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A mugshot at the Hundertwasserhaus in Vienna

Joshua Knowles

Honorary Fellow


Contact
google scholar | researchgate

Previous Appointments

I was previously Professor of Natural Computation at University of Birmingham (2015-2019). Prior to that I was a Reader at the University of Manchester.

About

My research seeks to understand and exploit features of complex systems found in Nature in order to develop theory and algorithms for robust and scalable machine learning and optimization. During the early part of my research career I developed a keen interest in multiobjective optimization as a way to avoid the brittleness of overly optimized systems, and build in more robustness and subtlety to solutions. In this area, I've made contributions to local search, memetic algorithms, hypervolume maximization, archiving, multiobjective machine learning, No Free Lunch theorems, and surrogate-assisted or Bayesian optimization methods. I have a broad experience base working on applied problems from science and industry, especially in biology, medicine and physics. A particular set of challenges is thrown up when optimization and learning are applied with real experiments (or the real-world) in the loop, an increasing trend. This is a strong focus of my current research.

Research key terms: data science, evolutionary computation, heuristics, multiobjective optimization, combinatorial optimization, Bayesian optimization, multiobjective machine learning, swarm intelligence, sequential design of experiments, cluster analysis, active learning, inverse problems, reinforcement learning, decision analysis and support, operations research, surrogate modeling, artificial life, cross-disciplinary work in the bio-sciences (especially Evolutionary Biology), astrophysics, telecommunications, analytical chemistry.

For more specific information about research projects, please see my research pages.

Qualifications

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)

Industrial Collaboration

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.

Grant Income

Latest funding:

  • 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)

Previous funding:

  • BB/I023755/1 MUSCLE: Multi-platform Unbiased optimization of Spectrometry via Closed-Loop Experimentation (PI)
  • 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 disease (co-I)
  • EP/D013615/1 A convergent strategy for high efficiency quantitative proteomics (co-I)

People

We (i.e. my students and I) have (or have had) collaborations with the following people -- with my apologies for any omissions.
  • 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)