Professor Robin Purshouse
Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering
Professor of Decision Sciences
+44 114 222 5618
Full contact details
Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering
Amy Johnson Building
Robin Purshouse received the MEng degree in Control Systems Engineering in 1999 and a PhD in Control Systems in 2004 for his research on evolutionary many-objective optimisation under the supervision of Peter Fleming. Commercial experience includes Logica plc (1999-2000), PA Consulting Group (2003-2007) and Rolls-Royce plc (2007-2008). He returned to the University of Sheffield in 2008 - initially as a Research Fellow in the School of Health and Related Research and, since 2010, as a Lecturer in the Department of Automatic Control & Systems Engineering.
Robin was a principal architect of the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model, alongside Alan Brennan, Rachid Rafia, and Petra Meier. He was the holder of an ESRC Future Research Leaders grant award (October 2012 - September 2014) and, with Peter Fleming and Carlos Fonseca, was General Chair of the seventh international conference in the world-leading series on Evolutionary Multi-Criterion Optimization (EMO) held in Sheffield in March 2013.
- Research interests
Robin's research aims to help improve how we identify and choose between possible solutions to a problem, with a particular focus on the process of policy appraisal. There are a number of factors that make policy appraisal a challenging research area:
Multiple trade-offs When deciding on a best course of action, there is usually more than one performance criterion, or objective, to be considered. If these objectives are in conflict with each other, then we are faced with multiple ‘best’ solutions offering different trade-offs between the objectives. In decision analysis we often use methods that attempt to identify these trade-offs, but if there are more than three objectives to consider then some of the most popular methods are likely to fail at this task. Multiple stakeholders In order to identify a single best solution, we need to introduce subjective preferences for different trade-offs between objectives. Most decisions will affect a multitude of different stakeholders, so we need to use methods that can build a consensus or arbitrate between different sets of values. Some of the best practice methods for achieving this are quite unpopular with the stakeholders themselves. Open questions exist for government decisions: should the preferences be those of society? How do we measure these? How do we achieve consistency between different decisions? Deep uncertainty In decision analysis, we try to measure how well each possible solution performs against each objective. For engineering design problems, we can often build mathematical models that can predict quite precisely how an option will perform once implemented. However, when considering social policy, our current models of social processes are subject to much more uncertainty. We need to develop methods that can improve our quantitative understanding of social systems and also think more about how to integrate attitudes to risk, and the value of delaying a decision to reduce uncertainty, into trade-off analysis methods. Cognitive challenge In decision analysis, the aims are to provide support to the individuals tasked with making a decision and to help develop a shared understanding of the problem and its potential solutions. Communication of trade-offs is vital to these aims, and this task starts to become challenging as the number of objectives rises beyond three. If our predictions are precise, then visualisation methods are available – but when our predictions are uncertain then these current methods are of limited value.
- Operationalising inclusive growth: can malleable ideas survive metricised governance?. Public Administration.
- Behavioral stability of alcohol consumption and socio‐demographic correlates of change among a nationally representative cohort of US adults. Addiction.
- A synthetic population dataset for estimating small area health and socio-economic outcomes in Great Britain. Scientific Data, 9(1).
- An integrated dual process simulation model of alcohol use behaviours in individuals, with application to US population-level consumption, 1984-2012. Addictive Behaviors, 107094-107094.
- Commentary on Robinson et al. (2021): Evaluating theories of change for public health policies using computer model discovery methods. Addiction.
- Beyond behaviour: How health inequality theory can enhance our understanding of the ‘alcohol-harm paradox’. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(11).
- Causal mechanisms proposed for the Alcohol Harm Paradox - A Systematic Review.. Addiction (Abingdon, England).
- Liger : a cross-platform open-source integrated optimization and decision-making environment. Applied Soft Computing.
- Multiobjective genetic programming can improve the explanatory capabilities of mechanism-based models of social systems. Complexity, 2020. View this article in WRRO
- A software architecture for mechanism-based social systems modelling in agent-based simulation models. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 23(3). View this article in WRRO
- Expanding attributable fraction applications to outcomes wholly attributable to a risk factor. Statistical Methods in Medical Research. View this article in WRRO
- The normative underpinnings of population-level alcohol use: An individual-level simulation model. Health Education and Behavior. View this article in WRRO
- The SIPHER consortium : introducing the new UK hub for systems science in public health and health economic research. Wellcome Open Research, 4. View this article in WRRO
- Commentary on Apostolopoulos et al . (2018): Systems and complex systems approaches for public health planning-back to the future?. Addiction, 113(2), 372-373.
- Typology and Dynamics of Heavier Drinking Styles in Great Britain: 1978–2010. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 52(3), 372-381. View this article in WRRO
- Multiobjective optimization for interwoven systems. Journal of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, 24(1-2), 71-81. View this article in WRRO
- Gearbox design for uncertain load requirements using active robust optimization. Engineering Optimization, 48(4), 652-671. View this article in WRRO
- Developing policy analytics for public health strategy and decisions—the Sheffield alcohol policy model framework. Annals of Operations Research, 236(1), 149-176. View this article in WRRO
- The Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model - A Mathematical Description. Health Economics, 24(10), 1368-1388. View this article in WRRO
- Transition probabilities for four states of alcohol use in adolescence and young adulthood: what factors matter when?. Addiction, 110(8), 1272-1280. View this article in WRRO
- The iPICEA-g: a new hybrid evolutionary multi-criteria decision making approach using the brushing technique. European Journal of Operational Research, 243(2), 442-453. View this article in WRRO
- An analysis of parameter sensitivities of preference-inspired co-evolutionary algorithms. International Journal of Systems Science, 46(13), 2407-2420.
- Preference-inspired co-evolutionary algorithms using weight vectors. European Journal of Operational Research.
- Generalized decomposition and cross entropy methods for many-objective optimization. Information Sciences, 282, 363-387.
- What are the Implications for Policy Makers? A Systematic Review of the Cost-Effectiveness of Screening and Brief Interventions for Alcohol Misuse in Primary Care. Frontiers in Psychiatry. View this article in WRRO
- Effects of minimum unit pricing for alcohol on different income and socioeconomic groups: a modelling study.. Lancet, 383(9929), 1655-1664. View this article in WRRO
- Commentary on Nakamura et al. (2014): Alcohol policy appraisal and evaluation-to understand what is happening and why, we need better data on alcohol as a commodity.. Addiction, 109(4), 568-569.
- Estimation of own and cross price elasticities of alcohol demand in the UK--A pseudo-panel approach using the Living Costs and Food Survey 2001-2009.. J Health Econ, 34, 96-103. View this article in WRRO
- Active Robust Optimization: Enhancing Robustness to Uncertain Environments. IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics, 44(11), 2221-2231. View this article in WRRO
- Cost-effectiveness of a programme of screening and brief interventions for alcohol in primary care in Italy.. BMC Fam Pract, 15, 26. View this article in WRRO
- Evolutionary parameter estimation for a theory of planned behaviour microsimulation of alcohol consumption dynamics in an English birth cohort 2003 to 2010. Proceedings of the 2014 conference on Genetic and evolutionary computation - GECCO '14.
- An overview of population-based algorithms for multi-objective optimisation. International Journal of Systems Science. View this article in WRRO
- Reply to Klaus Makela's Cost-of-alcohol studies as a research programme. NORDIC STUDIES ON ALCOHOL AND DRUGS, 30(5), 445-447.
- Modelling the cost-effectiveness of alcohol screening and brief interventions in primary care in England.. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 48(2), 180-188.
- Adjusting for unrecorded consumption in survey and per capita sales data: quantification of impact on gender- and age-specific alcohol-attributable fractions for oral and pharyngeal cancers in Great Britain.. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 48(2), 241-249. View this article in WRRO
- Towards understanding the cost of adaptation in decomposition-based optimization algorithms. Proceedings - 2013 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, SMC 2013, 615-620.
- General framework for localised multi-objective evolutionary algorithms. Information Sciences.
- Estimated effect of alcohol pricing policies on health and health economic outcomes in England: an epidemiological model.. Lancet, 375(9723), 1355-1364.
- Policy options for alcohol price regulation: the importance of modelling population heterogeneity.. Addiction, 105(3), 383-393. View this article in WRRO
- Policy options for alcohol price regulation: response to the commentaries.. Addiction, 105(3), 400-401.
- On the. evolutionary optimization of many conflicting objectives. IEEE T EVOLUT COMPUT, 11(6), 770-784. View this article in WRRO
- Evolutionary algorithms in control systems engineering: a survey. CONTROL ENG PRACT, 10(11), 1223-1241.
- Evolutionary Computing: Opportunities for Control Engineers. IFAC Proceedings Volumes, 34(22), 14-25.
- Methods for constrained optimization of expensive mixed-integer multi-objective problems, with application to an internal combustion engine design problem. European Journal of Operational Research.
- Agile Development of an Attitude-Behaviour Driven Simulation of Alcohol Consumption Dynamics. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 18(3). View this article in WRRO
- Introducing CASCADEPOP: an open-source sociodemographic simulation platform for US health policy appraisal. International Journal of Microsimulation, 13(2), 21-60.
- Impact of body mass and alcohol consumption on all‐cause and liver mortality in 240 000 adults in the United States. Drug and Alcohol Review.
- The role of alcohol use in the aetiology and progression of liver disease: A narrative review and a quantification. Drug and Alcohol Review.
- Causality and initiation of alcohol control policy. A response to Allamani. Drug and Alcohol Review.
- sParEGO – A Hybrid Optimization Algorithm for Expensive Uncertain Multi-objective Optimization Problems, Lecture Notes in Computer Science (pp. 424-438). Springer International Publishing
- Improving the pharmaceutical R&D process: how simulation can support management decision making., Computer Applications in Pharmaceutical Research and Development (pp. 247-273).
Conference proceedings papers
- Toward scalable benchmark problems for multi-objective multidisciplinary optimization. 2022 IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence (SSCI), 4 December 2022 - 7 December 2022.
- Simulation-based engineering design: solving parameter inference and multi-objective optimization problems on a shared simulation budget*. 2021 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC), 17 October 2021 - 20 October 2021.
- Component-based design of multi-objective evolutionary algorithms using the Tigon optimization library. GECCO '21: Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference Companion (pp 1531-1539). Lille, France, 10 July 2021 - 14 July 2021. View this article in WRRO
- Using Multi-objective Grammar-Based Genetic Programming to Integrate Multiple Social Theories in Agent-Based Modeling (pp 721-733) View this article in WRRO
- Ethical Considerations for a Decision Making System for Autonomous Vehicles During an Inevitable Collision. 2020 28th Mediterranean Conference on Control and Automation (MED), 15 September 2020 - 18 September 2020.
- Toward a unified framework for model calibration and optimisation in virtual engineering workflows. 2019 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics (SMC) (pp 2148-2153). Bari, Italy, 6 October 2019 - 9 October 2019. View this article in WRRO
- Toward inverse generative social science using multi-objective genetic programming. Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference
- ALCOHOL POLICY MODELING USING THEORY - A NEW COMPUTATIONAL PLATFORM FOR DEVELOPING MECHANISM-BASED EXPLANATORY MODELS. ALCOHOLISM-CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH, Vol. 43 (pp 142A-142A)
- SYNTHESIZING THE RATIONAL ADDICTION AND MYOPIC CHOICE ECONOMIC MODELS TO EXPLAIN POPULATION ALCOHOL USE AND UNDERSTAND PRICING POLICIES: AN AGENT-BASED SIMULATION. ALCOHOLISM-CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH, Vol. 43 (pp 141A-141A)
- Component-level study of a decomposition-based multi-objective optimizer on a limited evaluation budget. Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO 2018) (pp 689-696), 15 July 2018 - 19 July 2018. View this article in WRRO
- Collaborative Multi-Objective Optimization for Distributed Design of Complex Products. Proceedings of GECCO '18, 15 July 2018 - 19 July 2018. View this article in WRRO
- MODELING SOCIAL NETWORK SELECTION AND INFLUENCE MECHANISMS ON ALCOHOL USE AT LARGE SCALE: AN EXPLORATORY AGENT-BASED MODEL. ALCOHOLISM-CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH, Vol. 42 (pp 331A-331A)
- A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK FOR MODELING ALCOHOL USE DYNAMICS OVER OPULATION HEALTH TIME HORIZONS. ALCOHOLISM-CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH, Vol. 42 (pp 331A-331A)
- PLATFORM FOR CALIBRATED, SYSTEM-BASED MODELS OF ALCOHOL USE DYNAMICS. ALCOHOLISM-CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH, Vol. 42 (pp 331A-331A)
- Workshops at PPSN 2018 (pp 490-497)
- TOWARD A DYNAMIC ALCOHOL POLICY MODEL FOR APPRAISAL OF POPULATION-LEVEL INTERVENTIONS. ALCOHOLISM-CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH, Vol. 41 (pp 330A-330A)
- On the effect of scalarising norm choice in a ParEGO implementation. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 10173 (pp 1-15) View this article in WRRO
- A Toolkit for Generating Scalable Stochastic Multiobjective Test Problems. Proceedings of the 2016 on Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (pp 597-604). New York View this article in WRRO
- A value- ocussed decision framework for manufacturing research environments. Advances in Transdisciplinary Engineering, Vol. 4 (pp 662-671)
- An Evolutionary Approach to Active Robust Multiobjective Optimisation (pp 141-155) View this article in WRRO
- A review of hybrid evolutionary multiple criteria decision making methods. 2014 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC), 6 July 2014 - 11 July 2014.
- Real-Time Improved Power Management for Autonomous Systems. IFAC Proceedings Volumes, Vol. 47(3) (pp 2634-2639)
- Minimum unit pricing for alcohol: policy appraisal modelling of income and socioeconomic group-specific effects on consumption, spending, and health harms. The Lancet, Vol. 382 (pp S47-S47)
- Preference-Inspired co-evolutionary algorithm using weights for many-objective optimization. GECCO 2013 - Proceedings of the 2013 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference Companion (pp 101-102)
- Preference-inspired coevolutionary algorithms for many-objective optimization. IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, Vol. 17(4) (pp 474-494)
- Preference-inspired co-evolutionary algorithm using adaptively generated goal vectors. 2013 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation, CEC 2013 (pp 916-923)
- On Finding Well-Spread Pareto Optimal Solutions by Preference-inspired Co-evolutionary Algorithm. GECCO'13: PROCEEDINGS OF THE 2013 GENETIC AND EVOLUTIONARY COMPUTATION CONFERENCE (pp 695-702)
- "Whatever works best for you" - A new method for a priori and progressive multi-objective optimisation. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), Vol. 7811 LNCS (pp 337-351)
- Multi-objective optimisation for social cost benefit analysis: An allegory. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), Vol. 7811 LNCS (pp 726-740) View this article in WRRO
- Generalized decomposition. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), Vol. 7811 LNCS (pp 428-442)
- Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics): Preface. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), Vol. 7811 LNCS
- Optimization of adaptation - A multi-objective approach for optimizing changes to design parameters. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), Vol. 7811 LNCS (pp 21-35) View this article in WRRO
- A multiobjective evolutionary algorithm for the 2D Guillotine Strip Packing Problem. 2012 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation, CEC 2012
- Gas turbine fuel valve diagnostics. IEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings
- Local preference-inspired co-evolutionary algorithms. GECCO'12 - Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Genetic and Evolutionary Computation (pp 513-520)
- Preference-driven co-evolutionary algorithms show promise for many-objective optimisation. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), Vol. 6576 LNCS (pp 136-150)
- MODELLING GENERAL AND TARGETED PRICE POLICY OPTIONS: ESTIMATION OF EFFECTS ON DIFFERENT SUBGROUPS OF THE POPULATION. ALCOHOLISM-CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH, Vol. 34(6) (pp 251A-251A)
- Many-objective optimization: An engineering design perspective. EVOLUTIONARY MULTI-CRITERION OPTIMIZATION, Vol. 3410 (pp 14-32)
- Evolutionary many-objective optimisation: An exploratory analysis. CEC: 2003 CONGRESS ON EVOLUTIONARY COMPUTATION, VOLS 1-4, PROCEEDINGS (pp 2066-2073)
- Conflict, harmony, and independence: Relationships in evolutionary multi-criterion optimisation. EVOLUTIONARY MULTI-CRITERION OPTIMIZATION, PROCEEDINGS, Vol. 2632 (pp 16-30)
- Adaptive divide-and-conquer methodology for evolutionary multi-criterion optimisation. EVOLUTIONARY MULTI-CRITERION OPTIMIZATION, PROCEEDINGS, Vol. 2632 (pp 133-147)
- Why Use Elitism And Sharing In A Multi-objective Genetic Algorithm?. GECCO (pp 520-527)
- Evolutionary computing: Opportunities for control. NEW TECHNOLOGIES FOR COMPUTER CONTROL 2001 (pp 21-32)
- View this article in WRRO Active Robust Optimization - Enhancing Robustness to Uncertain Environments
Developing a proof-of-concept agent-based model of the relationship between food advertising and food choices in England, RCUK, 09/2022 - 03/2023, £24,990, as Co-PI
Targeting multiple levels of ‘the smoking cessation system’ using novel scientific approaches, CRUK, 04/2022 - 03/2027, £531,098, as PI
Intervention development for community-based self-referred social prescribing, RCUK, 06/2021 - 11/2022, £181,653, as Co-PI
A microsimulation of alcohol control interventions to advance health equity and
reverse the current decrease in life expectancy in the US, NIH, 10/2020 - 09/2025, $332,505, as sub award PI
System-science Informed Public Health and Economic Research for Non-communicable Disease Prevention (the SIPHER Consortium), 09/2019 - 09/2024, £6,926,749, as co-PI
SIPHER – Systems science in Public health and Health Economic Research, Research England, 04/2021 - 03/2022, as PI
Many-objective Optimisation Pilot Project, Industrial, 10/2018 - 05/2019, £64,720, as PI
Consortium Developmental Grant, UK Prevention Research Partnership, 07/2018 - 11/2018, £46,105, as Co-I
DYNAMO: DYNamic Analysis Modelling and Optimisation of GDI Engines, 04/2018 - 06/2021, £401,252, as PI
Liger - an Open-source Integrated Optimisation Environment, Digital Engineering and Test Centre, 01/2018 - 05/2019, £60,000, as PI
CASCADE: Calibrated Agent Simulations for Combined Analysis of Drinking Etiologies, NIAAA, 08/2016 - 04/2022, $2,313,250, as PI
Optimization for robust design: Integrating model-based systems engineering with multi-criteria decision-making support in a distributed framework, EPSRC, 05/2014 - 05/2018, £1,074,429, as co-PI
ASUR hybrid power packs, Industrial, 10/2013 - 03/2014, £29,991, as PI
Value-based Bayesian sequential analysis for fault monitoring, EPSRC, 01/2013 - 08/2014, £18,099, as co-PI
Complex systems modelling of alcohol consumption dynamics in the British population, ESRC, 10/2012 - 09/2014, £173,428, as PI
Alcohol policy modelling and evaluation, MRC, 11/2010 - 10/2013, £1,034,163, as co-PI
- Teaching activities
ACS125 Systems Modelling and Simulation
Jointly led by George Panoutsos and Robin Purshouse, this module aims to provide students with an introductory systems perspective on both the science and art of mathematical modelling. Robin provides an introduction to discrete, stochastic and hybrid systems in the Spring Semester. The module motivates the need for mathematical modelling through a series of six major case studies, spread throughout the academic year. A diverse range of systems is considered, with the Spring Semester focusing on the pharmacoeconomics of HIV treatment options, the effect of environmental variability on an automotive suspension system, and the digital control of a hydraulic extrusion press.
ACS108 Laboratory and Professional Skills
Robin leads on the Employability Theme within this wider module on professional and laboratory skills taught by the Level 1 team at ACSE. Within the theme, through a series on engagements spread across the academic year, students are encouraged to reflect on the competencies needed to be professional systems engineers and active citizens. Our current industrial guest speakers on the module are Marion Carrabin from Transport for London and Luke Creasey from Iconsys.