Plenary Talks

1) Evolutionary Computation in Design – Three Decades of Development and Emerging Opportunities

by Prof. Prabhat Hajela, Provost

Professor of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering,

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,

Troy, New York 12180 USA



The presentation will provide a historical perspective on developments in evolutionary optimization methods, and of early challenges related to their adaptation in problems of engineering design. More specifically, the issue of addressing high-dimensionality, constrained design optimization problems, in the context of evolution-based optimization problems was the driver of early algorithmic innovations – decomposition-based design with co-evolution, diploid chromosomal structures for constraint handling, and immune network simulation to accelerate convergence and constraint satisfaction among others. The necessity for accelerated convergence was dictated by the high computational requirements that was partly addressed through the use of surrogate analysis models. The population-based search process presented a natural approach for use in multicrtiterion optimization, and was broadly adapted for this purpose. The approach was shown to be effective in capturing non-convex Pareto fronts; use of a genetic algorithm in conjunction with fuzzy logic modeling was shown to be particularly efficient in this context. The presentation will also focus on the cellular model of the genetic algorithm that was adapted for simultaneous analysis and design, and was also used in multicriterion optimization. The convergence of evolutionary optimization and artificial intelligence will be examined through the lenses of surrogate modeling and machine learning, and will postulate emerging opportunities in this exciting area of research.

Short Bio:

Prabhat Hajela, Ph.D., is the Provost at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.  In this role, he is responsible for all academic portfolios at the university.   In 2003, he served in the US Senate as a Congressional Fellow, responsible for Science and Technology Policy in the Office of Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT). He worked on several legislative issues related to aerospace and telecommunications policy, including the crafting of the anti-SPAM legislation (CAN-SPAM) that was signed into law in December 2003. He has conducted research at NASA’s Langley and Glenn Research Centers, and the Eglin Air Force Armament Laboratory. He also worked at the Boeing Company as the Boeing-A.D. Welliver Fellow in 1995. He has published over 275 papers and articles in the areas of structural and multidisciplinary optimization, and is an author/editor of 4 books in these areas. Hajela is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a Fellow of the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI), and a Fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).


Hajela received his undergraduate degree in Aeronautical Engineering (1977) from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He received Masters degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Iowa State University (1979), in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University (1981), a Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University (1982), and conducted postdoctoral research at UCLA (1982-83).

2) Transforming Institutional Consensus Building for Space Enterprise Decisions

by Dr. Matthew Ferringer, PhD


Principal Director for National Geospatial Programs,

The Aerospace Corporation, National Intelligence Division,

El Segundo, California, USA



From aiding our understanding of climate change, to providing precise location and time information anywhere on the earth, satellite constellations have become a critical part of our global infrastructure. The architecting of these complex systems,
whose costs can exceed billions of dollars, are traditionally accomplished through a slow process of incremental learning and implementation. During the previous two decades, evolutionary multi-objective optimization (EMO) decision support research at The Aerospace Corporation has led to a paradigm shift in the way we conceive, design, and architect satellite constellations serving national security, civil and commercial space programs. The EMO framework originally developed to support the decision making associated with satellite constellations has been extended to accelerate innovation across the space enterprise and a variety of other fields. Today’s plenary will highlight the key ingredients that emerged from this decades-long journey to enable institutional consensus building through the lens of space enterprise decision making.


Short Bio:

Dr. Matt Ferringer is the Principal Director for National Geospatial Programs (NGP) in The Aerospace Corporations National Intelligence Division. Matt leads a diverse team across a portfolio representing the GEOINT user community to include the
National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and the National Air and Space Intelligence Center. Dr. Ferringer has worked to build the connective tissue between user and acquisition communities for both space and ground to enable end-to-end decision
support. Prior to his role leading NGP, Matt spent a considerable portion of his career supporting the Intelligence Community innovating advanced trade-space optimization methods that were used for data-driven decision making, influencing todays and shaping the future GEOINT architecture. While serving Aerospace, Dr. Ferringer has received 12 patents, several Corporate honors to include the Presidents Distinguished Achievement and Innovation awards, actively publishes with the academic community, and has delivered several guest lectures and conference seminars related to transforming design
and planning decisions across the space enterprise. Prior to his service to Aerospace, Dr. Ferringer performed systems engineering for Lockheed Martin and Boeing.