The University of Southampton
Research Themes
WAIS Research Themes


WAIS researches socio-technical systems at scale using a combination of data science, computer science and social science methods to understand and engineer the interaction between computational and human constituents of very large scale information systems -  the Web and the Internet.

The Web is the basis for a range of hugely successful information platforms. Reference works (Wikipedia), search engines (Google), social networks (Facebook and Twitter), media (YouTube and Instagram), MOOCs (Udacity and FutureLearn) have already changed peoples' social, political and corporate behaviour and together offer huge opportunities for the digital economy. Our work examines the Web and the platforms it facilitates, in order to understand its technical, economic and societal impact. We develop innovative software tools and contribute to technical standards that enhance the future Web architecture.  

We use three emerging theoretical perspectives in our research: Web Science, Data Science and Internet of Things.

  • Web Science
    The Web is used by half the world's population and is transforming society. Web Science aims to understand what the complexity of the Web, engineer its future and ensure its social benefit in a new interdisciplinary field. Studying Web Science equips students to become leaders in the emerging digital economy.
  • Data Science
    Data Science is an inter-disciplinary combination of computational sciences (machine learning, mathematics and statistics) and the social sciences (domain knowledge and methods) that has been fuelled by technological advances in data acquisition, storage and curation. We live in an age of superabundant information. The Internet and World Wide Web have been the agents of this revolution. Data science is emerging as an area of competitive advantage for individuals, companies, universities, public and private sector organisations and nation states.
  • Internet of Things
    The Internet of Things is a term which has emerged to describe the increase of Internet connectivity of everyday objects. It has the potential to revolutionise data gathering from sensors and our interactions with objects. The Web of Things is an ongoing effort to bring the scalability to IoT that it needs to grow seamlessly.
  • Open Science Research
    Open Science is the principle making scientific research openly accessible to all stakeholders, focussing on Open Access to research outputs, Open Data and Open Software.