MSU Hires Nation’s First Endowed Chair of Genetic Programming

Dr. Wolfgang Banzhaf at the European Parliament, 2010
Dr. Wolfgang Banzhaf at the European Parliament, 2010 – Memorial University

Come August 2016, world renowned computer scientist Dr. Wolfgang Banzhaf will join Michigan State University as the nation’s first endowed chair in genetic programming; further strengthening the university’s position at the forefront of evolutionary computation.

Banzhaf is currently a professor in the Department of Computer Science of Memorial University of Newfoundland where he serves as head of department and as an appointed University Research Professor, the highest academic honor awarded by Memorial. His research interests include bio-inspired computing, evolutionary computation, complex adaptive systems, and artificial life.

His new position, the John R. Koza Endowed Chair in Genetic Programming, comes courtesy of a substantial financial gift from the renowned geneticist of the same name. The donation was made to MSU’s BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action to further the cutting edge teaching, research, and practice in evolutionary computation.

Director Erik Goodman spoke with MSU Today about the fortuitous development. “Dr. Banzhaf is among the most renowned computer scientists in the world studying genetic programming. We are quite pleased he accepted the position, and are fortunate to be able to fund the position because of a generous gift from John Koza, a pioneer of the field of genetic programming.”

Editor’s Note: What is genetic programming?

Genetic programming is a type of a programming that builds computer code for the sake of mimicking biological evolution to solve complex problems. The thought behind genetic programming is that the ideas of biological evolution are very effective and efficient at finding the best solution to a given situation.

While Banzhaf will work out of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, he will be collaborating with researchers from many fields of study through BEACON. It was, after all, the cutting edge work of BEACON that brought Banzhalf to the university. He has authored several important books in the field and served as the founding editor of the journal Genetic Programming and Evolvable Machines.

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