Research in population informatics


Research areas


Social genomes are the digital footprints of our society. They are the basis of population informatics, an emerging research area that is concerned with the integration and analysis of large population databases that contain records about people as collected by many organisations. Population informatics is revolutionising how researchers conduct studies, how governments plan services and expenditures, and how businesses advertise and interact with their customers. Population databases provide tremendous opportunities for the discovery of novel and valuable information. A core requirement of population informatics is the linking of large dynamic databases that contain details about people from diverse sources. However, the scale and dynamic nature of databases that contain personal information, as well as privacy concerns, often prevent their linking.


Various topics / research projects are possible within this research area. They include:

  • Analysing the requirements of research studies based on population databases and developing a taxonomy of such requirements.
  • Develop models of how to best represent the social genome.
  • Develop rule- or statistical models to link dynamic population databases that contain temporal information.
  • Develop privacy-preserving record linkage techniques for dynamic and temporal population data.


Projects in this research area are available as one semester projects, as one-year Honours projects, or as multi-year MPhil or PhD projects. Students interested in undertaking such projects as a MPhil or PhD student should hold the equivalent of an Australian Bachelors degree with Honours H2A level or above (ideally level H1) in computer science, and preferably have done their Honours research in the areas of data mining or machine learning, and have a very good understanding of algorithms as well as good programming skills. Further details about requirements for MPhil and PhD students are given in one of the links below.

Background Literature

See the link provided to Peter's publications page below.


A student working in a project in population informatics will learn about various data mining, record linkage and privacy techniques, and be able to develop novel techniques that potentially are of high interest to researchers in many domains, government agencies, and a variety of private sector organisations.

Updated:  8 September 2015/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing