College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Sciences2021-2022

School of Informatics, Computing and Cyber Systems

Informatics and Computing, Doctor of Philosophy

Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

The PhD program in Informatics and Computing will prepare you to work in the transformative "fourth paradigm" of science and engineering, an interdisciplinary field relying on big data and advanced software, hardware, and statistics skills.

A streamlined five-year plan of study provides learning opportunities in the foundations of informatics, programming and computer science, structuring large-scale data sets, machine learning, and statistical data analysis. Elective coursework allows students to customize their program of study in one of the following emphasis areas:

  • health and bioinformatics, focusing on genetic and genomic analysis, population health, and disease transmission;
  • ecological and environmental informatics, addressing ecological and environmental analyses and remote sensing
  • cyber and software systems,  engaging in the design and implementation of cyber-physical and large-scale software systems
  • bioengineering informatics to enhance data analysis and control in bioengineering applications.

Students will engage in significant research and development work under the mentorship of a faculty member in computer science, electrical engineering, or informatics to develop and assess original and creative solutions to open informatics and computing research questions, work which culminates in the preparation and defense of a dissertation.

This program is designed for students with strong preparation in an area of science, including biology, computer science, ecology, and electrical engineering, and experience in computer programming and data analysis gained through successful completion of a relevant undergraduate or graduate program.

As a graduate you will be prepared to be a leader in industry and government research labs, a faculty member or research scientist in academia, or entrepreneur in cutting-edge informatics application areas such as bioinformatics, population health and health informatics, environmental sustainability, ecology and ecoinformatics, software engineering, wearable computing, cyber-physical systems, and cybersecurity. Students’ research and education will be strengthened through broad collaborations with a variety of academic, government, and private entities. Informatics and Computing PhD program partnerships span the university, multiple centers and institutes, and various organizations.

Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this training program will demonstrate the following advanced competencies and program learning outcomes (PLOs):

  1. Identify, explain, and assess the major theories, research methods, and technical approaches driving informatics- driven science and engineering and the impact of these elements on society.
  2. Identify, explain, synthesize, and apply the fundamental concepts of informatics, including large-scale data representation and organization, various types of programming languages, software development methods, data processing, information extraction and machine learning, and statistical analysis.
  3.  Identify, explain, synthesize, and apply the interdisciplinary combination of core informatics and in-depth disciplinary expertise defining one of the following emphasis areas:
    • Health and Bioinformatics:
      • Examine statistical methods, computer programming techniques, and current research areas within healthcare and bioinformatics. 
      • Apply statistical methods and computer programming techniques to analyze such bioinformatics data as genetic sequencing, gene and protein expression, and cellular organization.
      • Develop statistical methods and computer programming techniques to analyze health outcomes, patterns of health determinants, including social factors of health, and predict the effects of policies and interventions on issues of public health.
      • Apply statistical methods and computer programming techniques to develop innovations in healthcare services delivery, management, and planning leading to lower healthcare costs and greater availability.
    • Bioengineering Informatics
      • Apply fundamental principles in biomedical engineering, material science, and chemistry to biomaterial, orthopedic, and medical device development.
      • Using principles of mechanics, conduct mathematical analyses of the musculoskeletal system.
      • Apply statistical methods and computer programming techniques to develop innovations in the modeling and analysis of musculoskeletal systems, medical devices, and neuromuscular diseases.
    • Cyber and Software Systems
      • Use mathematical abstractions to model complex software and cyber systems, including secure systems, wearable computing, and cyber-physical systems.
      • Design, develop, and apply software to control complex software and cyber systems.
      • Explore innovations in informatics by combining mathematical abstractions traditionally used to predict physical processes (differential equations, stochastic processes, etc.) with algorithms and other mathematical abstractions traditionally used in computer science.
    • Ecological and Environmental Informatics
      • Integrate mathematical abstractions and modeling with data from the field to determine and analyze ecological relationships
      • Construct and execute multi-step remote sensing workflows using geospatial software to solve problems in a variety of application areas and critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of remote sensing instruments and platforms for a variety of application scenarios.
      • Elucidate the breadth of statistical methods available in environmental analysis and select the appropriate method for the issue or problem under analysis.
  4. Identify, survey, analyze, organize, and critically distill information from the scientific literature within an informatics emphasis area and creatively identify open research questions.
  5. Independently apply appropriate expertise, methods, and tools to the creative design, execution, and assessment of an investigation that addresses original informatics research questions.
  6. Compose and engage in highly effective written and oral communication in informatics areas; demonstrate clear argumentation and logical cohesion in a variety of written and oral communications, including scholarly dissemination, funding requests, industry, and lay-communication.

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