Emma Hart

Emma Hart

Prof Emma Hart



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 swarm robotics.

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 has been appointed as a panel member for the upcoming REF2021 (UoA11 Computer Science). She has recently been appointed to the Steering Committee developing Scotland's AI Strategy. 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.




Advisory panels and expert committees or witness

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


Conference Activity

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


Editorial Activity

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


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


Media Activity

  • FOCAS project featured in EU FET newsletter
  • 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


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 York
  • PhD Examiner University of Edinburgh
  • 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 YorK (Computer Science)
  • PhD Examiner University of Kent Canterbury
  • PhD examiner, University of Nottingham
  • PhD at the University of Cardiff, in the School of Computer Science and Informatics
  • PhD external examiner at Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • PhD examiner at the University of York
  • PhD Examiner: Swinburne University of Technology, Australia


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