The University of Essex is a high profile institution and
the School has an excellent reputation, especially in the field of Artificial
Intelligence. The Department’s academic members are some of the best researchers
worldwide. At Essex research students get a unique opportunity to join many
activities and workshops that help them in their careers. One of the most
memorable experiences I found is in organising an annual conference (called
CEEC) for research students to join, collaborate and discuss their research
projects. In addition, Essex is a very international environment where about 50%
of its students are from different parts of the world.
finished my PhD from the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering
in 2010. I received my MSc in Software Engineering from the same university in
I am mainly interested in Evolutionary Computation and my
main research interest lies in the applications of Genetic Programming. To that
extent, during my PhD, under the directions of Professor Riccardo Poli, I
developed a series of universal compression systems based on the GP referred to
as the GP-zip family. In addition, I proposed several new novel algorithms based
on the use of GP for several applications such as:
data type analysis, Muscle Fatigue prediction and problem
Not long after I was awarded my PhD, I obtained a position as a Research
Associate at Loughborough University in the UK. I am working on a
project associated with the EPSRC ‘Designing
Mechanisms for Automated Resource Allocation’ project. I am also a visiting
lecturer at Um Al-Qura University, Saudi Arabia, in the Computer Science
Department. In addition, I still maintain a research collaboration with my
professors at the University of Essex.
"I returned to the University in 2005 having completed my MSc a couple of
years earlier. My PhD, supervised by Riccardo Poli, looked at the biases
of variation operators for Genetic Programming (GP), one of a number of
Evolutionary Search methods. The research had a theoretical basis and
provided insights as to how GP searches a Program Space.
Highlights during my time at Essex included presenting at international
conferences where I was fortunate enough to receive a number of best paper
awards and nominations. I also enjoyed debating and progressing research
ideas with fellow students, a process strongly encouraged by the school
After completing my PhD, I worked as a Senior Research Officer for Udo
Kruschwitz and Maria Fasli at the University before taking up a role as a Data
Architect at Lloyds Banking Group. I am currently working as the data lead
on banking integration and divestment projects"
"When I was selecting a university for postgraduate study, my first priority
strength of the department. Essex is a high profile institution and the School
has an excellent reputation, especially in telecommunications and optical
2003 I completed my MSc Telecommunication and Information Systems. The practical
sessions involving experiments and lab work were really useful, particularly for
students who decide not to follow a career in academia, whereas the research
projects are great for those who want to undertake further study.
Essex is a very international place with lots of opportunities to make friends
from all corners of the globe. The buildings and labs offer the very latest
technology, and the School is keen to progress and enhance learning
opportunities wherever possible.
During my studies, I was given the opportunity to work as a graduate teaching
assistant, gaining key teaching and communication skills that have proved to be
extremely useful for my future career. Since completing my PhD, I’ve been
employed by the University as a Research Officer, building upon the skills I
learnt throughout my studies. The University offers an excellent environment to
study in. The beautiful Colchester Campus, especially the area surrounding the
lake, is very relaxing. It is a great place to catch up on studies or unwind
with friends. I really enjoy studying and working at such a friendly and diverse
registered her PhD studies in
CCFEA. She was supervised jointly by
Andreas Krause (School of Management, University of Bath) and Edward Tsang.
Under joint supervision, Biliana was able to tackle a very complex computational
Building on existing work, Biliana built one of the most advanced models (in
terms of complexity and realism) of credit card payment in the world. With this
model, she was able to predict market shares and demands. Given clear
objectives, banks can also use her model to learn pricing strategies, as was
demonstrated in her thesis.
She has had 4 conference papers published,1 book chapter accepted, and also
has a few papers in the pipe-line.
Biliana works for the
Bank of Mexico.
sought to have a systematic research experience in Robotics and Control through
studying at PhD level in Computer Science and I chose Essex because Essex has an
excellent research reputation in this field. As well as furthering
my knowledge in the field, I have learned how to carry out challenging research
independently, and have also developed good skills for team work. Furthermore,
working with different research teams on interdisciplinary projects gave me
excellent preparation for my current job as a Research Fellow in the School of
Engineering and Electronics at Edinburgh. I am working on the EPSRC grant
(EP/C546318/1) for the Espacenet project (http://www.e-spacenet.net/)
which aims to design evolvable and reconfigurable sensor networks and
distributed reconfigurable System-On-Chip sensor nodes for aerospace-based
monitoring and diagnostics.
Erfu is from Xindian, Jingning County,
Gansu Province, China. He came to us with Bachelor of Engineering and Master of
Engineering degrees from the School of Space Technology, Beijing University of
Aeronautics and Astronautics. Erfu passed his viva on 16 April 2008. The title
of his PhD thesis is “Model-Based Formation Control and Policy Learning for
Leader-Follower Robotic Systems”. He was a member of the Human-Centred Robotics
group and supervised by Dr Dongbing Gu. During his PhD study, he published
two journal papers, one book chapter, and nine conference papers. He is now a
Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh.
was an incredibly productive PhD student, publishing 16 papers, and
passing his viva within three years of the start date. He won the best
student paper award at CEC 2005 with the paper Julian
Togelius and Simon M. Lucas (2005): ‘Evolving Controllers for Simulated Car
Racing.’ Proceedings of IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation,
Julian is now working with the
internationally renowned research group of
Juergen Schmidhuber at IDSIA in
Julian is pictured (third from left) with Dr John Gan,
Internal Examiner, his supervisor Simon Lucas and the External Examiner,
Professor Peter Cowling of Bradford University.
am involved in research in Low Power Processor Architecture, which is an active
area in the field of embedded systems. There were several factors involved in
choosing this university; some of them are its serene location, its strong
faculty of Computer Science, and last but not the least a very strong and
vigorous embedded systems research group. Having a good number of undergraduate
and post graduate students, gives you a chance to become a Graduate Teaching
Assistant. This not only gives one financial benefits but is an exciting
opportunity to interact with multi-cultural group of students, and gain some
At Essex, the faculty and staff are very friendly and co-operative. I didn’t
find any difficulty in mixing up with them. Being a research student, we don’t
attend any classes which lessen one’s chance of social mixing with other
students at the university. But Essex provides various activities like group
meetings, PhD networking and training to address this issue. Being a research
student gives you freedom with responsibility. You have to give presentation
about you progress on quarterly basis. I used to work late and even on weekends
and holidays; this flexibility definitely boosts my performance.
I think the School at Essex is one of the best in the UK. This is due to its
high profiled and qualified faculty and strong research groups. I am a member of
Islamic Society at the University which organizes several social events
throughout the year, giving you a chance to meet other members of the Muslim
chose to study at the University
because the school provides a wide range of courses taught by qualified
academic staff, particularly in the field of Artificial Intelligence.
The societies supervised by the student union at Essex have a great role
helping you adapt yourself easily in terms of the social life. In particular,
the Islamic society as well as the Saudi’s Student society tremendously
contributes to make the university social life very interesting and enjoyable.
I really enjoy working with a research group as this helps
the learning and researching processes as well as improving other personal
The School is rich with
qualified academic staff who are capable to
teach numerous modules. The weekly seminar is very helpful and really useful.
The most useful aspect of my course is in being a
member of a research group collaborating with an industrial company
as this provides me with a great experience and sense
Studying here gives you the chance to meet professionals and communicate with
people from both the academic and industry. These discussions enlighten your way
and help you to decide wisely where the best future could be.
The fondest memory of my time at Essex is being an organizer of two fabulous
events in 2007/2008: 1) Islamic Awareness Week and the International Islamic
Conference. 2) The Saudi’s Exhibition Day.