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Dr David Howard

Research Scientist


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Contact details:

PO BOX 883


My academic career began in Leeds --- I spent around 4 years at the University of Leeds where I earned a BSc in Computing and MSc in Cognitive Systems. Throughout my BSc and MSc I became especially inspired by the field of biologically-inspired computing - this can be best thought of as observing some facet of nature, forming a working abstraction of a natural process (for example, ant pheremone behaviour), adapting it for use of a computer, and using it to solve problems in ways that more traditional methods can't.Inspiration for much of my work implicitly owes a lot to Darwinian theories of evolution. For example, selection pressure - the infamous "survival of the fittest" - is used to keep high-quality individuals in the population whilst killing off individuals that are of little utility. In addition, abstractions of both sexual and asexual reproduction can be seen as a means of locating and enhancing desirable traits within certain rules.My main area of application is in autonomous robotics - robots that can flexibly learn and adapt to their surroundings by continuously updating their knowledge base in a self-guided manner. Extensions include features such as self-modifying memory and self-repair in the event of hardware failure.  I'm currently looking at applying evolutionary computing to the control and higher-level decision making processes of quadrotor UAVs, and working within the AIM Future Science Platform to create robots that can morphologically adapt to their tasks and environments.

Other Interests

Running, cycling (road and mountain), football and american football. I'm a fan of York City and the New England Patriots.  I also like to windsurf.I also read when I get the chance; some science/biography, mainly sci-fi and classics.

Current Roles

  • Research Scientist
    Evolutionary Field Robotics

  • AIM FSP Testbed Leader
    Autonomous Design

  • D61 CRP Contact
    Autonomous Cyber Operations

  • Team Member
    Robotic Systems Team

Academic Qualifications

  • 2010

    PhD Neuroevolutionary Computing

  • 2006

    MSc Cognitive Systems

  • 2005

    BSc Computing

Professional Experiences

  • 2010-2013

    Postdoctoral Researcher
    University of the West of England

  • 2013-2016

    OCE Postdoctoral Fellow

Other highlights

  • 2016-present

    AIM FSP founding member (1 of 3). FSP accepted with $11M funding.

  • 2016-present

    AIM Testbed leader: won funding for 6 projects, currently managing

Community and Corporate Citizenship

  • 2012-present

    Reviewer for IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computing, IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems

  • 2013-present

    Member of UARACIN programme committee

  • 2011-present

    Member of ACM GECCO GBML programme committee

  • 2011-present

    Member of IEEE CEC review committee

  • 2017-present

    Pint of Science Presenter

  • 2015-2015

    Science Week Presenter

  • 2014-present

    Numerous PhD confirmation panels

  • 2015-present

    Demo operator for RASG lab tours