My Research

If you're looking for my publication list, the link is this way.

My main research interests are Evolutionary Computation and Artificial Life.

I have always seem computer programs as more than just a series of instructions, or a useful application. For me, a program running in a computer has something magical, something alive in the constant change of data and state that happens inside the computing system. Just as we are conscious machines made of meat, it always seemed to me to be possible to make a conscious machine with the right software, and the right hardware.

That said, I don't think that computational life or computational consciousness would ever "look like" us humans. Our intelligence is borne not only of our brains, but of our bodies, our social relationships, all our life experiences and the intersection of these four factors. Thus, a robot that is "born" with a fully formed body through the flick of a switch would, by necessity, be radically different than a human in how they experience consciousness.

Because of this, I think that artificial life must come about the same way that "natural life" came about: through evolution from simpler living beings. We should spend less time creating human-like artificial intelligence, and more time on systems that are more like cats, plants, or bacteria. And then letting those evolve.

Also, I am interested in how artificial evolution can be useful for society today. In that sense, I have for many years studied the use of Evolutionary Computation as blackbox optimizers for industry problems.

If you want to collaborate with us, or if you are interested in joining our group as a student, I've compiled a list of projects, past and present, to give you an idea of what kind of research we do. Of course, I'm open to new ideas on similar lines -- afterall, research is all about going where curiosity leads us!

Current Projects:

These are the project that I'm active with my students.

Older Projects

These projects I have worked in the past, but I'm not currently active on them. If you are interested in them as a student, I might be willing to dust-off the old papers:

  • Genetic Programming for Feature Construction, Extraction and Reduction;
  • Evolutionary Computation for Discrete Problems (Graph Coloring, TSP, Facility Layout, etc);
  • Optimization of models of Seismic Risk using Evolutionary Computation;
  • (Lost Interest) Portfolio Optimization with Evolutionary Computation;
  • (Lost Interest) Industrial applications of Computer Vision (Crack detection, Fault detection, etc);

Research wishlist

Some topics that I am interested in, but I don't have the manpower to work on right now. If this is something that interests you, I'd love to talk about a collaboration or supervision on these topics.

  • Open-ended evolution of computer programs;
  • Evolution of the Morphology of virtual creatures;
  • PCG for table-top RPGs;
  • Distributed Evolutionary Algorithms;
  • Treating CPPNs as agents for lots of different things;
  • Simulating interesting Worlds;
  • Genetic Programming for programming competitions (ICPC, Codeforces, etc);