Dr Mark Johnston
School of Mathematics, Statistics and Operations Research
Phone: 04 463 5669
Location: Room 531, Cotton Building, Gate 7 Kelburn Pde, Kelburn Campus
Combinatorial Optimisation, Evolutionary Computation
Mark's research lies at the interesting intersection of operations research and artificial intelligence in the study of combinatorial optimisation problems. These are used extensively as mathematical models of large-scale scheduling, timetabling, routing and classification applications, but are often extremely difficult to solve to optimality. Search-based algorithms such as metaheuristics and genetic programming, however, expect to find good solutions in reasonable computation time by balancing between brute-force neighbourhood search and insightful rules of thumb. Mark is particularly interested in why some search heuristics perform better than others, how they might be improved and how visualisation can be used to shed some light on what is going on. He is a member of the Genetic Programming and Evolutionary Computation (GPEC) research group, working with A/Prof Mengjie Zhang.
Mark is a lecturer in Operations Research (OPRE) at Victoria University of Wellington. He has a PhD in Operations Research from Massey University, and spent a few years teaching at the University of Essex. He coordinates the Wellington branch of the Operational Research Society of New Zealand (ORSNZ).