Prof JP de Villiers (Pieter)


Associate Professor


B.Eng (University of Pretoria)
M.Eng (University of Pretoria, cum laude)
Ph.D (University of Cambridge, England)
Pr.Eng (Engineering Council of South Africa)




Group Head: Signal Processing and Telecommunications

Co-chair: Naspers Research Chair in Machine Learning

(held jointly with Prof Nelisha Pillay, Department of Computer Science)

Former Principal Researcher: CSIR.

2017 - General Chair Conference Bid Committee: General chair of the bid committee to host the 2020 International Conference of Information Fusion in Sun City, South Africa. The bid was presented at the 20th International Conference of Information Fusion, 2017, Xi’an, China

2016 - Programme Committee, 9th Asian Conference on Intelligent Information and Database Systems.

2016 - Session Chair, 19th International Conference of Information Fusion.

2015 - Conference Technical Chair, 2015 IEEE Radar Conference.

2015 - Session Chair, 2015 IEEE Radar Conference.

2015 - Session Chair, 18th International Conference of Information Fusion.

2015 - Conference Organising Committee: International Conference / Web Conference titled “Methods and applications of satellite SAR in the maritime domain” Sourced USD30,000 from the US Office of Naval Research to host the conference in Cape Town at UCT, February 2015 in collaboration with Prof Mike Inggs.

2008-2009 - Former Director: CeTEIS Telkom Centre of Excellence




  • Digital Signal Processing (4th year)
  • Digital Communication systems (3rd year)
  • Rapid Prototyping for Digital Systems (2nd year)
  • Electricity and Electronics (1st year)
  • ERA284 Computer Architecture
  • EIR221 Electrical Engineering / Elektriese Ingenieurswese
  • EMS310 Modulation Systems
  • EBN122 Electricity and Electronics



  • EAI732 Intelligent Systems
  • ERZ810 Data fusion


  • ENB732 Numerical Bayesian Methods
  • EIT732 Information Fusion



Statistical Signal Processing, Digital Communications, Data and Information fusion, Estimation and Detection, Model Predictive Control, Numerical Bayesian Methods, Machine Learning, Multi-sensor and Multi-Target Tracking, Fault and Anomaly Detection.

Application Areas

Telecommunications, Defence and Security, Machine Condition Monitoring, Actuarial and Financial Mathematics, Cellular and Molecular Medicine

Postgraduate Supervision

Current Student Projects​

  • Masters, Manfred Strempel, Segmented seawave clutter modelling specific to the South African coast
  • Masters, Neil Fourie, Tracking financial systemic health using a multiple hypothesis approach
  • Masters, Naas Bester, A Markov random field approach for the dtection of money laundering
  • Masters, Karel de Bruin, Predicting the proliferation of adipose derived mesenchymal stem cells in vitro
  • Masters, Jan Gutter, A Bayesian approach to constraining the solution space of GPS based ionospheric tomography
  • Masters, Ajith Punnen, Customer segmentation for the prediction of current account balances
  • PhD, Arno Botha, A decision process for determining and optimizing delinquency measures
  • PhD, Johan Viljoen, Modelling and simulation of the selective advantage of CF heterozygous individuals
  • PhD, Jocelyn Mazarura, Topic models for short text
  • PhD, Thabang Mathladi, Improved radar detection by using polarimetric measurments

Former students

  • 2011: M. Eng (Electronic), SJ van der Merwe: Characterisation of the ionosphere over the South Atlantic anomaly by using a ship based GPS receiver.
  • 2013: PhD (Electronic), Theo Heyns, Low cost condition monitoring under time varying operating conditions
  • 2013: M. Eng (Electronic), Allan de Freitas, A Monte Carlo approach to dominant scatterer tracking of a single extended target in high range-resolution radar
  • 2014: M.Sc (Actuarial Sciences), Matthew Smith, Artificial Neural Networks - Modelling Market Returns in South African Markets
  • 2015: PhD (Electronic), Joel Dabrowski, Maritime piracy situation modelling using dynamic Bayesian networks
  • 2015: PhD (Electronic), Richard Focke, Investigating the use of Interval Algebra to schedule mechanically steered multistatic radars
  • 2015: M.Eng (Chemical), St Elmo Wilken, Computationally efficient formulation of stochastic dynamical control within the context of switching probabilistic graphical models
  • 2016: M.Eng (Electronic), Lodewyk van der Merwe, Track stitching using message passing in graphical models
  • 2017: PhD (Electronic), Hildegarde Koen, Predictive policing in an endangered species context: Combating rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park
  • 2017: M.Eng (Mechanical), Stephan Schmidt, A cost-effective diagnostic methodology using probabilistic approaches for gearboxes operating in non-stationary conditions
  • 2018: M.Eng (Computer), Willem van Eeden, Human and animal classification using Doppler radar 

Collaboration Efforts

  • Radar and Electronic Warfare (REW), Defence, Peace, Safety and Security (DPSS), CSIR, Pretoria South Africa
  • Dr Gregor Pavlin, Thales Research and Technology, Delft, Netherlands
  • Prof Thia Kirubarajan, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
  • Prof. Paulo Costa, George Mason University, VA, USA
  • Prof. Kathryn Laskey, George Mason University, VA, USA
  • Dr. Anne-Laure Jousselme,  NATO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE), La Spezia (Italy)
  • Dr. Pierre Cilliers at the South African National Space Agency (SANSA), Hermanus, Western Cape
  • Prof. S.J. Godsill, Signal Processing Group, University of Cambridge, UK


This is my google scholar page.

This is my Researchgate page.


2017: Best paper of 2016, Actuarial Society of South Africa

2016: Established Researcher Award, DPSS, CSIR

Address and contact details

Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering
Engineering 1 Building, 14-12
Cnr Lynnwood and University Roads
University of Pretoria
Telephone no: (+27 12) 420-2872
Fax no: (+27 12) 362-5000
Email: [email protected]

- Author Pieter de Villiers
Published by Johan de Villiers

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