The world is awash with information. In the past five years, we’ve produced and recorded more information than in the previous 50,000 years; and almost all of this new information is digital.
Informatics is about using computers to work with digital information – gathering, using, storing, retrieving, and visualising information and data. It is the study of tools and technologies to solve problems in all types of settings, such as finance, economics, journalism, biology, health, engineering, social media and communication.
Informatics students map data from a global network of temperature sensors, use linguistic modelling to try to understand how language has changed over time, track global trends in finance and cross-reference against off-the wire news stories. They design web pages, build web applications with a simple and powerful programming language and work with sophisticated graphics processing packages to solve practical information-based problems.
Studies in informatics are also available through the Diploma in Informatics.
Graduates with a major in Informatics can find work in a huge variety of areas, from clinical research in hospitals to managing and interpreting geological data for mining companies.
Subjects you could take in this major
Health and biomedical informatics is the body of knowledge that concerns the acquisition, storage, retrieval and use of information in, about and for human health, and the design and management of related information systems to advance the understanding and practice of healthcare, public health and biomedical research.
In recent years the collection, storage and usage of electronic health (ehealth) and biomedical data has exponentially grown. Increases in the complexity and comprehensiveness of health and biomedical information systems have driven growth in demand for a specialised workforce.
Careers in health informatics and ehealth could involve developing systems, analysing data, conducting research and applying health information systems in clinical practice, biomedical research, public health as well as in the ehealth sector of IT industry.
This kind of work involves a specialist workforce and is also of importance to health professionals (nurses, doctors, allied health, pharmacy, public health, etc), health managers and policy makers.
This subject introduces the field of health and biomedical informatics and provides students with the basic knowledge and skills to pursue professional certification as a health informatician.
This subject is the capstone project for the Informatics major and the Computing and Software Systems major in the BSc. Students will work on a real life problem in a small team, supervised by a member of staff. Each team will analyse the information needs of users and develop working computational solutions. Students are expected to apply sound principles studied over the course of their degree to the formulation and solution of their problem.
Students will work in teams to analyse, design, implement and test a non-trivial IT system. A key part of the project is for students to develop and manage a project in order to deliver a quality IT product. Workshops will explore the application of theory to the project and include selected topics drawn from: ethics, project management, design frameworks, testing, technical reviews, and product evaluation.
Knowledge is one of an organization’s most valuable assets. Since knowledge is derived from information, organizations need to manage and control their information and knowledge assets to achieve the most benefit from them. The exponential growth of information together with new developments in networking and collaboration technologies impact on ways in which information is managed and controlled. Topics include: the difference between data, information and knowledge; mechanisms and processes to classify, manage and control information and knowledge; security threats to these assets; strategies and countermeasures to protect information; best practice security governance and business continuity; and legal and ethical issues associated with information security and protection.
For Bachelor of Science students this is a required subject in the Informatics major and an elective subject in the Science Informatics major. This subject is available as a breadth subject for other Bachelor degrees and is an elective in the Working with Information breadth track.
Techniques of analysis and design likely to be learned are: Soft System Methodology; Work Systems Analysis; Knowledge Management; Business Process Modelling Notation; Risk Assessment and Risk Management. Real world cases examined are likely to be in the following domains: banking; software industry; retail; creative/fashion industry; manufacturing; emergency management.
How do you design information and communication technologies that are useful, usable and satisfying? Usability Engineering addresses this question. Usability is now a vital part of the IT industry for both work and leisure. We can see usability (or the lack of it) in the design of tablets, aircraft cockpits, business software, car navigation devices, and many other technologies.
In this subject students will learn concepts and techniques integral to creating usable systems. These include: contextual analysis of human activities; principles for designing usable human computer interactions; styles of user interfaces; and methods to evaluate the usability of new designs. Students will also learn relevant theories underpinning these techniques including aspects of human cognition and the theory of natural design.
- Theoretical foundations of Usability Engineering
- Understanding User Requirements
- Expert based evaluations (e.g. Cognitive Walkthroughs and Heuristic Evaluation)
- User based evaluations
- Prototyping (high fidelity and low fidelity)
- Analysis of Usability data
- Visual Design
- Social Computing.
The Web has radically changed society, politics, science, business and the way people work. This subject introduces the concepts, technologies and standards underpinning the World Wide web and its applications. You will learn to apply tools and techniques required to model, design and develop applications for the web that can run on one or more platforms. Topics covered include the infrastructure of the web; the architecture of web applications; data representation and structure of the web; modeling and development processes for Web applications; security and social aspects of the Web. This subject assumes background programming skills and the basics of algorithmic thinking. These skills are combined with incremental and iterative development to develop functional and creative web applications that can support specific requirements or aspects of human work or social behaviour.
Fundamental aspects of the Web: client server model, modelling of web applications (modelling data, content, functional aspects and navigation), incremental and iterative design and development of web applications, usability aspects and testing of web applications, and web application security.
Examples of Web applications that students develop are:
- A location-aware application for finding recommended restaurants nearby
- A social app for hosting and developing HTML5 games
- An application that lets users upload photos of themselves to see what they’d look like with different hairstyles