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Dr Sandy Brownlee

a picture of Dr Sandy Brownlee

Contacting me: if you have an enquiry about the Big Data or AI MSc Programmes, please email or For any other communications, click on my name at the bottom of this page to see my details.

I'm a Senior Lecturer within Computing Science and Mathematics at Stirling, leader of the Data Science and Intelligent Systems research group. I am co-lead of the AI Theme for SICSA, helping to connect and support the AI research community in Scotland. I am also a Visiting Fellow in Civil and Building Engineering at Loughborough University. My research is mainly in explainable: techniques that yield optimal or near-optimal solutions but also reveal underlying information about the problem to help people make informed decisions. My main focus is in metaheuristics, including evolutionary algorithms and estimation of distribution algorithms; related issues such as fitness modelling (and mining such models), handling constraints and multiple objectives, and decision support. I am also interested in the underlying theory of what makes particular algorithms suited to particular problems, and broader research in explainable and responsible AI. I have applied this work to application areas including scheduling and simulation-based optimisation in civil engineering and transport, software engineering, healthcare, and art.

I also have teaching and supervision responsibilities which can be found here, and am currently programme director of the MSc programmes in Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and from 2025, Advanced Computing with AI. If you'd like to have a chat about anything (though ideally related to one of the things mentioned in these pages) please get in touch: you can view my availability here. I'm particularly interested in speaking with you if you'd like to do an honours or MSc project with me. If you're really interested in one of my research lines you might also consider doing a PhD: there are several possible lines of funding for such things that can be explored.

Quick links

About Me

I grew up in rural Aberdeenshire, spent a while in the big city (well, Aberdeen), moved to Loughborough for a bit then on to Stirling. I'm a Christian, husband to Jay and father of four great wee girls, and embrace my inner geek as much as possible. I like to build things, fix things and figure out how stuff works, I like "proper" Sci Fi like Asimov and Arthur C Clarke and Prefer Picard. I sometimes make sounds on a guitar, but am a good deal better at mixing the music of others. I helped establish the toast appreciation society at RGU, and after setting up the debating society there found I quite liked that too. I don't like mushrooms. I sometimes blog about family life here and about technical matters here.

My Erdos-Bacon number is currently a rather disappointing 8 (3+5). This is computed as follows: Alexander E. I. Brownlee > Edmund K. Burke > Zsolt Tuza > Paul Erdos according to (AMS has a longer trail of 5 coauthors but misses some of my work in CS); appearances (thanks to the MS video above) Alexander Brownlee > Jason Atkin > Marcus du Sautoy > Marcus Brigstocke > Ricky Gervais > Kevin Bacon. It might be a bit better thanks to a brief TV appearance when I was a teenager, but I can't find it anywhere! If anyone has a photographic memory of Grampian TV's output, I'd like to hear from them.

Version: 3.12
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