Dr Pete Burnap

Dr Pete Burnap

Reader in Data Science & Cyber Analytics

School of Computer Science and Informatics

Media commentator

I am a Reader in Data Science & Cyber Analytics in the School of Computer Science & Informatics, and Social Computing research priority area lead in the Complex Systems research group. I have developed a reputation for data-driven, innovative, and interdisciplinary research that broadly contributes to the growing field of Data Science, working closely with the Cardiff School of Social Sciences and School of Engineering. I am an applied computer scientist with a principal focus on data and computational methods to improve understanding, operations and decision making outside of academia, while contributing to the academic fields of Social Computing, Web Science and Cybersecurity.

These three fields are integrated within my research through the analysis and understanding of Web-enabled human and software behaviour, with a particular interest in emerging and future risks posed to civil society, business (economies) and governments. I achieve this using computational methods such as machine learning and statistical data modelling, and interaction and behaviour mining, opinion mining and sentiment analysis to derive key features of interest.

My research outcomes, which include more than 60 academic articles – stemming from funded research projects worth over £7.2million, are organised and disseminated via two research units:

The Social Data Science Lab, within which I am a director and the computational lead. The Lab’s core funding comes from a £450k ESRC grant and it forms part of the £64m ‘Big Data Network’. Core funding runs between 2017 and 2020, during which time the Lab will host 6 post-doctoral researchers and 9 PhD students, all studying topics related to Risk, Safety & Human/Cybersecurity.

The Airbus Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Analytics, within which I am the director. The centre works across industry, academia and government to provide a focus for cyber security analytics in the UK. Cyber security is a priority research area at Cardiff University, supported with strategic investment. Since 2012 we have established an interdisciplinary research team of technical and social researchers. Our collaborative projects have received more than £5m in funding from UK Research Councils (EPSRC, ESRC), Welsh Government (Endeavr Wales) and Industry (Airbus).

ACM Keywords: Security and Protection; Human-centered computing; Modeling structured, textual and multimedia data; Data mining; Machine learning

Education and qualifications

  • 2010: PhD (Cyber Security in Collaborative Distributed Systems), Cardiff University
  • 2002: BSc Computer Science. Cardiff University

Career overview

  • 2017 - present: Reader, Cardiff School of Computer Science & Informatics
  • 2016 - 2017: Senior Lecturer, Cardiff School of Computer Science & Informatics
  • 2012 - 2016: Lecturer, Cardiff School of Computer Science & Informatics

Honours and awards

  • Lloyds Science of Risk Prize Runner Up, 2015

Research interests include:

  • Social Media Analysis: Developing new algorithms and implementing computational analysis tools (often informed by social theory) to better understand online social interaction and behaviour;
  • Supporting Decision Making: Building systems to support intelligence gathering, risk assessment, and decision making - "extracting knowledge from data";
  • Big Data and Text Mining: Collation, storage and analysis of text information and massive datasets ("Big Data") using natural language processing, pattern matching and machine learning techniques;
  • Information Security: Developing methods to better understand the behaviour, spread and evolution of malicious software, informing policy requirements, and building secure information sharing technology;
  • Distributed systems: Building secure and distributed information sharing and retrieval systems.