Biography: Una-May O'Reilly

Principal Research Scientist
MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab


current research
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Una-May is a Fellow of the International Society of Genetic and Evolutionary Computation, now ACM Sig-EVO. She holds a B.Sc. from the University of Calgary, and a M.C.S. and Ph.D. (1995) from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. She joined the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory as a Post-Doctoral Associate in 1996.

Currently a principal research scientist at CSAIL, Una-May is leader of the Evolutionary Design and Optimization (EVO-DesignOpt) group. EVO-DesignOpt focuses on the development and application of evolutionary algorithms in tandem with convex optimization and machine learning techniques for solving a spectrum of engineering and AI problems within the realms of Architecture, sensory evaluation, networks, circuits, embedded systems and parallel high-performance systems.

Una-May serves on the executive board of the ACM Sig-EVO. She was chair of the Genetic Programming track at GECCO 2003, co-chair of the 2004 European Conference on Genetic Programming and was chair of GECCO in 2005. She has served on the GECCO business committee since 2008. She co-led the 2006 and 2009 Genetic Programming: Theory to Practice Workshops. She is an associate and action editor of Genetic Programming and Evolvable Machines, and MIT Press Journal of Evolutionary Computation, and action editor for the Journal of Machine Learning Research.

Una-May has a patent pending for a original genetic algorithm technique applicable to internet-based name suggestions.

Una-May served as VP of Technology at Icosystem Corporation from Sept 2006 to June 2007. There she directed the development of Nymbler.com.

Una-May led a project on electronic modulation of solid state white lighting concerned with energy efficiency, integrated sensing and lighting design from 2005-2007. Dr. Maria R. Thompson completed her PhD on this subject in January of 2007. Osram-Sylvania is respectfully acknowledged for their partial sponsorship of this project.

Una-May was a co-investigator on the DARPA ACIP Cearch project from 2005-2006.

In 2003 Una-May played a technical management role in the coordination, integration and software design of Cardea, a Segway-based mobile humanoid robot that pushed open doors. She developed robot architectures and coordinated robot platforms and reporting under the MIT CSAIL's Humanoid Robotics Group's 4 year DARPA Mobile Autonomous Robot Software project on Natural Tasking of Robots Based on Human Cues. She was featured as a "Real Scientist" on PBS's DragonflyTV. See a short video here.

In 1998 Una-May co-founded the Emergent Design group with Prof. Peter Testa and Devyn Weiser (formerly of the MIT School of Architecture, now of Testa Architecture & Design). She acted as the group's consultant on computer science and computational design and was responsible for a series of design tools, the most recent of which is Genr8. Genr8 (an open software product) is currently used by Architectural Association School of Architecture (London, UK) graduate design programme in Emergent Technologies and Design. She has given invited lectures on Emergent Design at Adaptive Computing and Design in Manufacturing : Plymouth, UK, 2000, the Communications and Content Forum: Umea, Sweden, 2001, Experimenta Design: Lisbon, Portugal, 2003, the Congress on Evolutionary Computation: Portland, 2004, the Kennon Symposium at Rice University School of Architecture, 2004 and the 4th International Symposium on Hybrid Intelligent Systems, Kitakyushu, Japan, 2004.