School of Informatics

Our reputation

The University of Edinburgh is one of the best in the world and its School of Informatics amongst the best in Europe and the UK.

Graduation in McEwen Hall

The University of Edinburgh

Based on the quality and breadth of its research, the 2014 REF placed Edinburgh fourth in the UK and first in Scotland.

World-leading University - more facts and figures

Edinburgh - top student city

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The School of Informatics

The School of Informatics is the largest Informatics research centre in Europe and it is currently ranked 25th and 26th in the world for Computer Science

We produced more world-leading and internationally excellent research (4* and 3*) than any other university in the UK in the REF 2014 assessment for computer science and informatics. You can read more about the research in the school of Informatics below:

Research in the School of Informatics

With over 280 academic and research staff and over 2,000 students, the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh is the largest Computer Science department in the UK and one of the largest in Europe.

Brief History of Informatics


Students who graduate from the School of Informatics go into their future careers equipped with the skills they need to excel. A lot of our graduates and staff are highly successful in their fields. You can read more about what our graduates progressed into here:

 Alumni profiles | The University of Edinburgh 

Historical Influence 

The School of Informatics, united under a single identity since 1998, continued to be a global leader, as the biggest research and teaching establishment of its kind in the UK, and widely regarded as being among the foremost centres of expertise in the world. 

Donald Michie 

At the same time as the Computer Unit was being established, Donald Michie, Reader in Surgical Science, formed a small research group at 4 Hope Park Square, which went on to become the Department of Artificial Intelligence. 

During the Second World War, through his membership of Max Newman’s code-breaking group at Bletchley Park, and while working with Alan Turing, Professor Michie had been introduced to computing and had come to believe in the possibility of building machines that could think and learn. 

Robert Milner 

Robin Milner joined the University of Edinburgh in 1973. During his time at Edinburgh, Professor Milner developed ML, a general-purpose functional programming language that is still used in various forms and has influenced the development of numerous other computer languages. 

Later, ML was redefined as Standard ML, for which Professor Milner won the 1987 Technical Award from the British Computer Society. 

During the 1970s, computing evolved from sequential machines, executing one program at a time, to concurrent systems, enabling several programs to be executed simultaneously. In 1980 Professor Milner published a mathematical method for understanding concurrent systems, called the Calculus for Communicating Systems (CCS). 

ML and CCS were cited in Professor Milner’s 1991 ACM Turing Award, computer science’s highest honour.