Dr. John A. Bullinaria

School of Computer Science
University of Birmingham
Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK

Tel: +44 (0)121 414 2590
Fax: +44 (0)121 414 4281


I am currently a Senior Lecturer and the Research Students Tutor in the School of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham. My academic career began as a Theoretical Physicist with a PhD on supergravity and other unified field theories from Southampton University, followed by a post-doctoral research position in the Mathematics Department of Durham University working on superstring theory and quantum gravity. I then took a very early retirement to "travel the world". Having seen enough of the world (i.e., run out of money), I returned to academia three years later by retraining in Artificial Intelligence. I then took up a series of research fellowships in the Psychology departments of Edinburgh University, Birkbeck College London and Reading University working on various computational modelling projects. I moved to Birmingham and switched to Computer Science in 2001.

My current research interests are mainly in the fields of Computational Intelligence, Cognitive Science, and Artificial Life, particularly those aspects involving Neural and Evolutionary Computation. Major projects in the past have involved models of brain damage (connectionist neuropsychology), language processing (reading, spelling, past tense production, lexical decision), adaptive control (particularly oculomotor control), the optimization of neural information processing architectures (including the emergence of modularity), and the formulation of more biologically realistic evolutionary computation algorithms. Recently I have been mainly working on simulating the evolution of neural systems: exploring the emergence of modularity, the optimization of learning algorithms, critical periods for learning, the interaction of learning and evolution, and aspects of Life History Evolution. I also have an ongoing interest in corpus derived semantic representations, and real-world optimization applications such as vehicle routing and bin packing.

Links to the rest of my web site

Publications page - contains a list of my publications, with an increasing number of them available online.

Brief CV - find out which ten universities have been lucky enough to have me there.

Timetable/availability - gives some clues as to when you might find me in my office.

Teaching and admin pages - links to course details, lecture notes/handouts, project ideas, admin details, and such like.

Research Interests

My current research interests cover a number of inter-related areas:

  • Artificial Life - population-based simulations, the interaction of lifetime learning and evolution, meme-based simulations, and aspects of life history evolution.
  • Evolutionary computation - biologically inspired algorithms, the evolution of efficient neural network systems, the Baldwin Effect, individual differences, variable neural plasticity, incremental learning, and the evolution of modularity.
  • Representations of lexical semantics (working with Joe Levy, Roehampton University) - their extraction from large spoken and written corpora, their optimization, their validation, and their use in models of natural language processing.
  • Operations Research - real-world optimization applications such as vehicle routing and bin packing.
  • Adaptable motor/sensor control systems - traditional and neural network models, optimization by learning and evolution, the interaction of learning and evolution, models of oculomotor control, and applications to robotics.
  • Connectionist neuropsychology - the simulation of brain damage using artificial neural networks, the implications for the inference from double dissociation to modularity, and the problems of small scale artefacts in such simulations.
  • Models of reading, spelling and past tense acquisition - NETtalk style models that do not require pre-processing of the training data, the incorporation of semantic routes, and the simulation of developmental and acquired dyslexias.
  • Models of lexical decision - managing without an explicit lexicon, cascaded activation approaches to modeling reaction times, and the simulation of semantic, associative and morphological priming.
  • Understanding the internal representations of trained neural networks - analysis of hidden unit activations using principal component analysis, hierarchical cluster analysis, multi-dimensional scaling, discriminant analysis, and output weight projections.
  • Neural network performance with noisy and ambiguous data - mixture models, the multi-target approach, and coping with missing context information.
  • Time series prediction - neural network based systems, temporal representations, "rocket science".

    I am also on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Computational Intelligence and Applications.

    Links to other things I am/was associated with

    Corpus Derived Semantic Representations - The outputs of my research with Joe Levy on lexical semantics.

    Natural Computation Research in Birmingham - the main local research grouping I belong to.

    The Neural Computation and Psychology Workshop (NCPW) Series which I regularly contribute to.

    The 8th International Conference on Parallel Problem Solving from Nature (PPSN VIII) which took place in Birmingham, 18-22 September 2004.

    UK Workshop on Computational Intelligence (UKCI-02) which took place at the University of Birmingham, 2-4 September 2002.

    Workshop on Distributional Methods in Language Modelling which took place at the University of Birmingham on 28 August 2002.

    This page is maintained by John Bullinaria. Last updated on 30 April 2019.