Prof Julie McCann

Professor of Computer Systems

+44 (0) 20 7594 8375
Teresa Ng, +44 (0) 20 7594 8300

Computing systems are becoming more spatial and the boundaries between them and their environments are beginning to blur. This has brought many research challenges relating to the ability to get such systems to scale, remain robust when confronted with failure, maximise their usefulness while minimising energy consumption or better still be energy neutral. Such systems bring new demands beyond the metrics of throughput and response times. Today we look at behaviours, convergence, or purposeful lack of convergence, anarchical systems, systems that understand and match context etc. To do this McCann aims to bring together models of non-computing systems (e.g. social behaviours, economics etc.) to inform the computing systems’ optimisation process.

To this end, McCann has been mainly researching and publishing work that centres on highly decentralised algorithms, protocols, cross-layered solutions to wireless sensor networks. Here, there is a particular focus on low-powered sensing nodes with some work on hybrid and hierarchical topologies. She also has some interests in Ubiquitous and Mobile computing (Internet of Things, if you will), specifically in context awareness, as well as Autonomic Computing. She leads Adaptive Emergent Systems Engineering (AESE) group, is Imperial PI for the Intel Collaborative Research Institute on Sustainable Connected Cities and is Co-PI on both the NEC Smart Water and Cisco Future Cities projects.

Her past, in computer performance, dynamic operating systems, database machines and text retrieval systems, has informed this work. For her earlier research in text retrieval, she was co-awarded Emerald Literati Network “Highly Commended”. All her projects are interdisciplinary, applied to the arts or engineering and mainly funded by EPSRC/NERC/TSB national programmes, collaborating with; RCA; The University of the Arts; Interactive Institute Stockholm etc.; as well as many other industrial partnerships such as with Sun Microsystems, Thames and Severn-Trent Water, BT, Arup Engineering and BBC to name but a few.  She has also been a consultant for TV and Film on occasion.

She is an active programme committee member for many of the self-managing adaptive computing journals and conferences. She has also co-chaired conferences such as IEEE Self-Adaptive and Self-Organising Systems (SASO’11), IEEE Intl. Conf. on Complex Open Distributed Systems and the ACM Intl. Conf. on Pervasive Services 2008 and 2009 (General Chair). McCann is regularly invited to talk on self-adaptive computing to diverse audiences and has been an invited panel member ACM/IEEE International Conference in Autonomic Computing and IFIP/IEEE International Symposium on Integrated Network Management. In the past she lectured Operating Systems courses and currently leads the Pervasive Computing option.

Videos showing some of our work:

Smart Dust: This video discusses how the subjects of IoT, Wireless sensing and Cyber-Physical Systems could look in 25 years time.

Towards the Diamond Age?: This video questions whether we are working our way to a Diamond Age of Matter Compilers and nano-sensing bots.



We have a number of positions available for PhD students.

NEW!! Two new fully-funded PhD positions available now! Please see: (

Generally please email  to chat about potential projects and see ( for details about funding etc.

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