Recent news: I gave a talk at NIPS 2016. (= NIPS newbie).
Further recent news: I now believe in teaching by aphorism.
I develop and analyse algorithms for optimization and learning, focusing partly on those that mimic or simulate natural systems. Some of the algorithms I've worked on are: PAES (cited by 2,000+), ParEGO (cited by 400+), MOCK (cited by 400+), and a duality framework, called "multiobjectivization" (cited by 300+). I have been doing this in the Natural Computation Group at Birmingham since June 2015, alongside working with many external collaborators. This follows on from 11 years at the University of Manchester (spent, variously, in the School of Chemistry, the MIB, and the School of Computer Science). Previously to that, I was a Marie Curie Fellow in the IRIDIA artificial intelligence lab in Brussels, and, before that, a PhD student at the University of Reading, UK. I hold an honorary post at Manchester in the Decision Sciences group of the Alliance Manchester Business School. I do all the usual academic stuff: think; research; teach; supervise student projects and PhDs; employ postdocs; apply for grants; go to, and run, conferences and seminars; informally mentor; edit journals and conference proceedings; review papers; and so on. "If you want something done, give it to a busy man."
Another pseudo-paradox I like is this one:"My problems with mathematics are much greater than yours." (Albert Einstein)
My tuppence-worth: Einstein was not putting himself above you, or below you in that quote, or self-aggrandizing or
mock self-deprecating. His problems in mathematics probably were far greater than yours, no matter how much you think
you are struggling. He was doing differential geometry, and Hilbert spaces, and so on, to try to specify general
relativity properly, and he was mostly a creative and a visionary. He had help from his wife, but I'm sure he undertook
to understand everything, and check everything. He is telling us about the pain of doing hard things, and telling us that
there is no magic to it. It is a lesson for us all. So put in some work on your maths problems, and be patient with yourself.
terms: algorithms, complexity analysis, evolutionary computation, heuristics, multiobjective optimization, combinatorial optimization, Bayesian optimization, multiobjective machine learning, data science, ensemble methods,
swarm intelligence, sequential design of experiments, search-based software engineering, unsupervised learning, cluster analysis, active learning, inverse problems, reinforcement learning, decision analysis and support, operations research, surrogate modeling, artificial life, complex networks, complex systems, benchmarking and performance analysis, statistics, game theory, psychology, education, computing at schools, philosophy of science, and cross-disciplinary work in the bio-sciences (especially Evolutionary Biology), astrophysics, telecommunications, analytical chemistry, and more.
For more specific information about what my group, collaborators and I get up to (and get up for), please see my research pages.
Some personal research highlights in the view of others (click to expand)
Hypervolume maximization (2002): "Knowles and Corne were the first to propose the
integration of the hypervolume indicator into the
optimization process. In particular, they described a strategy
to maintain a separate bounded archive of nondominated solutions
based on the hypervolume indicator", J. Bader (2009)
Multiobjective memetic algorithms (2000): "Knowles and Corne proposed a greedy local
method mainly based on dominance relation. Their idea is to accept a
solution if it dominates the current solution...
An obvious advantage of dominance relation is its independence on any
transformation of objective functions." A. Jaszkiewicz et al. (2012)
Adaptive grid-based archiving (1999): "Since the procedure is adaptive, no
are required [...] . This adaptive grid (or variations of
it) has been adopted by several modern multiobjective evolutionary
algorithms." C. A. C. Coello (2006).
PAES algorithm (1999):
"... the most competitive algorithm" [concerning scalability in
decision space, and] "...the second best algorithm in terms of
speed." J. J. Durillo et al. (2008), an empirical comparison of
scalability of MOEAs.
Multiobjectivization (2001): "...researchers
by which a single-objective optimization
problem is decomposed into several subcomponents considering
a multi-objective approach (Jensen, 2003), (Knowles et al., 2001). This procedure
has been found to be helpful in removing local
optima from a problem and has attracted a lot of attention
in the last few years." C. A. C. Coello (2006)
"In ParEGO, the nondifferentiabilities are smoothed out by the
surrogate model, making the actual EI criterion continuous and
differentiable. ... For ParEGO, only one model has to be computed
making it the fastest of all approaches." T. Wagner et al. (2010)
researchers have proposed the use of black-box optimization
techniques normally adopted in engineering to perform
an incredibly low number of fitness function
evaluations while still producing reasonably good solutions
(see for example (Knowles, 2006))." C. A. C. Coello (2006)
What's happening now? ...see My News.
BSc (Hons); PGCE; MSc (Dist'n); PhD; FHEA
Awards and Fellowships
- Outstanding IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation Paper Award (2006)
- BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship (2002-2008)
- FNRS Chargé de Recherche (Fellowship of the Belgian National
Science Fund) (declined 2003)
- Outstanding IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation Paper Award (2003)
- EC Marie Curie Posdoctoral Fellowship (2001-2003)
My PhD was sponsored by BT.
Other projects were carried out in collaboration with HBOS, Astra Zeneca, GSK,
Waters, Thermo Instruments, and Combimatrix.
I did a sabbatical at Theo Chocolate, Seattle and The University of Washington in 2009.
- European Commission, Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellowship: MSC-IF-EF-ST "ACTING-NOW" 704330 Krzysztof Michalak (Fellow) / Joshua Knowles (Host / PI). Algorithmic Containment of Threats in Graphs, Networks, Webs.
- EPSRC institutional fund: Achieving the earliest diagnosis of Cancer through a cascaded
computational decision support system (co-I)
- EPSRC institutional (Manchester): Constrained global optimization for fragment-assembly approaches to
protein structure prediction (co-I)
- BB/I023755/1 MUSCLE: Multi-platform Unbiased optimization of Spectrometry via Closed-Loop
- BB/C008219/1 MCISB: The Manchester Centre for Integrative Systems Biology (co-I)
- BBS/A/00013 BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship: Interactive evolutionary search for post-genomic
knowledge discovery and prediction using GRID computing (PI)
- BB/C007158/1 Constrained optimisation of metabolic and signalling pathway models: towards an understanding of the language of cells (co-I)
- BB/C519038/1 HUSERMET: The human serum metabolome in health and
- EP/D013615/1 A convergent strategy for high efficiency quantitative
We (i.e. my students and I) have (or have had) collaborations with the following people -- with my apologies for
- David Corne (Heriot-Watt)
- Julia Handl (Manchester Business School, UoM)
- Douglas Kell (Manchester Institute for Biotechnology, UoM)
- Richard Allmendinger (UCL)
- Steve O'Hagan (MIB, UoM)
- Ben Stappers (Jodrell Bank, UoM)
- John Brooke (IMG / Research Computing Services, UoM)
- Richard A. Watson (Southampton)
- Carlos Fonseca (U. Coimbra)
- Eckart Zitzler (PH Bern)
- Lothar Thiele (ETH Zurich)
- Manuel Lopez-Ibanez (IRIDIA, Code, Brussels)
- Marco Laumanns (IBM)
- Mark Viant (Biological Sciences, U. Birmingham)
- Warwick Dunn (Biological Sciences, U. Birmingham)
- Shan He (Computer Science, U. Birmingham)
- Robert Synovec (University of Washington, Seattle)
- Andy McShea (Theo Chocolate, Seattle)
- Liz Humston (University of Washington, Seattle)
- Leonora Bianchi (IDSIA)
- Will Rowe (Faculty of Life Sciences, UoM)
- Mark Platt (Loughborough)
- Chris Knight (Faculty of Life Sciences, UoM)
- Philip J. Day (School of Chemistry / MIB, UoM)
- David Wedge (Sanger Institute)
- Martin Brown (Control Systems Centre, EEE, UoM)
- David Brough (Faculty of Life Sciences, UoM)
- Ben Small (Faculty of Life Sciences, UoM)
- Pedro Mendes (School of Computer Science / MIB)
- Nancy Rothwell (Faculty of Life Sciences, UoM)
- Marco Dorigo (IRIDIA, Free University of Brussels)
- Norman Paton (School of Computer Science, UoM)
- Sandra Sampaio (School of Computer Science, UoM)
- Ludi Mikhailov (Manchester Business School, UoM)
- Paul Popelier (School of Chemistry / MIB, UoM)
- Roy Goodacre (School of Chemistry / MIB, UoM)
- Robin Purshouse (Sheffield)
- Shaul Salomon (Sheffield)
- Valentina di Pietro (Medical School, UoB)
- Andrew Peet (Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, UoB)
- Georgios Gkoutos (Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, UoB)