• Very excited that GECCO 2017 will take place in Berlin. Together with Markus Wagner, I am acting as workshop chair.

  • Congratulations to Raza Khan and Juan Diaz Esteban on passing your PhDs!

Dr. Julia Handl

Email: julia.handl at

Short bio: I am a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in the Decision and Cognitive Sciences Research Centre at the University of Manchester. Prior to this I was an MRC Special Training Fellow at the University of Manchester and the University of Washington. I hold a PhD from the University of Manchester, a Masters degree in Computer Science from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and a Bachelor (Hons) degree from Monash University.

Publications: Most of my publications can be accessed from my Google Scholar citation profile.

Teaching: I am PGT Coordinator for my division and co-program-director of the MSc Business Analytics: Operations Research and Risk Analysis. I contribute to teaching in two of the core modules of this MSc programme (Simulation & Risk Analysis and Data Analytics), as well as the supervision of MSc dissertations. At undergraduate level, I currently teach courses on Quantitative Methods in the Alliance Manchester Business School. I enjoy activities related to the public communication of science and technology, e.g. in my role as a STEM ambassador I currently run a weekly Scratch club at a local primary school.

Research: My research interests relate to the development and application of advanced analytical techniques (concretely, optimization methods, machine learning and simulation) for complex real-world problems, and I have on-going collaborative projects in a number of different application areas, both within and outside academia. Current projects within Manchester Business School touch on areas as diverse as vehicle routing, production planning, demand forecasting, enterprise risk management, sustainability, direct marketing, customer relationship management and interest rate manipulation. Many of the methods I work with have applications across disciplines, and current cross-faculty collaborations include work with the School of Computer Science and the Faculty of Life Sciences.

Key research themes:

One of my core research areas is the use of multiobjective optimization in the development of improved data-mining techniques. This work investigates the advantages of multiobjective formulations for a number of different classification problems including clustering, cluster validation, feature selection and semi-supervision. The overall goal of this work is to increase the scalibility, flexibility and uptake of multiobjective data-mining approaches. For multi-objective clustering, we are working towards this as a part of an ongoing EPSRC project. We are further developing multi-objective clustering in applications related to

  • Forecasting of analogous time series (with PhD student Emiao Lu)
  • Market segmentation (with PhD student Emiao Lu)
  • Customer relationship management (with post-doc Mario Garza Fabre)
  • Evidence of interest rate manipulation in financial data (with post-doc Mario Garza Fabre)

Funding: EPSRC, Gottlieb-Daimler and Karl-Benz foundation, German Academic Exchange Service.

More details are available here on the topics of cluster validation, cluster generators and the multiobjective clustering algorithm MOCK. Researchers at INRIA have recently released a package of multiobjective clustering approaches that builds upon MOCK's core mechanisms, and is described here.

eXTReMe Tracker Development and application of meta-heuristics and, specifically, meta-heuristics for multiobjective optimization present a second overarching theme of my research. Current research interests include the development of suitable heuristic optimization techniques for:
  • Simulation-optimization (and robustness) in production planning (with former PhD student Juan Diaz Leiva)
  • Green vehicle routing (with former PhD student Raza Khan)
  • Fragment-assembly methods for computational structure prediction (with PhD student Shaun Kandathil)

Funding: MRC, EPSRC.

Some of my early research focused on clustering techniques that are inspired by the behaviour of real ant colonies, and I remain fascinated by some of the properties of nature-inspired heuristics.

Funding: German Academic Exchange Service.