IT University of Copenhagen

The PhD program at the IT University of Copenhagen (ITU) includes many academic disciplines: Computer Science, Software Engineering, Information Systems, Management and Social Sciences are represented along with Conceptual Design and Creative Practice-based Computing.
At ITU, Information Technology is a tool for managing mental constructs: these constructs are as diverse as organisation charts, artworks, mathematical logic, software, games and so on. This is illustrated by the ITU triangle, which consists of the Arts, Sciences and Business – each placed in each vertex. The edges between vertices are intended for interaction between the disciplines: with multi-disciplinarily research being encouraged and supported. The area of the triangle represents the interdisciplinary possibilities.
Many different views of Information Technology make innovative interdisciplinary research projects possible at ITU. Computer science is strongly represented within this structure, and so are Software Engineering, Business Systems, Design, Media and Communication.


  • Center for Computer Games Research
    ITU has Denmark’s only scientific centre for computer games research. Researchers have backgrounds in the humanities, computer science and sociology, and they approach computer games from their respective discipline angles. Theoretical game analysis, game aesthetics, ethnographic studies of game communities, game design theory, artificial intelligence and game user-experience are subjects the centre studies.
    Researchers from the Centre for Computer Games Research are also concerned with so-called ‘serious games’: namely how computer games can be used for education, rehabilitation, medical and many other important non-recreational uses.
  • Technologies in Practice
    The Technologies in Practice (TiP) group focuses on qualitative studies of technologically mediated practices in organizations and everyday life.
    Empirical studies are crucial to understanding how people, organizations, and technologies are constructed and transformed. Such studies are important in coming to terms with broader analytical questions related to living in a globalized technology enabled world.
    Inspired by the research traditions in STS (Science and Technology Studies) and CSCW (Computer Supported Cooperative Work) the shared emphasis of TiP research is on the mutual shaping of culture, organizations, people, and technologies, through the practice of design and use.
    TiP members are involved in research on e-voting, wave energy, IT and health care in hospitals and homes, transparency and accountability in development aid cooperation, globalized software development, and methods for organizational optimization and systems thinking.
  • Software Development Group
    The Software Development Group adopts a broad define of software development. The researchers’ goals are to create better and more advanced software, as well as improving software development methods and tools. The research themes address:
    Health care IT: Electronic health records and data visualization. Monitoring of bipolar patients, etc.
    Database technology, data storage, and sensor networks.
    – Optimizing container shipping, for instance container handling in ports to minimise time and environmental impact.
    Cloud computing: data are stored on servers instead of locally with the user, and software and services are provided via the Internet instead of the local computer.
    Programming language technology and tools, eg. domain-specific language design within the life insurance and pensions industry.
    Network security and communication technology. Often the research is motivated by specific, practical problems and is carried out in cooperation with industrial partners. The group also cooperates with the Danish public sector, including hospitals and is involved in helping define standard contracts on IT acquisitions, typically between public purchasers and suppliers of software or other IT Services.
  • Programming, Logic and Semantics
    The Programming, Logic and Semantics group is concerned with foundational aspects of programming languages. Where the Software Development Group focuses on specific programs and languages, the work of the Programming, Logic and Semantics group is focused on fundamental research in computer science.With backgrounds in computer science, mathematics and philosophy, the group’s researchers have taken on one of the greatest challenges in computer science: That the software of the future is not riddled with errors. Software errors cost Denmark billions of kroner every year and can have serious consequences. Only five per cent of all software is found in a computer. All software consists of complicated code that we rely on heavily in our daily lives Therefore, the researchers are working toward eliminating and minimise code errors when complex computer programs are created.Among other research themes are ‘workflow management’ and process-oriented IT, domain-specific languages and tools for uncovering ambivalence in programming languages. Research is also conducted on ‘logical frameworks’: Computer systems that can reason with mathematical logic and be trusted. These trusted systems ideas are used in connection with another of the group’s research themes: Electronic elections.
  • The Algorithms Research Group
    The Algorithms research group investigates how to produce software that makes efficient use of the computer’s resources, such as data processing capacity and memory usage. Research on algorithms – i.e., computational procedures – has paved the way for revolutionary innovations such as the quick route planning of the GPS and Google’s search engine. The study of algorithms is also an important ‘auxiliary science’ to other academic fields such as meteorology and biology. Modern research deals with staggering amounts of data. The essential issue for many biologists, oceanographers and geographers is no longer whether they have enough data, but whether the results can even be computed. Only with clever algorithms can scientists extract meaning from the data.
  • The Interaction Design Group
    The Interaction Design group practices design science research within Interaction Design. We are especially interested in the use and design of interactive artefacts.
    We take a design-oriented approach when researching how humans use, experience, and live with digital technology. We believe that the understanding of a problem grows in parallel with the attempt to devise and demonstrate solutions by means of prototypes and interactive sketches. Thus, we situate design activity in the everyday world and we explore digital materiality and technological qualities.
    We position ourselves in the intersection of situation, theory, and technology driven Interaction Design and HCI research within which we seek to contribute with four distinct aspects: 1) design methods, 2) domain specific solutions, 3) theoretical concepts, and 4) interaction technologies.
  • Process and System Models
    The Process and System Models (Models) Group focuses on fundamental problems in the development of systems (particularly, but not exclusively, embedded, concurrent, distributed and mobile systems) motivated by considerations of its use and applying the foundational results to practical solutions.
    We draw requirements and motivation from strategic projects and make an impact on the reality of software development through collaboration with industrial partners and are also involved in developing standards, e.g. by contributing to the W3C and OMG.
    The core scientific disciplines of the Process and System Models group are Concurrency Theory and Model-driven Engineering of Software Systems. Members of the group are currently working on:
  1. foundations (e.g. process models and meta-models, process calculi and logics, reactive systems, refinement, variability, model checking, type systems, security, and applications of category theory in computer science);
  2. case studies in model-driven system design and analysis (e.g. software product lines, workflow and case management systems); and
  3. developing systematic methods and tools for system design (e.g. choreography-driven programming and domain specific languages for distributed systems design and implementation).The approach is to combine studies of actual systems, application areas and programming languages with foundational studies in models, languages and formal methods for concurrent and distributed software systems and engineering, and creation of tools.
  • Pervasive Interaction Technology Laboratory
    The Pervasive Interaction Technology Laboratory (PIT Lab) researches novel ways of interacting with computers and digital technology. Research is focused on computing that is embedded and distributed in the environment, including small embedded sensor and actuator systems, locally distributed ad-hoc service computing, interactive surfaces, interaction techniques, tangible computing, wearable computing, smart space technology, collaborative awareness technology, and fault-tolerant robust software architecture.
    The scientific disciplines of the PIT lab are primarily centred around Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), Ubiquitous and Pervasive Computing (Ubicomp), Design of Interactive Systems (DIS), User Interface Software Technology (UIST), and Software Architecture for Distributed Systems.
    The PIT lab engages in a wide range of application areas for its research including hospitals, home-care, telemedicine, assisted living, global software development, biology, and workflow systems. The PIT lab focuses specifically on an experimental computer science research methodology, which means that research focuses on understanding and solving real-world problems through an iterative and user-centered design of novel technologies. This implies that researchers are designing, building, testing, demonstrating, and deploying new technology outside the lab.
  • The Software Engineering Group
    Software Engineering research aims at providing methods, tools and techniques to support software engineering practice.
    The research of the research group includes Cooperative and Human Aspects of Software Engineering, Use Oriented Design and Development of Software Agile Software Development, Global Software Development, Software Architecture, and Model-Based Programming Tools.
    A common denominator of the Software Engineering Cluster is the emphasis of empirical grounding of research. We deploy a number of empirical approaches like experiments, design research, qualitative research methods and action research.
    Currently the research group is addressing Global Software Development and Organisational Infrastructure Development.
  • Adaptive Environments
    Adaptive Environments signifies the contexts wherein we live and the mutual influence and adaptation between humans and the surrounding objects, buildings and landscapes. The focus on human interaction, relation and communication expands into the relationship between human behaviour and software behaviour, human extensions, robotic architecture, adaptive lighting, and telematics work practices. The research includes a range of scales of the subject matter, such as biological substances, human extensions, autonomous robots, adaptive architectures and transformative environments.
  • Culture & Communication
    The research groups Digital Culture and the Digital Media & Communication Group are on the verge to emerge into one research group namely Culture & Communication.
    Digital Culture aims to develop theoretical and analytical tools to understand how digital media is used in communication, cultural and artistic expression. The use and development of digital media in broader social and cultural contexts is investigated but especially the interplay between humans, technology and cultural institutions. Our focus is both local (Denmark, and the Nordic countries) but also global, as digital cultural phenomena can seldom be isolated and often needs an international perspective to be fully understood.
    Currently, the members of the Digital Culture group are engaged in projects concerning digital cultural communication, digital art and aesthetics, new e-reading habits, engagement and participation in new media, storytelling and games, new forms of online cultures and digital citizenship. Visit the group’s website: Digital Culture.
    The research group Digital Media & Communication (DMC) is constituted by scholars with an interdisciplinary research agenda positioned at the intersection of technologies and social science. We approach the study of digital media and communication technologies from the fields of communication studies, media studies, anthropology, sociology, psychology and information sciences.
    Rather than directly building technological artefacts or developing computerized solutions to a range of problems, we investigate the context of technology use and identify how existing technologies function within the complex interplay of individuals, local concerns and global societal interactions. Our research emphasizes the role of the social – society, social structures, agency, and people – in digital media, technology, communication and the practices of daily life.
    We see the function of this research group as a home for researchers with an interest in these topics and a necessary forum for intellectual debate, collaborative development of research ideas and a consistent space where participants can get supportive yet critical feedback on project, grant proposal or publication ideas.