Professor Ian Nabney MBCS, CMath


Ian Nabney

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After studying mathematics for a BA at Oxford, I moved to Cambridge to do my PhD, which was in algebra (infinite group theory, to be precise). I then spent five years with Logica (a UK software house) at their R&D lab, where I developed a wide range of neural network applications and also worked in formal methods.

In 1995 I was appointed as a Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Applied Maths at Aston University. In 2001 I was promoted to Senior Lecturer as part of what (several reorganisations later) is now the Mathematics Subject Group. In 2004 I was promoted to a Chair in Computer Science. I was the Associate Dean for Research for the School of Engineering and Applied Science and prepared the School's submission for the 2008 RAE and since then I have been the Head of the Computer Science group. I am also the chair of the Natural Computing Applications Forum (NCAF) and have organised the scientific program for many of their meetings. In my spare time I play the piano.

Research interests

My research spans both the theory and applications of neural networks and other pattern recognition techniques, with a special focus on data visualisation and probabilistic modelling. Much of my work is inspired, directly or indirectly, by industrial problems in bioinformatics, biosignal processing, condition monitoring, remote sensing and financial forecasting. I have put my experience of software engineering to good use through developing the Netlab toolbox for neural networks and related pattern analysis techniques. I am a member of the Non-linearity and Complexity Research Group (NCRG) and also an active participant in the Computer Science Research Group. Between October 2000 and June 2002 I was the Director of the Cardionetics Institute of Bioinformatics, which researched methods for extracting clinically valuable information from electrocardiogram (ECG) data.

I am also actively involved with ARCHA (Aston Research Centre in Health Ageing). I am working with a research assistant to investigate change-points in peoples' quality of life as they age and also on statistical modelling of biological data.

Teaching Activity

My teaching focuses on software development (a first-year 20-credit module: Java Program Development CS1410).  In the past I have taught a wide range of mathematics (statistics, numerical analysis, maths for computer science), machine learning (Master's level: algorithms and computational mathematics), and software (object-oriented programming in C++ and Java, software project management) modules.


  • 2004 – date: Professor of Computer Science, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University.
  • 2001 – 2004: Senior Lecturer in Mathematics, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University.
  • 1995 – 2001: Lecturer in Mathematics, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University.
  • 1989 – 1995: Consultant at Logica Cambridge Ltd.


  • BA with First Class Honours in Mathematics, University of Oxford, 1985
  • Master of Advanced Study in Mathematics (Distinction), University of Cambridge, 1986
  • PhD in Mathematics, University of Cambridge, 1989

PhD Supervision

I welcome enquiries from PhD-qualified researchers from all countries outside the UK wishing to apply for a Marie Curie Fellowship to come to work with me at Aston

  1. Efficient 3D medical image segmentation

    Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy

  2. Probabilistic topographic information visualisation

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

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  1. Peer review panel

    Activity: Other activity typesTypes of External academic engagement - Membership of peer review panel or committee

  2. Birmingham Science Park Aston (External organisation)

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of board

  3. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (External organisation)

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of council

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