Portrait of Prof Fionn Murtagh Prof Fionn Murtagh

f.murtagh@hud.ac.uk | 01484 473827


Areas of research expertise and interest


Professor Fionn Murtagh, in June 2017, joined the University and is Director of the planned Institute of Mathematics and Data Science.  

Fionn’s initial degrees, BA and BAI, were in Mathematics and Engineering Science, then an MSc in Computer Science, on information retrieval, from Trinity College Dublin, and a PhD (Doctorat de 3ème Cycle) in Mathematical Statistics in Université P&M Curie, Paris 6.   His supervisor was Jean-Paul Benzécri. Later he achieved an HDR, Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches, at the Université de Strabourg, on pattern recognition methods in astronomy.   

Fionn’s proudest accomplishment: that his doctoral genealogy includes representatives of the Bourbaki movement, and then, going back further, Borel, Lebesgue, Lagrange, Laplace, Euler, the Bernoullis, Leibniz and Huygens.

Following his primary degree, Fionn’s first job was Statistician-Programmer in educational research, working on ability and attainment testing and evaluation at national level.

Following a Visiting Scientist position at the Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy, working on nuclear reactor safety, lectures he gave there resulted in his first pubished book, Multidimensional Clustering Algorithms (Physica-Verlag, 1985).     

For 12 years Fionn served with the Space Science Department, Astrophysics Division, of the European Space agency, working at the European Southern Observatory in Garching, Munich, on the Hubble Space Telescope project.  

Professor of Computer Science posts in the University of Ulster and Queen’s University Belfast, followed by Royal Holloway, University of London where Fionn was Head of Department in 2005-2007.   Between 2007 and 2012, Fionn was Director of ICT, and mathematics and engineering, and also for sustainable energy research at Science Foundation Ireland, with the major part of over a €1 billion research funding allocation.   Quite integral to that role in Ireland’s research and related development was the advising of Government ministers, and close engagement with all leading corporate players and many SMEs.    

Research and Scholarship

Publications: 26 books, authored and edited; refereed articles, in journals or volumes, 164; invited survey or contributed, 41; and in conference proceedings and edited volumes, 119.   Fionn’s current rating in Google Scholar is h-index 54 and 13188 citations.  


Publications and Other Research Outputs


Murtagh, F. and Iurato, G. (2017) ‘Visualization of Jacques Lacan’s Registers of the Psychoanalytic Field, and Discovery of Metaphor and of Metonymy. Analytical Case Study of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Purloined Letter”Language and Psychoanalysis , 6 (2), pp. 26-55. ISSN 2049-324X

Murtagh, F. and Contreras, P. (2017) ‘Algorithms for Hierarchical Clustering: An Overview, IIWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery , 7 (6), p. e1219. ISSN 1942-4795

Murtagh, F. and Farid, M. (2017) ‘Contextualizing Geometric Data Analysis and Related Data Analytics: A Virtual Microscope for Big Data AnalyticsJournal of Interdisciplinary Methodologies and Issues in Science , 3, pp. 1-18. ISSN 2430-3038


Murtagh, F (2017) Data Science Foundations: Geometry and Topology of Complex Hierarchic Systems and Big Data Analytics . Computer Science and Data Analysis Series. Boca Raton, FL, USA: CRC Press, Chapman & Hall, Taylor & Francis Group. ISBN 9781498763936

Book Section

Murtagh, F (2017) ‘Big Textual Data: Lessons and Challenges for Statistics’. In: SIS 2017 Statistics and Data Science: new challenges, new generations. Proceedings of the Conference of the Italian Statistical Society.. Florence, Italy: Firenze University Press. pp. 719-730. ISBN 978-88-6453-521-0


Editor-in-Chief, The Computer Journal (Oxford University Press and British Computer Society), for more than 10 years.

Now Editor, Section C, Computational Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Analytics.


Editor of Book Series “Computer Science and Data Analysis”,

CRC Press/Chapman & Hall (Taylor & Francis), 2002 to date.


Member of Editorial Boards:

Big Data and Cognitive Computing, MDPI, from 2016.

PeerJ Computer Science (PLoS, Public Library of Science), 2015 to date.

Editorial Advisory Board, Language & Psychoanalysis, from 2014.

International Review on Computers and Software (IRECOS), from 2016.

Pattern Recognition (Elsevier), 2010 to 2013.

p-Adic Numbers, Ultrametric Analysis and Applications (Russian Academy of Sciences and Springer), from 2009.

Progress in Artificial Intelligence (Springer), from 2011.

Journal of Imaging (MDPI), from 2015.

International Journal of Software and Informatics (Institute of Software, Chinese Academy of Sciences), from 2008.

Neurocomputing (Elsevier), from 1992.

Journal of Classification (Springer-Verlag), from 1984.

Information – Xinxi – Joho , International Journal in English, Chinese, Japanese, Yamaguchi University, 1999–2005.

Les Cahiers de l’Analyse des Données, (Dunod), 1981–1998.

Journal of Multivariate Analysis (Academic), 1999–2004.

Artificial Intelligence Review (Kluwer), 1997–2007.

Technical Advisory Board, New Astronomy (Elsevier), 1996 to 2004.

Member, EPSRC Peer Review College, and reviewing/evaluation carried out for National Science Foundation, USA, Russian Science Foundation, for past EU Framework Programmes, and in many other countries.

External Examiner currently, University of Ulster.

Research Degree Supervision

  • Please contact this member of staff to discuss possible opportunities.

Enterprise Activities

  • Member, Royal Irish Academy.
  • Member, Academia Europaea.
  • Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy.
  • Fellow British Computer Society.   CITP, Chartered Information Technology Professional.
  • Fellow, Royal Statistical Society.
  • Fellow of the RSA, Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. 
  • Fellow, International Association for Pattern Recognition, IAPR. 
  • Fellow, Institute for Mathematics and Its Applications. 
  • Senior Member, IEEE.
  • Secretary (former President), British Classification Society.
  • Board member (former President), Classification Society (formerly, Classification Society of North America).   
  • Past: founder of Irish Pattern Recognition and Classification Society. 


Member of:

  • UK Computing Research Council, UKCRC,
  • European Association for Data Science (EuADS).
  • Gesellschaft für Informatik,
  • ACM,
  • Gesellschaft für Klassifikation,
  •  London Mathematical Society,
  • Engineers Ireland, chair of An Roth society.
  • International Statistical Institute
  • International Association for Statistical Computing, Council member,
  • International Astronomical Union, Commission B3, Astrostatistics and Astroinformatics.
  • Chair, Board of Directors, of the Council for Frontiers of Knowledge, based in Makerere         University, Kampala, Uganda. 
  • In the past, Tullow Oil supported a major initiative.

Teaching and Professional Activities

Professor of Data Science, Director Centre for Mathematics and Data Science