Fully-funded PhD Studentship (1)

The University of Birmingham (UK) and the University of Melbourne (Australia) [Link]

The University of Birmingham and the University of Melbourne are offering this joint PhD co-funded by both institutions providing the opportunity to study alongside world-leading academics in Birmingham and Melbourne.

Project: Dynamic Multi-objective Optimisation Using Evolutionary Algorithms

Evolutionary Algorithms (EAs) have been applied successfully to a wide range of stationary optimisation problems, e.g., car engine design problems [1] and railway rescheduling problems [2]. However, many real-world problems possess time-variant attributes that require frequent adaptation of optimised solutions. These dynamic attributes pose new research challenges.

In this project, we will focus on the design and analysis of novel EAs for such dynamic optimisation problems (DOPs). Unlike some of the existing work in this topic area, we will study multi-objective optimisation in dynamic and uncertain environments, including dynamics in the decision space, the objective space, constraints, and the number of objectives and decision variables.

In this project, we will first construct (discrete and continuous) dynamic test environments based on the concept of problem difficulty, scalability, cyclicity and noise of environments, and standardised performance measures for evaluating EAs for multi-objective optimisation. Based on the dynamic test and evaluation environment, we will then design and evaluate novel EAs based on our previous research [3]. In order to better understand the fundamental issues, theoretical analysis of EAs will be pursued. We plan to apply drift analysis [4] to analyse the computational time complexity of EAs for DOPs.

We aim at developing a generic framework of EAs for DOPs by extracting key techniques/properties of efficient EAs for DOPs and studying the relationship between them and the characteristics of DOPs being solved with respect to the environmental dynamics in the genotypic space. While similar research might have been considered in the case of single objective dynamic optimisation, the case of multi-objective optimisation [5] will be a completely new topic.


  • [1] M.-H. Tayarani-N., X. Yao and H. Xu, `Meta-heuristic Algorithms in Car Engine Design: A Literature Survey, '' IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, 19(5):609-629, October 2015.

  • [2] W. Fang, S. Yang and X. Yao, ``A Survey on Problem Models and Solution Approaches to Rescheduling in Railway Networks,'' IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, 16(6): 2997-3016, December 2015.

  • [3] S. Yang and X. Yao (editors), Evolutionary Computation for Dynamic Optimization Problems, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, ISBN: 978-3-642-38415-8 (Print) -- 978-3-642-38416-5 (Online), DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-38416-5. Volume 490 of the Studies in Computational Intelligence series, 2013.

  • [4] J. He and X. Yao, `Towards an analytic framework for analysing the computation time of evolutionary algorithms,' Artificial Intelligence, 145(1-2):59-97, April 2003. [5] B. Li, J. Li, K. Tang and X. Yao, ``Many-Objective Evolutionary Algorithms: A Survey,'' ACM Computing Surveys, 48(1), Article 13, 35 pages, September 2015.

Entry Requirements and Applications

The minimum entry requirements for the Birmingham/Melbourne Joint PhD are either:

  • An upper second-class four-year honours undergraduate degree in a relevant subject, or
  • An MSc/MRes in a relevant subject

Applications are made online at the University of Birmingham website: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/apply-pg/index.aspx. Within the application, at the Programmes open for Admission page, please select "EPS/University of Melbourne Joint PhD 3.5 years". Please detail the supervisor and project title under the Research Information section of the application form. Applications should include a statement of research interests. Applicants are encouraged to contact prospective supervisors informally to discuss the project.

Funding Notes

A fully-funded studentship, which includes tax-free Doctoral Stipend of £14,296* per annum, is available for UK Home/EU and overseas students on this Joint PhD programme between the University of Birmingham and the University of Melbourne for October 2016 start.

For engineering students who are to be hosted by the University of Melbourne, the scholarship rate will be $AUD26,388 p.a. and will include provision for a return trip to Birmingham.

Application Deadline: Saturday, April 30, 2016.

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