University of Vermont

IEEE CIS grant awarded to Josh Payne

Josh PayneDr. Joshua L. Payne has received a Walter Karpuls Summer Research Award from the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society. This award recognizes graduate students for research in evolutionary computation, neural networks and fuzzy systems. Payne's project is entitled "Toward computational evolution: Incorporating ecological interactions and conditional dispersal into biologically-inspired algorithms." The award funds living expenses for a two-month period in Vienna, Austria, where Payne will continue his research with leading evolutionary biologist Ulf Dieckmann at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). Payne successfully defended his PhD in computer science from the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) on May 6, 2009, studying information flow in complex systems with advisor Dr. Margaret J. Eppstein (Associate Professor, UVM CEMS Dept. of Computer Science; Director, UVM Complex Systems Center). He has a BS in both math and computer science from Regis University in Denver, Colorado, and an MEng in operations research and statistics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. His hometown is Williamson, New York. The Walter Karpuls Summer Research Award is just the latest in a series of academic successes Payne has enjoyed since joining UVM in 2004 as a member of the inaugural class of the Interdisciplinary PhD in Computer Science. During his time at UVM Payne has co-authored an impressive five journal articles (four of which are already published or accepted), eight peer-reviewed published conference papers in highly-respected international conferences (one awarded a best-paper award and two others best-paper nominations), and has given various other conference presentations and three invited talks. In addition to two years of support from the Department of Computer Science as an interdisciplinary graduate research assistant, Payne was awarded three years of graduate assistantships through Vermont EPSCoR (two years from DOE EPSCoR and one year from NSF EPSCoR) to support his graduate studies. Payne has been very active in organizing graduate seminar series in both Computer Science and Complex Systems. For his outstanding achievements, he was awarded UVM's ACM Faculty Award in Computer Science in 2007 and the UVM Graduate Award in Computer Science in both 2008 and 2009. Payne complemented his advanced studies in computing and complex systems with graduate coursework in biology and ecology at UVM, and in addition broadened his education by attending a two-week summer school at the New England Complex Systems Institute in 2005 held at MIT, a one-month summer school at the Santa Fe Institute (where he was 1 of only 56 chosen out of 427 applicants) in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2007, and a highly competitive three-month Young Scientists Summer Program in the Evolution and Ecology program at IIASA in 2008, where he first started his collaboration with Dieckmann. After his upcoming summer back at IIASA, he will begin a postdoctoral position with Dr. Jason Moore in the Computational Genetics Laboratory at Dartmouth in September, 2009. Payne exemplifies the type of student the College is seeking to cultivate through the CEMS Spire of Excellence in Complex Systems. By combining a solid and in-depth educational background in quantitative and computational sciences with interdisciplinary studies in biology and ecology, Payne is able to bring unique perspectives and powerful approaches to tackling important problems in a variety of complex systems. We are proud of Dr. Payne's accomplishments at UVM and look forward to seeing what his future contributions will be as he moves on to the next stages of his career.