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Dr. Atif Azad
Project Title: Multicore Attribute Grammatical Evolution (MAGE)
Position: Post Doctoral Researcher

Dr Atif Azad is a post doctoral researcher at the BDS group where his current research spans Memetic Learning in Genetic Programming, Automatic Parallel Programming with Grammatical Evolution, and endowing Automatic Programming with richer, problem specific constraints with Attribute Grammars. Dr Azad is currently co-supervising two PhD students and reviews for the Journals of Genetic Programming and Evolvable Machines, Applied Soft Computing and Supercomputing. He has also chaired sessions at various conferences in Evolutionary Computing and was awarded the Best Reviewer Award at the European Conference in Genetic Programming (EuroGP) 2015 at Copenhagen.

Dr Atif Azad has a B.Eng in Computer Software from the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Pakistan (1999), a PhD in Evolutionary Computation from the University of Limerick, (2003), and a Diploma In Project Management from the University of Limerick (2008). Before commencing his PhD, he worked as a Software Engineer at Techlogix, Pakistan. His research analyses and applies machine-learning methods inspired by nature (also called Evolutionary Algorithms or EAs) using Genetic Programming (GP). During his PhD, he investigated grammatical representations in GP by drawing lessons from Molecular Biology; however, the core of his work focused on GP in a Machine Learning framework. His postdoctoral work continues to design and apply GP and EAs. A significant chunk of this work results from mentoring and co-supervisoring post graduates students both at the Masters and PhD levels. The work concerning design of EAs explores topics such as productivity of genetic operators in GP, the effects of migration strategies in island models, and how to incorporate context sensitive constraints in GP. The applied part looks at problems such as automatically generating parallel code from scratch, modelling the flow of blood in a grafted artery, predicting the quality of service (QoS) in a VoIP network, and semi-automated analysis of mammograms. Both his doctoral and postdoctoral work also involved cross-departmental and cross-organisational collaboration. On several occasions his papers have been nominated for the best paper award at various conferences. He has also chaired sessions at the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation (GECCO) Conference and the European Conference on Genetic Programming (EuroGP), two of the most prestigious conferences in the area of Evolutionary Computing. He was awarded the Best Reviewer Award at the European Conference in Genetic Programming (EuroGP) 2015 at Copenhagen.

Dr Azad is also an occasional columnist for The Express Tribune. http://tribune.com.pk/author/5692/dr-raja-muhammad-atif-azad/

He has taught the following courses at the undergraduate level, mostly at the University of Limerick but also as a visiting lecturer in Pakistan:

  • CS4111 Computer Science 1
  • CS4023 Operating Systems. See http://amnesia.csisdmz.ul.ie/4023/
  • CS4135 Software Architecture
  • CS4045 Medical Imaging
  • Computer Science 2
  • Genetic Programming ( taught at the University of AJ&K, Mirpur (AK) Pakistan under the scheme ‘Reclamation of talented Pakistanis Working Abroad’)

Dr Azad has won the following awards and honours:

  • Awarded €2500 for Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Technology and Innovation Development Award (TIDA) Training 2010. Grant No: 06/IN.1/I99 TIDA Training 10.
  • Chaired conference sessions at:
    • Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO) 2011, Dublin, Ireland.
    • European Conference on Genetic Programming (EuroGP) 2014, Granada, Spain.
    • 6th World Congress on Nature and Biologically Inspired Computing (NaBIC 2014), Porto, Portugal.
  • Received: Best Reviewer Award at the European Conference on Genetic Programming (EuroGP) 2015, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Nominated for the Best Paper Award at:
    • Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO) 2010, Portland, Oregon;
    • the European Conference on Genetic Programming (EuroGP) 2007, Spain;
    • the IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC 2005), Edinburgh, UK;
    • Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO) 2002, New York.
  • Review for:
    • Journal of Supercomputing, Springer;
    • Genetic Programming and Evolvable Machines, Springer;
    • Applied Soft Computing, Elsevier Publishers;
    • GECCO (since 2002), ACM;
    • European Conference on Genetic Programming (EuroGP)(since 2004), Springer;
    • Graduate Student Workshop 2004 and Grammatical Evolution Workshop (GEWS 2004).
  • Received ‘outstanding student award’ for standing 1st in the Diploma in Project Management (3.47/4.00).
  • Stood 3rd in the university while acquiring B.Eng. in Computer Software Engineering securing a cumulative GPA of 3.92/4.00.
  • Awarded silver medal of excellence for standing 2nd in the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Abbottabad, Pakistan during pre-engineering studies.



Recent Publications

Gopinath Chennupati, R. Muhammad Atif Azad, Conor Ryan, Automatic Evolution of Parallel Sorting Programs on Multi-cores in Proceedings of Eighteenth European Conference on the Applications of Evolutionary Computation, EvoApplications'15, pages 706 -- 717, Copenhagen, Denmark, April 8--10, 2015, Springer.

Gopinath Chennupati, R. Muhammad Atif Azad, Conor Ryan, Automatic Evolution of Parallel Recursive Programs in Proceedings of Eighteenth European Conference on Genetic Programming, EuroGP'15, pages 167 -- 178, Copenhagen, Denmark, April 8--10, 2015, Springer.

Gopinath Chennupati, R. Muhammad Atif Azad, Conor Ryan. Performance Optimization of Multi-Core Grammatical Evolution Generated Parallel Recursive Programs. In Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, GECCO'15, Madrid, Spain, July 11--15, 2015. ACM

Gopinath Chennupati, R. Muhammad Atif Azad, Conor Ryan. On the Automatic Generation of Efficient Parallel Iterative Sorting Algorithms. In Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference Companion, GECCO'15, Madrid, Spain, July 11--15, 2015. ACM

Gopinath Chennupati, R. Muhammad Atif Azad, Conor Ryan. Synthesis of Parallel Iterative Sorts with Multi-Core Grammatical Evolution. In Proceedings of Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference Companion, GECCO'15, Madrid, Spain, July 11--15, 2015. ACM
  • Contact Number: +353-61-202763
  • Fax Number: +353-61-202734
PhD Thesis
  • 'A Postion Independent Representation for Evolutionary Automatic Programming Algorithms - The Chorus System'. University of Limerick, December 2003.
Journal Publications
  • 1. A. Raja, R. M. A. Azad, C. Flanagan and C. Ryan, 'Evolutionary Speech Quality Estimation'. In Soft Computing - A Fusion of Foundations, Methodologies and Applications, Springer Berlin / Heidelberg, November 2009.
  • 2. A. Raja, R. M. A. Azad, C. Flanagan and C. Ryan, 'A Methodology for Deriving VoIP Equipment Impairment Factors for a mixed NB/WB Context'. In the IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, IEEE Press, October 2008.
  • 3. R. M. A. Azad, A. R. Ansari, C. Ryan, M. Walsh and T. McGloughlin, 'An evolutionary approach to Wall Sheer Stress prediction in a grafted artery'. In Applied Soft Computing, pp 139-148, Vol 4(2). Elsevier Publishers. 2004.
Refereed Book Chapters
  • 1. R. M. A. Azad and C. Ryan, 'An Examination of Simultaneous Evolution of Grammars and Solutions'. In Genetic Programming Theory and Practice. Kluwer Publishers, 2005.
Refereed Conference Publications
  • 1. R. M. A. Azad and C. Ryan, "Variance based Selection to Improve Test Set Performance in Genetic Programming". In the proceedings of Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO) 2011, Dublin, Ireland.
  • 2. D. Wallin, C. Ryan and R. M. A. Azad, "Candidate Oversampling Prefers Two to Tango". In the proceedings of Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO) 2011, Dublin, Ireland.
  • 3. R. M. A. Azad and C. Ryan, "Abstract functions and lifetime learning in Genetic Programming for Symbolic Regression". In the proceedings of Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO) 2010, Portland, Oregon, USA.
  • 4. A. Raja, R. M. A. Azad, C. Flanagan, C. Ryan, "Speech Quality Estimation in a Mixed Context with Genetic Programming". In the proceedings of Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO) 2008, Atlanta, GA, USA.
  • 5. A. Raja, R. M. A. Azad, C. Flanagan, C. Ryan, "An Evolutionary Approach to Speech Quality Estimation," FBIT, pp. 757-760, 2007 Frontiers in the Convergence of Bioscience and Information Technologies, 2007.
  • 6. A. Raja, R. M. A. Azad, C. Flanagan and C. Ryan, 'Real-Time, Non-intrusive Evaluation of VoIP'. In the proceedings of Genetic Programming, 10th European Conference, EuroGP 2007, vol. 4445 of LNCS, Valencia, Spain. Springer Verlag Publishers. 2007.
  • 7. A. Raja, R. M. A. Azad, Colin Flanagan, D. Picovici and C. Ryan, 'Non-Intrusive Quality Evaluation of VoIP Using Genetic Programming'. In the proceedings of BIONETICS, Italy. 2006.
  • 8. D. Wallin, C. Ryan and R. M. A. Azad, 'Symbiogenetic Coevolution'. In the proceedings of IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation, Edinburgh, UK. 2005.
  • 9. D. Power, C. Ryan and R. M. A. Azad, 'Promoting Diversity Using Migration Strategies in Distributed Genetic Algorithms'. In the proceedings of IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation, Edinburgh, UK. 2005.
  • 10. H. Majeed, C. Ryan and R. M. A. Azad, 'Evaluating GP Schema in Context'. In the proceedings of Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO 2005), Washington DC, USA. 2005.
  • 11. C. Ryan, H. Majeed and R. M. A. Azad, 'A competitive Building Block Hypothesis'. In the proceedings of Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO 2004), vol. 3103 of LNCS pp 654-665 Seattle, USA. Springer Verlag Publishers. 2004.
  • 12. E. Ryan, R. M. A. Azad and C. Ryan, 'On the performance of Genetic Operators and the Random Key Representation', In the proceedings of Genetic Programming 7th European Conference, EuroGP 2004, vol. 3003 of LNCS, pp 162-173, Portugal. Springer Verlag Publishers. 2004.
  • 13. R. M. A. Azad and C. Ryan, 'Structural Emergence with Order Independent Representations'. In the proceedings of Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, GECCO 2003, vol. 2724 of LNCS, pp 1626-1638, Chicago, USA. Springer Verlag Publishers. 2003.
  • 14. C. Ryan and R. M. A. Azad, 'Sensible Initialisation in Grammatical Evolution'. In the Proceedings of the Bird of a Feather Workshop, Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference 2003. pp 142-145.
  • 15. C. Ryan and R. M. A. Azad, 'Sensible Initialisation in Chorus'. In the proceedings of Genetic Programming 6th European Conference, EuroGP 2003, vol. 2610 of LNCS, pp 399-408, Essex, UK. Springer Verlag Publishers. 2003.
  • 16. R. M. A. Azad, C. Ryan, M. E. Burke and A. R. Ansari, ' A re-examination of the Cart Centering Problem using the Chorus System'. In the proceedings of Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO 2002), pp 707-715, New York, USA. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers. 2002.
  • 17. C. Ryan, A. Azad, A. Sheahan and M. O' Neill, 'No Coercion and No Prohibition. A Position Independent Encoding Scheme for Evolutionary Algorithms - The Chorus System'. In the proceedings of Genetic Programming 5th European Conference, EuroGP 2002, vol. 2278 of LNCS, pp 131-141, Kinsale, Ireland. Springer Verlag Publishers. 2002.
  • 18. C. Ryan, M. O' Neill and A. Azad, 'No Coercion and No Prohibition. A Position Independent Encoding Scheme for Evolutionary Algorithms'. In the proceedings of Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO 2001), pp 187, San Francisco, USA. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers. 2001.
Published Conference Tutorials
  • 1. R. M. A. Azad and C. Ryan, 'Grammatical Evolution Tutorial'. In the Proceedings of the 2008 GECCO conference companion on Genetic and Evolutionary Computation, Atlanta, USA.
Talks and Tutorials
  • 1. R. M. A. Azad and C. Ryan, 'Grammatical Evolution Tutorial' at GECCO 2010, Portland, Oregon, USA.
  • 2. C. Ryan, M. O' Neill and A. Azad, 'Grammatical Evolution Tutorial' at GECCO 2004, Seattle, USA.


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