Emma Hart
Emma Hart

Prof Emma Hart

Professor

Biography

Prof. Hart gained a 1st Class Honours Degree in Chemistry from the University of Oxford, followed by an MSc in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh. Her PhD, also from the University of Edinburgh, explored the use of immunology as an inspiration for computing, examining a range of techniques applied to optimisation and data classification problems. 

She moved to Edinburgh Napier University in 2000 as a lecturer, and was promoted to a Chair in 2008 where she leads a group in Nature-Inspired Intelligent Systems, specialising in optimisation and learning algorithms applied in domains that range from combinatorial optimisation to robotics. Her work mainly involves development of algorithms inspired by biological evolution to discover novel solutions to challenging problems.

She was appointed as Editor-in-Chief of Evolutionary Computation (MIT Press) in 2017. She has been invited to give keynotes at major international conferences including CLAIO 2020, IEEE CEC 2019, EURO 2016 and UKCI 2015 and was General Chair of PPSN 2016, and as a Track Chair at GECCO for several years. She is an elected member of the Executive Board of the ACM SIG on Evolutionary Computation.

More broadly, she invited member of the UK Operations Research Society Research Panel, and in Scotland, co-leads the Artificial Intelligence theme within SICSA. She was appointed as a panel member for REF2021 (UoA11 Computer Science). In 2020 she was appointed to the Steering Committee that developed Scotland's AI Strategy published in 2021 . She has a sustained track record of obtaining funding from the EU, EPSRC and of engaging with industry via KTP projects and consultancy, and participates enthusiastically in public-engagement activity, e.g Pint of Science.

Her work in evolutionary robotics has attracted significant media attention, e.g. in New Scientist, the Guardian, Telegraph and the Conversation. In 2021, she gave a TED Talk on Evolutionary Robotics, available online

News

Events

Esteem

Advisory panels and expert committees or witness

  • Scottish Government Steering Committee: AI Strategy
  • Royal Society’s International Networks Committee
  • Invited to co-lead SICSA Research Theme on Artificial Intelligence
  • Elected to the Executive Board of the ACM Special Interest Group SIGEVO
  • Invited to join the IEEE CIS Evolutionary Computation Technical Committee for 2012
  • Member of Royal Society delegation of UK scientists in UK-Russia Frontiers of Science Symposium (Kazan)
  • Appointed to the UK Operational Research Society Research Panel

 

Conference Organising Activity

  • Senior Program Committee Member AAAI-19
  • Track Chair: Complex Systems @ GECCO 2017
  • General Chair of PPSN 2016, Edinburgh
  • Technical chair of IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computing (CEC), 2009
  • Workshop co-chair: ALIFE 2016, 2nd Workshop on Steering Complex Systems (Cancun, Mexico)
  • Program Chair of the ninth IEEE International Conference on Self-Adaptive and Self- Organizing Systems (2015)
  • Workshop Chair: IEEE SASO, 2nd Workshop on Fundamentals of Collective Systems, London,
  • Workshop Chair: IEEE SASO 2011, 1st Workshop on Self-Awareness in Autonomic Computing USA
  • Technical Chair BioNETICS 2009, Avignon
  • General Chair: 9th International Conference on Artificial Immune Systems at Edinburgh Napier
  • Technical Chair of Bionetics 2011, York, UK
  • Workshop Chair, Real-World-Optimisation @ GECCO 2013
  • Workshop Chair: 2nd Awareness workshop at IIEEE SASO 2012 : Challenges for Achieving Self-awareness in Autonomic Systems
  • Chair of Workshop in Self-Organisation in Pervasive Adaptive Systems, at IEEE SASO 2010, Budapest. 28th September 2010
  • Track Chair: Artificial Immune Systems at GECCO 2014, an ACM SIGEVO Conference.
  • Track Chair: Artificial Immune Systems and Biological and Medical Applications, Genetic & Evolutionary Computation Conference, GECCO 2016
  • Track Chair. Real-World Applications of Optimisation at GECCO 2015 (ACM)
  • Workshop Chair: • ECAL 2013, 1st Workshop on Fundamentals of Collective Systems, Italy
  • Co-chair and organiser, Dagstuhl Seminar on Artificial Immune Systems, 2011
  • Workshop co-chair: Steering Complex Adaptive Systems, ECAL 2015: 12th International Conference on Artificial Life

 

Editorial Activity

  • Associate Editor of the Journal of Evolutionary Computation (MITPress)
  • Guest Editor: Scalable Computing: Practice and Experience (Special Issue on Collective Adaptive Systems)
  • Editor-in-Chief of Evolutionary Computation (MIT Press)
  • Editorial Board: International Journal Metaheuristics
  • Guest Editor: Swarm Intelligence: (Special Issue on Artificial Immune Systems) 2010
  • Guest Editor: Special Issue of J. Evolutionary Intelligence on Aspects of Artificial Immune Systems
  • Editor of the ACM SIGEVO newsletter

 

Fellowships and Awards

  • Leverhulme Research Fellowship

 

Grant Reviewer

  • Grant reviewer: Carnegie Trust
  • Grant reviewer: Leverhulme Trust
  • Re-elected to EPSRC peer review college

 

Invited Speaker

  • Invited Talk: University of St Andrews (Computer Science)
  • Invited Talk: Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico
  • AHDB Smart Agriculture Conference (Invited Speaker)
  • Invited Seminar: University of Aberystwyth: Seminar, Life Long Learning in Optimisation
  • University of Stirling: Research Seminar
  • University of Nottingham Research Seminar
  • Inivited Talk: Mathematical Modelling of Wind Risk, Arcachon, France. Optimisation for Forestry
  • Keynote: 15th UK Conference on Computational Intelligence (UKCI 
2015
  • Invited Speaker: Women@GECCO workshop, GECCO 2015
  • Keynote Speaker at 28th European Conference on Operational Research in Poznan in July 2016

 

Media Activity

  • The PerAda project hosted a public debate "Emotion as Interface" at Edinburgh International Science Festival, chaired by Emma Hart, with panel guests Prof Kevin Warwick, Prof Nikola Serbedzija, ad Dr Jenny Tillotson
  • FOCAS project featured in EU FET newsletter

 

Research Degree External Examining

  • PhD Examiner: University of Cardiff (School of Mathematics)
  • Phd External Examiner Queen Mary University
  • PhD Examiner: Robert Gordon University
  • PhD Examiner University of Edinburgh
  • PhD Examiner: University of York
  • PhD Examiner: University of Hong Kong
  • PhD Examiner: University of Aberytwyth
  • PhD Examiner: Manchester Metropolitan
  • PhD examiner, University of Pretoria, South Africa
  • PhD Examiner University of Kent Canterbury
  • PhD Examiner University of YorK (Computer Science)
  • PhD Examiner: Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
  • PhD at the University of Cardiff, in the School of Computer Science and Informatics
  • PhD examiner at the University of York
  • PhD examiner, University of Nottingham
  • PhD external examiner at Hong Kong Polytechnic University

 

Date


161 results

A Hierarchical Approach to Evolving Behaviour-Trees for Swarm Control

Conference Proceeding
Montague, K., Hart, E., & Paechter, B. (2024)
A Hierarchical Approach to Evolving Behaviour-Trees for Swarm Control. In S. Smith, J. Correia, & C. Cintrano (Eds.), Applications of Evolutionary Computation: 27th European Conference, EvoApplications 2024, Held as Part of EvoStar 2024, Aberystwyth, UK, April 3–5, 2024, Proceedings, Part I (178-193). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-56852-7_12
Behaviour trees (BTs) are commonly used as controllers in robotic swarms due their modular composition and to the fact that they can be easily interpreted by humans. From an a...

On the Utility of Probing Trajectories for Algorithm-Selection

Conference Proceeding
Renau, Q., & Hart, E. (2024)
On the Utility of Probing Trajectories for Algorithm-Selection. In Applications of Evolutionary Computation. EvoApplications 2024 (98-114). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-56852-7_7
Machine-learning approaches to algorithm-selection typically take data describing an instance as input. Input data can take the form of features derived from the instance desc...

Learning Descriptors for Novelty-Search Based Instance Generation via Meta-evolution

Conference Proceeding
Marrero, A., Segredo, E., León, C., & Hart, E. (in press)
Learning Descriptors for Novelty-Search Based Instance Generation via Meta-evolution. In Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO ’24), July 14–18, 2024, Melbourne, VIC, Australia. https://doi.org/10.1145/3638529.3654028
The ability to generate example instances from a domain is important in order to benchmark algorithms and to generate data that covers an instance-space in order to train mach...

Understanding fitness landscapes in morpho-evolution via local optima networks

Conference Proceeding
Thomson, S. L., Le Goff, L., Hart, E., & Buchanan, E. (in press)
Understanding fitness landscapes in morpho-evolution via local optima networks. . https://doi.org/10.1145/3638529.3654059
Morpho-Evolution (ME) refers to the simultaneous optimisation of a robot's design and controller to maximise performance given a task and environment. Many genetic encodings h...

Generalized Early Stopping in Evolutionary Direct Policy Search

Journal Article
Arza, E., Le Goff, L. K., & Hart, E. (in press)
Generalized Early Stopping in Evolutionary Direct Policy Search. ACM Transactions on Evolutionary Learning and Optimization, https://doi.org/10.1145/3653024
Lengthy evaluation times are common in many optimization problems such as direct policy search tasks, especially when they involve conducting evaluations in the physical world...

Synthesising Diverse and Discriminatory Sets of Instances using Novelty Search in Combinatorial Domains

Journal Article
Marrero, A., Segredo, E., Leon, C., & Hart, E. (in press)
Synthesising Diverse and Discriminatory Sets of Instances using Novelty Search in Combinatorial Domains. Evolutionary Computation,
Gathering sufficient instance data to either train algorithm-selection models or understand algorithm footprints within an instance space can be challenging. We propose an app...

Evolving Behavior Allocations in Robot Swarms

Conference Proceeding
Hallauer, S., Nitschke, G., & Hart, E. (2024)
Evolving Behavior Allocations in Robot Swarms. In 2023 IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence (SSCI) (1526-1531). https://doi.org/10.1109/SSCI52147.2023.10371934
Behavioral diversity is known to benefit problem-solving in biological social systems such as insect colonies and human societies, as well as in artificial distributed systems...

Evaluation of Frameworks That Combine Evolution and Learning to Design Robots in Complex Morphological Spaces

Journal Article
Li, W., Buchanan, E., Goff, L. K. L., Hart, E., Hale, M. F., Wei, B., …Tyrrell, A. M. (in press)
Evaluation of Frameworks That Combine Evolution and Learning to Design Robots in Complex Morphological Spaces. IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, https://doi.org/10.1109/tevc.2023.3316363
Jointly optimising both the body and brain of a robot is known to be a challenging task, especially when attempting to evolve designs in simulation that will subsequently be b...

Robotics and Autonomous Systems for Environmental Sustainability: Monitoring Terrestrial Biodiversity

Working Paper
Pringle, S., Davies, Z. G., Goddard, M. A., Dallimer, M., Hart, E., Le Goff, L., & Langdale, S. J. (2023)
Robotics and Autonomous Systems for Environmental Sustainability: Monitoring Terrestrial Biodiversity
Welcome to the UK-RAS White paper Series on Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS). This is one of the core activities of UK-RAS Network, funded by the Engineering and Physical...

Automated Algorithm Selection: from Feature-Based to Feature-Free Approaches

Journal Article
Alissa, M., Sim, K., & Hart, E. (in press)
Automated Algorithm Selection: from Feature-Based to Feature-Free Approaches. Journal of Heuristics, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10732-022-09505-4
We propose a novel technique for algorithm-selection, applicable to optimisation domains in which there is implicit sequential information encapsulated in the data, e.g., in o...

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