The roots of the research centre goes to the pioneering work of Academician A. Salomaa and Professor Emeritus A. Tietäväinen going back to 1960's in automata theory and coding theory, respectively. Currently, the research covers a larger spectrum of discrete mathematics connected to foundations of computing. Extensions have been e.g. to combinatorics, combinatorics on words and new models of computing.
Currently the centre consists of four interrelated research groups: Words and Automata group, Complex Systems and Computing group, Coding Theory and Cryptography group and FiDiPro group in Combinatorics on Words. Professor Luca Zamboni (from Lyon) was hired to FUNDIM as a FiDiPro professor in fall 2010 for five years. The four research groups mentioned above constitute a research unit "Discrete Mathematics and Fundamentals of Computing". The unit received excellent evaluations in the last Centre of Excellence competition, and was selected as the only unit coordinated by the University of Turku to the second round.
"Mathematical research" is identified in the strategy of the University of Turku as the first on the list of strongly developing research areas. Discrete mathematics and data security is the core of this strength.