Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap: People

Industrial Advisory Board

An industrial advisory board will be set up to guide the operations of the BTG project. It will provide additional input and stimulus to our programme. It will help in defining research challenges that have a long-lasting impact on UK plc. The Board members will play a leading role in our industrial theme retreats. We are currently in the process of inviting members of the advisory board.
  • Chair Shail Patel, Unilever

Management Committee

A Management Committee, chaired by the Director and convened quarterly, comprising all Co-Is and reflecting the scope of the research themes covered, will assume management responsibilities for the programme. They are responsible for agreeing guidelines for access to funding, assessing requests for project funding, and seeking expertise from the wider academic community and the Industrial Advisory Board as appropriate. As academic leads on the research themes they, supported by their co-leaders in different departments, actively promote and drive the themes through presentation at, and hosting of, away days and workshops and provide a leadership role at the themed retreats.

Prof. Xin Yao (PI)

Professor Xin Yao is Director of The Centre of Excellence for Research in Computational Intelligence and Applications (CERCIA), a highly interdisciplinary research centre specialising in applied research, and leads the Natural Computation Group in Computer Science (RAE 5). He is an IEEE Fellow, a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society and a Cheung Kong Scholar (Changjian Chair Professorship) awarded by the Ministry of Education of China. He is Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, associate editor or editorial board member of 13 other international journals (including journals from ecology, bioinformatics and mathematics, in addition to computer science and artificial intelligence), and the editor of the World Scientific book series on Advances in Natural Computation. He won the prestigious IEEE Donald G. Fink prize paper award in 2001 and several other best paper awards. He has been invited to present 51 keynote or plenary speeches at conferences world-wide in computer science, artificial intelligence, mathematics, operations research, ecology and industrial electronics. He collaborates with engineers, neuroscientists, ecologists, economists, mathematicians and many industrialists. He has more than 250 refereed publications (some of which appeared in journals in mathematics, neuroscience, bioinformatics and biosystems). His recent work has been supported (£5M) primarily by AWM, EPSRC, PPARC, EU, Royal Society, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and industry. All his completed EPSRC projects so far have been rated outstanding.

Prof. Andrew Chan

Prof. Andrew Chan is a Professor in Computational Engineering. He is also the Head of Engineering Computation Network, School of Engineering (RAE 5) and Deputy Director of the e-Science centre for grid computing. His interest in engineering computation is very wide including solution of static and dynamic Civil Engineering problems, numerical modelling of non-linear behaviour, solution of coupled system, use of virtual reality in Civil Engineering, fuzzy logic as well as high performance computing. He is an author or co-author of 140 published technical papers and chapters of edited books. He also co-authored a book titled "Computational geomechanics with special reference to earthquake engineering" with Prof. O.C. Zienkiewicz and others published in Feb 1999. He is one of the world leading experts in the use of finite element method for static and dynamic fully coupled soil and pore-fluid interaction and the author of two comprehensive Finite Element packages for deformable porous media and pore fluid interaction.

Prof. Michal Kocvara

Prof. Michal Kocvara is Professor in Optimisation and Head of Management Mathematics, School of Mathematics (RAE 5). His research interests include nonlinear and semi-definite optimisation, optimisation of elastic structures, and optimisation with equilibrium constraints. After his studies of applied mathematics, he worked for several years in industry. He has been a key player in creating a bridge between academic research and the practical needs of the industry. Before joining the University of Birmingham in January 2007, he was with the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and, simultaneously, working on research projects at the Universities in Bayreuth and Erlangen, Germany. He took part in two German-Israeli Foundation projects, three BMBF (German Ministry of Development) projects in which EADS Munich was the key industrial partner, and six research projects funded by the Czech Academy of Sciences. His recent work is supported by a £2M EU FP6 project on structural optimisation that has 5 academic and 5 industrial partners. He is a (co-)author of a monograph and 35 journal articles on various aspects of mathematical optimisation and optimisation of mechanical structures. He (co-)developed several computer programs for nonlinear optimisation and optimisation of elastic structures, some of them are routinely used in academia and industry. He has been regularly invited to give (plenary) talks at optimisation conferences. In 2007 he obtained the prestigious Otto Mønsted guest professorship at the Technical University of Denmark. He is an editor of SIAM J. Optimization and Optimization Methods and Software.

Prof. Zoe Kourtzi

Prof. Zoe Kourtzi is the Chair of Brain Imaging at the School of Psychology (RAE 5*) and the Director of Neurocognitive Research at the Birmingham University Imaging Centre. She is a leading expert in cognitive neuroscience using brain imaging methods and advanced computational approaches to understand the neural basis of complex and adaptive cognitive behaviour. She has a strong record with more than 30 papers in top international journals (including Science, Nature Neuroscience, PLOS Biology, Neuron) since 1997, international collaborations and research funding from different countries (BBSRC, EPSRC, Royal Society, Research into Ageing, SPARC:UK, McDonnell-Pew: USA, DFG-SFB: Germany, IZKF: Germany, ETHZ: Switzerland, NEI:USA, ARC: Australia). Interdisciplinary work in Kourtzi's lab aims to develop novel methods for the analysis of multimodal imaging data (combined MRI, EEG, MEG recordings) based on advanced mathematical approaches (pattern classification, information theory). This work in collaboration with colleagues from NeuroInformatics (Sussex Univ) has been recently awarded a Cognitive Foresight Initiative grant. Kourtzi was awarded the inaugural Young Investigator Award (May 2007, Sarasota, USA) by the Vision Sciences Society, the leading international society in visual neuroscience and several other international awards (Attempto-Preis, Sigma-Xi, Best dissertation). She was recently elected member of the International Neuropsychological Society and serves on the scientific and review committees of leading international meetings (International Symposium on Brain, Vision & Artificial Intelligence, 2007; European Conference of Visual Perception 2007; Vision Sciences Society since 2000).

Dr. Thorsten Schnier (Projects Operations Manager)

Dr. Thorsten Schnier has been a Research Fellow with the University of Birmingham from 1999, and joined Cercia at its inception in January 2003. Before coming to Birmingham, Dr. Schnier read Electrical Engineering (BSc, MSc) at the University of Hannover and Computer Science (PhD) at the University of Sydney. His Ph.D research at the Key Centre for Design Computing involved work on Computational Creativity, Evolutionary Design, and particularly the role of representations. Following his PhD he worked as a lecturer at the Key Centre, and was also involved in online teaching, 'virtual classrooms' and an online conference on Design Computing on the Net. He was Principle Investigator of the 'Nature Inspired Creative Design' network, an AHRC/EPSRC sponsored 'Designing for the 21st Century' initiative. Thorsten is working in a number of areas, combining his Evolutionary Computation, Design, and Electrical Engineering backgrounds. In the 'evolvable hardware' area, he is working on evolving fault tolerant circuits. Design related work involves evolutionary and other nature inspired methods in design, from industrial design optimization, to creative design and mass customization.

Theme Co-Leads

Prof. Ela Claridge

Prof Ela Claridge FBCS is a Professor of Medical Image Analysis. She leads a research group internationally known for novel quantitative image analysis methods based on physics of image formation. The group has a strong tradition of interdisciplinary work, with research collaborations extending to medicine, biosciences, chemistry, physics, astronomy and geology and grants from EPSRC, MRC, PPARC, the Leverhulme Trust, the Wellcome Trust, EU, NHS and regional organisations. She has published over 100 papers and her research has led to patents and a commercially successful spin-out. She leads an interdisciplinary Collaborative Research Network in Imaging and Visualisation at Birmingham and is an editorial board member of Bioinformatics Research & Applications and Medical Image Analysis

Prof. Kalyanmoy Deb

Prof. Kalyanmoy Deb is a Professor of Computer Science newly appointed in the School of Computer Science. He is a world authority in evolutionary multi-objective optimisation. As of 20 February 2007, his publications had been cited 3975 times according to ISI. He has received the 2006 Thomson Citation Laureate Award for the highest ISI Web of Science citation counts in the computer science category from India during 1996-2005. He received the Prestigious S. S. Bhatnagar Prize in Engineering Science in 2005 from CSIR, India. He is a fellow of the Indian Academy of Science (IASc) and Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE). He also held a number of other prestigious fellowships, including Alexander von Humboldt (AvH) Fellowship, Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award, Finnish Distinguished Visiting Professor (FiDiPro). He is an associate editor of eight international journals and has given 18 keynote speeches.

Prof Peter Watkins

Prof. Peter Watkins is head of the Particle Physics group, which consists of around 40 staff and 15 PhD students, in the School of Physics and Astronomy. He is PI for the STFC rolling grant to support this work and the most recent five year fEC grant awarded in October 2006 was for £6M. He has made significant contributions to the Physics analysis, visualisation and computing work on a wide range of Particle Physics experiments using world-wide resources and has produced over 500 publications including a single author book. These experiments at CERN have included the Nobel prize winning UA1 experiment which discovered the carriers of the weak force (W and Z bosons) and the OPAL experiment at LEP which made precision tests of the electroweak theory for over a decade. Currently he is working on the triggering system of the ATLAS experiment that is being constructed to study 14 TeV proton proton collisions at the CERN large hadron collider (LHC). This international project involves 2000 scientists from 35 countries. He has actively represented the group in GRIDPP which is the largest UK e-science project and obtained four separate PPARC grants as PI totalling £453k for work on Large Hadron Collider computing and related e-science projects. Since being appointed chairman of the Computer and Networking Advisory Panel for Astronomy and Particle Physics within PPARC he has been appointed as sole UK representative to the International High Energy Physics Computing Coordination Committee and is a member of the European Committee for Future Accelerators. In the last two years he has given plenary talks on UK e-science and UK grids at International ICFA Workshops for global e-science in South Korea and Krakow.

Academic Champions

  • Dr. J. Rowe, Computer Science
  • Dr. M. Gerdts, Mathematics
  • Prof. M. Russell, Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering
  • Dr. D. Heinke, Psychology
  • Prof. R. Johnston, Chemistry