Lee Spector
NSF Award Recognition: NSF 2003 Distinguished Teaching Scholars

Research Contributions: Dr. Spector’s research interests include genetic and evolutionary computation, in which Darwinian principals of variation and selection govern the development of digital representations in simulated environments, and the application of genetic programming techniques to quantum computing. He has served as an editor for several books on genetic and evolutionary computation. His research has been funded by NSF, and DARPA/USAF. He has published over 60 professional publications, including articles in a wide array of journals ranging from Cognitive Science and Philosophical Psychology to Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and General. He is also an associate editor for the Journal of Genetic Programming and Evolvable Machines.

Educational Contributions: Dr. Spector’s research agenda is seamlessly integrated into his curricular offerings, and he works with undergraduates more as colleagues than the typical professor/student mode. He has co-authored a dozen professional research papers with his undergraduate students. He is the recipient of the MacArthur Chair, a three-year appointment at Hampshire College that carries with it a stipend to support curricular innovation and a significant honor. He has developed courses and research projects that offer undergraduates opportunities and tools to pursue inquiry in artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and computer science.

Director's Award Project: Dr. Spector’s project aims to produce software that will provide a laboratory environment of research opportunities for fields ranging from evolutionary biology to optimization theory. The software would both simulate evolutionary processes, and evolve and improve itself, based on Darwinian principles. The project integrates research with teaching by providing a research-grade laboratory environment that can also be used in inquiry-based science education, and by developing and implementing courses in which students use this laboratory for research.

from NSF Event, June 3, 2003 Program