News – Page 2 – UCD Natural Computing Research & Applications Group

Data-driven time series feature extraction

Stefano Mauceri and co-authors (James Sweeney, Miguel Nicolau and James McDermott) have published their latest research on a data-driven approach to feature extraction from time series for one-class classification in the journal Genetic Programming & Evolvable Machines. The approach, which uses Grammatical Evolution to automatically select both the features to extract and the sub-sequences from which to extract them, is demonstrated to lead to problem understanding and improved performance.

Figure 9 from Mauceri et al., 2021 is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Best Paper Award nomination @ PPSN 2020

David Lynch and Michael O’Neill with NCRA alumnus James McDermott have been nominated for the Best Paper Award at the PPSN 2020 conference to be held in Leiden in September. The paper brings together the use of grammars and autoencoders in a novel approach to program synthesis.

Lynch D., McDermott J., O’Neill M. (2020). Program Synthesis in a Continuous Space using Grammars and Variational Autoencoders. The Sixteenth International Conference on Parallel Problem Solving from Nature (PPSN XVI). Springer LNCS.

Better generalisation performance for symbolic regression models

Miguel Nicolau with NCRA alumnus Alexandros Agapitos have published their latest research on function sets, generalisation and symbolic regression in the Genetic Programming & Evolvable Machines journal.

Nicolau, M., Agapitos, A. (2020). Choosing function sets with better generalisation performance for symbolic regression modelsGenetic Programming and Evolvable Machines

20th Anniversary issue of the Genetic Programming & Evolvable Machines journal

NCRA researchers (Róisín Loughran, Tony Brabazon and Michael O’Neill) have published three articles in the 20th Anniversary issue of the journal Genetic Programming & Evolvable Machines. Two articles provide an overview of research in application areas we have been focusing on as a group for sometime, Finance & Economics (, and Computational Creativity ( The third article, “Automatic Programming: The Open Issue?” ( follows on from an article by O’Neill et al that appeared in the 10th Anniversary issue highlighting Open Issues in the field of GP, and raises a challenge to the community to re-ignite a focus on Automatic Programming, the open issue, which we previously referred to as the “elephant in the room”. 

Business Analytics Capability, Organisational Value & Competitive Advantage

Our latest research published today in the Journal of Business Analytics shows evidence to support increased Business Analytics capability levels generate enhanced organisational value and competitive advantage. We  find that to drive organisational value and competitive advantage investments should be prioritised towards People first, then Governance, Culture and before finally Technology. Based on our findings we propose a new definition for Business Analytics.


HUMIES Gold Award for Human Competitive Artificial Intelligence


NCRA researchers David Lynch,  David Fagan and Michael O’Neill, along with their collaborators from Nokia Bell Labs (Holger Claussen and Stepan Kucera), and NCRA alumnus Michael Fenton, have won the 2019 HUMIES Gold Award for a result demonstrating Human Competitive Artificial Intelligence using Evolutionary Computation. The underlying research was published recently in the leading journal in wireless communications networks and demonstrates a doubling to tripling of data rates on cellular networks. The HUMIES Gold Award was presented at the ACM GECCO Conference in Prague on 17 July 2019.

This is the second occasion that NCRA research has been recognised in the HUMIES.  In 2017  their research on Innovative Truss Design using Grammatical Evolution won the HUMIES Bronze Award.

Business Analytics Capability at EURO 2019

Michael O’Neill will give two presentations on Business Analytics Capability at the EURO 2019 conference on operations research, which will see 2,500 delegates visit UCD from 23-26 June. The Local Chair for EURO 2019 is our very own NCRA researcher Seán McGarraghy who is also Director of the UCD Centre for Business Analytics. Michael’s presentation is titled Business Analytics Capability, Organisational Value and Competitive Advantage and asks if there is a positive relationship between Business Analytics capability levels and the generation of value and competitive advantage for organisations, and further do enhanced capability levels lead to enhanced impact? Michael will feature in the “Practice of OR – Making an Impact” stream with a “lightening talk” on Monday, followed by a full presentation in the “Business Analytics” stream on Tuesday.


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