analysing their performance.

I am currently working on:

  • population-based bio-inspired heuristics
  • parallel genetic algorithms
  • genetic programming
  • evolutionary dynamic optimisation
  • black box complexity
  • Fixed budget computation
  • bio-inspired heuristics for combinatorial optimisation.
Dr Sebastian Ordyniak
s.ordyniak@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

My research focus lies in the development and analysis of efficient algorithms for hard computational problems that arise in practical applications, as well as the establishment of theoretical limits of algorithmic approaches. Namely, I consider problems arising in the areas of Combinatorial Optimisation, Artificial Intelligence, and Logic. My main interest lies in the development of so-called parameterised algorithms, i.e., exact algorithms that are
tailor-suited not only to a specific problem but to a particular class of problem instances, which are often characterised by exhibiting a certain kind of structure. The main advantage of these algorithms is that they are usually more efficient than general purpose algorithms on real-world instances.

Dr Pan Peng
p.peng@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Dr. Pan Peng's research interests lie on the intersection between theoretical computer science and network science, with the goal of developing new techniques to efficiently process and analyze diverse, dynamic and massive network data. Currently, he is focused on very resource-efficient algorithms that read or store only a small portion of the large input while still have good and provable performance guarantees, including property testing, streaming algorithms. He is also very interested in the theory and applications of dynamic graph algorithms, spectral graph theory, sparsification and random graphs.

Professor Tony Prescott
t.j.prescott@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

My research is within the areas of cognitive neuroscience, artificial intelligence and bio-inspired robotics. A particular focus is on the investigation of biomimetic and biohybrid systems: an example of the former would be an animal-like or humanoid robot, of the latter a human-machine interface. Current research is directed towards (i) social cognition for humanoid robots including the possibility synthetic autobiographical memory and of a robot "sense of self”; (ii) active touch sensing for attention, orienting, and spatial memory; (iii) assistive and companion robotic technologies; (iv) haptic interfaces for sensory augmentation; (v) telepresence robotics, and (vi) societal and ethical issues in technology.

Dr Paul Richmond
p.richmond@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

My current research relates to the acceleration of complex systems simulations using accelerator architectures such as GPUs. More generally my research interests relate to the software engineering challenges of how complex systems can be described using high level or domain specific tools and how automated mapping to parallel and distributed hardware architectures can be achieved. I am particularly interesting in applying agent based techniques to cellular biology, computational neuroscience, pedestrian and transport system as well as working with industry.

Within previous research positions I have worked on developing novel parallel languages and techniques which will allow neuroscientists to run and analyse simulations of up to a billion spiking neurons. In addition to computational neuroscience, I am particularly interested in the use of the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) to accelerate computational simulations. I have previously created the FLAME GPU software framework which allows non GPU specialists to harness the GPUs performance for real time simulation and visualisation. Whilst my background is in high performance parallel computation and computer graphics, I have a general interest in GPU algorithms and in computer graphics techniques for simulation, animation, rendering, serious games, automatic building generation (including aspects of GIS) and a general interest in aerial robotics.

Dr Anthony Simons
a.j.simons@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

Dr Simons’ research focuses on turning formal results from verification and testing into practical benefits for software engineering. His current research areas include model-based testing and model-driven engineering, with applications to Cloud computing. He has also published widely in object-oriented software engineering, including type theory and software development methods. He is inventor of the JWalk automatic software testing tool for Java; and the JAST library for processing XML in Java. He is co-author of the OPEN Toolbox of Techniques.

Dr Mike Stannett
m.stannett@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

Dr Stannett is interested in many areas of research, including Heterotic Computing, Unconventional Computing, Physics and Computation, Hypercomputation Theory, and First-Order Relativity Theories. He also has strong research links with members of the Algebraic Logic group at the Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest).

Dr Mark Stevenson
mark.stevenson@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

Mark Stevenson’s research focusses on Natural Language Processing and Information Retrieval. Topics he has worked on include word sense disambiguation, Information Extraction, plagiarism/reuse detection, lexicon adaptation, cross-lingual information retrieval and exploratory search. His research includes applications of these technologies to a range of areas including biomedical journal articles (interpretation of documents, extraction of information from them and data mining information from corpora), cultural heritage (automatic organisation of corpora, exploratory search interfaces) and software testing (generation of realistic test suites).

Professor Georg Struth
g.struth@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Georg works mainly on logical and algebraic methods in computer science, formalised mathematics with interactive theorem provers and program verification and correctness. His interests range from foundational work on the axiomatisation and semantics of sequential and concurrent computing systems to applications in the design and implementation of program verification software.

Dr Dirk Sudholt
d.sudholt@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

Dirk's research interests include randomized algorithms, algorithmic analysis, and combinatorial optimization. His main expertise is the analysis of nature-inspired search heuristics such as evolutionary algorithms, ant colony optimization, and particle swarm optimization. These algorithms mimic powerful mechanisms from nature and apply them for solving complex optimisation problems. Despite their popularity and many successful applications in various disciplines, it is not well understood when and why these algorithms perform well.

Dirk contributes to a better understanding of nature-inspired algorithms by analysing the expected time they need to find good solutions for illustrative optimisation problems. This gives insights into the working principles of nature-inspired algorithms and tells how design choices such as the choice of operators and parameters affect performance. Conclusions drawn from these studies help practitioners in making informed design choices and contribute to a rigorous theoretical foundation of nature-inspired algorithms.


Professor Eleni Vasilaki
e.vasilaki@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests: Computational Neuroscience, Neuromorphic Engineering, Machine Learning

As a Computational Scientist and Engineer with extensive cross disciplinary experience, I contribute to the understanding of the brain’s learning principles. My team and I take inspiration from these principles to design novel, machine learning techniques, and in particular reinforcement learning methods.  We develop data analytics frameworks for neuroscientists, and we also work closely with engineers from other disciplines to design hardware that computes in a brain-like manner.  

Dr Maria-Cruz Villa-Uriol
m.villa-uriol@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Dr Maria-Cruz Villa-Uriol's main research interests are:

  • the personalisation of models using computational imaging and modelling techniques, 
  • the composition of scientific workflows, 
  • and the use and development of data-driven decision-making strategies to support clinical decisions using heterogeneous data sources.

The data sources typically used in ther research are:

  • personalised VPH (Virtual Physiological Human) models, 
  • clinical databases, 
  • mobile sensors capturing a wide variety of variables describing an individual and his/her environment and mobile healthcare. 

Her primary area of interest is in the cardiovascular domain with an emphasis in clinical translation.

She is member of the Organisations, Information and Knowledge Group (Oak), INSIGNEO institute for in silico Modelling and Center for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare (CATCH).

Dr Dawn Walker
d.c.walker@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

  • Agent (individual) based Modelling in predicting emergent properties of biological tissues
  • Multiscale Modelling in biological and biomedical applications
  • Electrical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) for the diagnosis of early cancerous changes in epithelial tissues


Dr Neil Walkinshaw


Department of Computer Science
Dr Paul Watton
p.watton@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

Mathematical and computational biomechanics and mechanobiology; constitutive modelling of soft biological tissues; theoretical and computational analyses of growth and remodeling; cardiovascular mechanics; arterial mechanics, biofluid mechanics, continuum mechanics, vascular mechanobiology, aneurysms.

Dr Joab Winkler
j.r.winkler@sheffield.ac.uk
Personal Webpage

Department of Computer Science

Research interests

Joab Winkler’s main research interests are image processing, and  algebraic and numerical properties of curves and surfaces in computer-aided design systems.

  • IMAGE PROCESSING: The removal of blur and other degradations from an image arises in many applications and it may be considered a preprocessing operation before the image is interrogated for, for example, medical diagnosis. The most challenging problem arises when prior information on the source of the degradations and the exact image is not known, in which case the problem is called blind image deconvolution. My research is concerned with the application of polynomial computations, implemented using structure-preserving matrix methods, for the solution of this problem. The next stage of this work on image improvement is its extension from static images to video images for the observation of dynamic events, for example, the flow of blood.
 
  • GEOMETRIC MODELLING: Curves and surfaces in computer aided design systems are represented by polynomials. Computational problems arise because the coefficients of these polynomials are corrupted by noise due to manufacturing tolerances and numerical approximations, and robust computations on polynomials are therefore required. Recent work on these robust computations includes the computation of a structured low rank approximation of the Sylvester resultant matrix, and the devlopment of a polynomial root solver for the determination of multiple roots of the theoretically exact form of a polynomial, when the coefficients of the given polynomial are corrupted by added noise.
 
  • FEATURE SELECTION: Many problems in science require the identification of the most important features that characterise a system, such that the expected response of the system to new data can be accurately predicted. Problems arise because the given data that is available to identify these important features is usually insufficient to define the system uniquely, which implies that the equation to be solved has an infinite number of solutions, This raises the question as to the solution that is selected from this infinite set of solutions, and the criterion used for this selection. My research is concerned with the development of mathematical theory and methods for the selection of the best solution, defined using a specified criterion. The features that characterise a system may be a combination of numerical data, binary data and categorical data, and a mathematical model that describes a system must include these three classes of data. This problem has many applications, including bioinformatics, signal analysis, atmospheric physics, and in general, problems in which the response (output) is a function of many variables (inputs), only some of which are important and must therefore be identified.