My research has focused on the application of natural algorithms (metaheuristics) to design problems particularly in telecommunications.  This has included adaptive evolutionary algorithms, problem-specific heuristics, genetic algorithms, genetic programming, ant colony optimisation and particle swarm optimisation.


Current Research

At Northumbria, I am a member of the Intelligent Systems Research Group, and currently developing several areas, including:  applying evolutionary computing to the solution of Futoshiki and Sokoban as part of a wider project on Japanese pencil puzzles (with Prof Martyn Amos, and Dr Huw Lloyd of MMU); developing human-inspired explainable-AI approaches to visual computing using genetic programming (with Dr Adrian Clark and Dr Keith May of University of Essex); and applying problem-specific evolutionary algorithms to routing and spectrum allocation in elastic optical networks.

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Evolutionary Computation in Java

In 2017-18, I spent an eighteen-month period training the academics in NPIC Computer Science in research supervision, metaheuristics and the ECJ (Evolutionary Computation in Java) research framework.  This was in support of our double degree program with a consortium of universities in Indonesia.  I reimplemented for ECJ my earlier published research work in network topology design (using GA) and data mining (using GP), as well as developing a novel, but simplified mobile network base station planning case study (using GA).


Electronic Systems Engineering, University of Essex

I was de facto supervisor of the research officer on a three-year Fujitsu Telecommunication Europe Ltd. project (held by Prof. Mike O’Mahony) studying options for future broadband access and transport networks, as well as developing design and dimensioning approaches for multi-ring all-optical networks.  I held a European Commission (EC) funded project (WOTAN, £309,000, jointly with Prof. O’Mahony), with two research officers, which addressed the structures, systems, technologies and management of wavelength-agile and wavelength-routed optical systems, to provide end-to-end customer connections across a complete public telecommunications network.  I had a lesser involvement in two further EC-funded optical network projects, OPEN and HORIZON, as well as contributing to two earlier contracts.  The first was for two years ending February 1994, with BT Laboratories, where I was again de facto supervisor of the research officer.  The project studied self-organising transmission networks and the development of a new multi-layer distributed restoration algorithm, the subject of several US patents applications by BT.  The second was a RACE project which ran for four years until December 1995.  I was also an active participant in the EC COST 239 project (1992‑9) on the development of an all-optical network interconnecting the main centres of Europe.  I have published nearly 60 papers, mainly from my time at Essex.  I was an individual member of the European Network of Excellence in Evolutionary Computing. I was co-organiser of a workshop at GECCO’99 entitled Evolutionary Telecommunications: Past, Present and Future that attracted distinguished speakers from the UK, USA and Japan.  I was on the programme committees for EvoTel 2000, GECCO 2000 and PPSN 2000.  I have refereed papers for four IEE and IEEE journals and several international conferences.  Finally, I have held two consultancies, one with CLEAR Communications Limited, New Zealand, the other with BT Laboratories.

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Student Supervision

I have supervised four successful PhD students and over forty MSc research projects

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PhD - Evolutionary Algorithms for Optical Network Design: A Genetic-algorithm/Heuristic Hybrid Approach

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