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Watson voted one of AI’s ‘10 to watch’

A University of Southampton academic who recently used his research into algorithmic biology to lift limits on Darwin’s theory of evolution has received an award for his contribution to Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Dr Richard Watson at the University’s School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), has been awarded one of the first ever IEEE Intelligent Systems’ ‘10 to Watch’ awards, which recognises the work of new researchers worldwide. His work and that of the other nine researchers is featured in the current issue of the journal which celebrates 50 years of Artificial Intelligence.

The organisers commented: ‘The selection committee was truly inspired by the quality, accomplishments, diversity and depth of this remarkable group of young men and women. It wasn’t easy to narrow the list to only 10.’

Dr Watson describes how his research into algorithmic biology has led him to look at the use of algorithms and complexity theory to understand the scientific principles that underlie both computational methods and biological systems. He highlights ‘scalability’ as being the key factor in both natural and artificial evolution.

He commented: ‘Personally, I think there is much missing in our understanding of the algorithmic processes in nature that couple microevolution and macroevolution.

Likewise, there is a lot missing in our ability to make automatic design and optimisation methods that scale up to provide really sophisticated systems worthy of comparison with hand-designed systems, let alone biological complexity. But research in both of these areas can benefit greatly by learning from each other.’

Joyce Lewis | alfa
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