NEWS:
  • I am interested in taking on new PhD students for the academic year 2018/2019. Please email me to discuss funding opportunities and possible topics.

  • We have recently released an updated version of the multi-objective clustering algorithm MOCK. The accompanying paper has been accepted for publication in the IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation and the code is available here.

  • I am on study leave August 2017 until August 2018.

Dr. Julia Handl

Email: julia.handl at manchester.ac.uk


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. Projects that I am / have been involved with at Manchester Business School touch on areas as diverse as regeneration processes, vehicle routing, production planning, demand forecasting, enterprise risk management, direct marketing, customer relationship management and interest rate manipulation. Many of the methods I work with have applications across disciplines, and I am involved in a number of cross-faculty collaborations at the University of Manchester.

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. We are further exploring the benefits of multi-objective clustering in applications related to

  • Forecasting of analogous time series
  • Market segmentation
  • Customer relationship management
  • Evidence of interest rate manipulation in financial data

More details are available here on the topics of cluster validation, cluster generators and the multiobjective clustering algorithm MOCK.


Design and application of meta-heuristics and, specifically, meta-heuristics for multiobjective optimization present a second overarching theme of my research. Research interests include the development of suitable heuristic optimization techniques e.g. for:

  • Simulation-optimization (and robustness) in production planning
  • Green vehicle routing
  • Fragment-assembly methods for computational structure prediction


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.

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.


Funding: Current and previous fnding sources include EPSRC, MRC, Gottlieb-Daimler and Karl-Benz foundation, German Academic Exchange Service, Alliance Donation.


Teaching: I have previously acted as PGT Coordinator for my division and program director of the MSc Business Analytics: Operations Research and Risk Analysis. I regularly contribute to teaching on 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 have involvement in Quantitative Methods teaching in the Alliance Manchester Business School. The Blackboard pages designed for one of these modules has been regularly shortlisted for the Faculty's Best on Blackboard competition, and received the award of Highly Commended in the academic year 2014/2015. I have been awarded Academic of the Year (nomination by colleagues) in 2015/2016, and Academic of the Year for Postgraduate Taught Programmes (nomination by students) in 2016/2017. 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.


Current and previous members of my group:

PhD / DBA Students (supervisions and co-supervisions):

  • Chimdimma Onah (just starting)
  • Emiao Lu (currently writing up)
  • Juan Diaz Esteban (now Professor in Ecuador)
  • Raza Khan (now in an Academic Post in Pakistan)
  • Shaun Kandathil (now Research Associate at UCL)
  • Chris Myers (now Enterprise Risk and Capital Management Strategist)
  • Andrew Webb (now Research Associate at the University of Manchester)
Research Associates: Visitors:
  • Katti Faceli (one year visiting research fellow)
  • Maria Jesus Garcia Godoy (three month visiting PhD student)
Some but not all of these (celebrating the award of a PhD to Juan) are included in the picture below.