At Michigan State University, I am a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and of Mechanical Engineering and of Computer Science and Engineering. I am the executive director (and was founding director) of BEACON: An NSF Center for the Study of Evolution in Action, headquartered at MSU (see article below and the very informative BEACON site at http://beacon-center.org/ . I also co-directed MSU's Genetic Algorithms Research and Applications Group (GARAGe) , which is administered jointly by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. In February, 2007, I was awarded the university's highest teaching award, the Alumni Club of Mid-Michigan Quality in Undergraduate Teaching Award (pictured on right with MSU President Lou Anna Kimsey Simon), followed in 2009 by the Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year Award (from the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan) (see below).
Under a subcontract from Siemens to a grant from DARPA, we were challenged to develop a method for determining an optimal (or near-optimal) distribution of propellants for a solid-fuel rocket, given that multiple propellants with different reference burn rates were available to place in different locations of the rocket. Such arrangements might become manufacturable in the future if such propellants could be "printed" with some sort of additive manufacturing process. The challenge was to develop an optimizer capable of solving such a problem and meeting a specified thrust profile within tight constraints at each timestep during the burn (every 25ms, for example), while burning for the maximum feasible time and with all parts of the grain burning out simultaneously (thus cutting the need for carrying extra insulation, subtracting from payload). Because NASA or DARPA did not initially furnish suitable simulation code, I also wrote a simulator based on the simple, but commonly used, equations that describe the burn. NASA eventually provided simulation code based on the same equations, but it was a general-purpose, level-set-based combustion model that executed many orders of magnitude more slowly than the geometry-specific simulator I had developed, so I continue developing and using my own. Clearly, my goal was not to develop a simulator, but to develop the optimizer that called the simulator to evaluate each grain design, but the simulator development was needed to make the search computationally practical.
After the end of the contract and delivery of our results to date, I have continued to work on the optimizer, as simply the most intriguing and challenging optimization problem I have yet encountered. When I have settled on a final optimization code, I plan to run it multiple times (to gain statistical confidence in the results) under various knockout conditions (i.e., turning off particular optimization components) to determine which provide the most benefit, then to write a paper about those results (if I still feel like it in my retirement). Along the way, I also invented a technology for avoiding premature burnout at the junction of two heterogeneous cylindrical segments, but patenting is not being pursued because the technology is not yet implementable (i.e., rocket propellants cannot be 3-D printed), so the university believes no one would license it.
In December, 2016, BEACON, MSU's College of Engineering, and Michigan State University were delighted to announce that Dr. John R. Koza, had made the largest individual bequest ever to BEACON and MSU's College of Engineering, totalling $10.7 million. That bequest was above and beyond the earlier gift of $2 million given by Koza to establish the John R. Koza Endowed Chair in Genetic Programming, now held by Prof. Wolfgang Banzhaf. All of us at BEACON are deeply indebted to Dr. Koza, who will leave a legacy at MSU including three endowed chairs, endowed graduate fellowships, and endowed support for many of the field's leading professional activities. As the Father of Genetic Programming, he is indeed assuring the continued thriving of this exciting field.
The 22-minute MSU Today video that documents our first year's activity is here: Tanzania Student Project Video from Big Ten Network!
An 8-minute version of that video is also available at Short Tanzania Video.
The new 2017 video by Study Abroad student Brian Cooper is HERE.
In 2016, control of Red Cedar Technology, Inc., the process automation/optimization company co-founded by Erik Goodman and Ron Averill in 1999, passed to the German giant, Siemens. This happened when Siemens bought CD Adapco, the CFD-oriented company that acquired Red Cedar Technology in 2013. I have not been active in Red Cedar since 2010, when BEACON Center was founded and my duties as director required that I resign as Red Cedar's VP for Technology, and I no longer have any financial connections with the company. But I am nonetheless delighted to learn that Red Cedar's HEEDS and its key optimization algorithm SHERPA have become among the world's best-selling design optimization tools.
In August, 2015, the National Science Foundation extended BEACON's funding through 2020, allocating an additional $22.5 million to the center. BEACON, which now has over 600 members, continues to thrive, producing hundreds of papers, dozens of additional grants, and many new Ph.D.'s each year. For more information, visit http://beacon-center.org.
The National Science Foundation
announced in February, 2010, that Michigan State University has been awarded one of five
new highly-coveted Science and Technology Centers, to be called BEACON, an NSF Science & Technology
Center for the Study of Evolution in Action. The initial award is $25 million for
five years, and the center funding began on August 1, 2010, renewable once for an additional $25 million.
BEACON will conduct research on
fundamental evolutionary dynamics in both natural and artificial systems,
educate a generation of multi-disciplinary scientists in these methods, and will
improve public understanding of evolution at all levels. BEACON will focus on evolution as an ongoing process, in organisms in the
laboratory (bacteria, yeast, viruses, etc.), in the field, and with digital
organisms undergoing evolution in the computer. It will be directed by Erik D. Goodman,
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and will involve more than
more than thirty faculty researchers at MSU, most in the Colleges of Engineering
and Natural Science. Four universities and more thirty
additional biologists, engineers and computers scientists will partner with MSU
in BEACON, from The NSF press release announcing all five new Science
and Technology Centers is at:
The NSF press release announcing all five new Science and Technology Centers is at:
The selection of five new centers by NSF took two years, from submission of hundreds of pre-proposals in 2008, through 43 full proposals submitted in April, 2009, and NSF site visits to eleven finalists last fall. The BEACON team, nearly 70 investigators, collaborated to generate the plans for the center. As the lead institution, MSU made major commitments of space and other resources to BEACON, and the partner universities have also pledged extensive support. BEACON will be headquartered in MSU's Biomedical Physical Sciences Building, in space being remodeled for use by BEACON and iCER, the Institute for Cyber-Enabled Research, for which BEACON is the biggest customer. As Goodman, a long-time researcher and practitioner of engineering applications of evolutionary computation, says, "BEACON is multidisciplinary to its core, and in addition to making discoveries in basic science and applications, will prepare a new generation of researchers with the insight that comes from first-hand experimentation with evolution in the lab and in the computer. Recognizing the commonality of evolutionary dynamics in both contexts will enable studies and applications that could not be done in isolation in either biology or engineering." The backgrounds of the four co-principal investigators in BEACON reinforce its multidisciplinary character. Richard Lenski, Hannah Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and member of the National Academy of Sciences, has been studying evolution of E. coli bacteria for twenty years (50,000 generations), with regular freezing of samples allowing him to trace mutations backward in time to pinpoint when they occurred and to explore alternative paths from ancestors. Charles Ofria, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, is the author of the Avida software system for evolution of digital organisms in the computer. His digital organisms self-replicate in the computer, producing (sometimes mutated) copies of themselves and competing for resources. Kay Holekamp, Professor of Zoology and director of the interdisciplinary program in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior, studies evolution of behavior and morphology among spotted hyenas in Kenya. Robert Pennock, Professor of Philosophy and in Lyman Briggs College, studies evolution and leads a team creating software to allow students to experiment with digital evolution.
MSU learned in August, 2009, that a joint proposal from Goodman (College of Engineering), Johannes Bauer and Kurt DeMaagd, of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, was funded at about $600,000 over three years. The project, under NSF�s Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation Program, will use agent-based modeling of the telecommunications infrastructure to first develop a model that seeks to reflect adequately many aspects of the market- and regulation-driven dynamics of the telecommunications industry. Evolutionary computation will be used in two ways: 1) in this first stage, to help to find the best structure and parameters to capture the dynamics of this complex system, and 2) in the subsequent stage, to search the space of possible regulatory mechanisms, seeking those that produce the DESIRED emergent properties of this complex system. In the past, many regulatory actions have, in fact, produced effects almost directly opposite to those desired. The goal here is to capture enough of the underlying relationships among the many agents (companies, agencies, market sectors, etc.) that the results of a particular regulatory change can be gauged well enough to allow search for good combinations of regulations to move the infrastructure in desired directions. Goodman will provide expertise in evolutionary computation, and Bauer and DeMaagd are experts in telecommunications policy and modeling of the telecommunications infrastructure.
Then, on May 14, 2009, I was honored as one of three winners of Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year, by the Presidents Council of the State Universities of Michigan. Michigan's fifteen state colleges and universities annually nominate one faculty member each for the award, and the selection committee picks three to receive the honor. The awards were presented by the President's Council at a banquet at the Radisson Hotel in Lansing.
I received the Ph.D. in Computer and Communication Sciences from the University of Michigan in 1972, where I was a member of the Logic of Computers Group, in which John Holland pioneered the development of genetic algorithms. My major professor was Bernie Ziegler, an expert on the theory of simulation and on automata theory. In my dissertation research, I developed a genetic algorithm (using a floating point representation and Gaussian mutation operator) to parameterize a model of the metabolism of a bacterial cell undergoing nutritional shifts, and a simple model, using a cellular automaton, of a bacterial cell colony based upon these cells. To my knowledge, solving for those metabolic rate constants was the first use of a genetic algorithm to solve an actual hard problem (i.e., one for which the solution was wanted, not just a study of the GA on a test problem). It ran about a year (calendar time) and over half a year (CPU time) on an IBM 1800 computer (first at UM, then at MSU).
In the 1970's, I developed and taught a course sequence in systems ecology, training hundreds of graduate biology students (and 22 visiting faculty members) in computational and state modeling techniques for biological systems, then working with them in small teams of engineers and biologists to model systems of interest to them. My research was largely funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, and included models of pesticide fate and effects in both aquatic and terrestrial environments.
In the 1980's and 1990's, I directed the A. H. Case Center for Computer-Aided Engineering and Manufacturing, doing research on CAD/CAM/CAE largely funded by industry. In the 90's, I directed the MSU Manufacturing Research Consortium, which conducted industrially sponsored research. My own research primarily involved using genetic algorithms and genetic programming to address engineering problems. I became very active in the evolutionary computation professional community.
From 2002-2010, I taught the Senior Capstone Design course in Electrical and Computer Engineering, ECE 480, (http://www.egr.msu.edu/classes/ece480/goodman). I have recently also taught the junior-level course in Professionalism and Ethics, ECE 390. In even-numbered years 2000-2008, I co-taught a graduate course in evolutionary computation. I am developing an undergraduate specialization in Information and Communication Technology for Development (beginning in Africa). I chaired the department's Undergraduate Studies Committee for several years, until 2010. For more information on my teaching and instructional development activities, click on Teaching and on International Activities.
My research deals primarily with developing new ways of using evolutionary computation to solve problems in engineering design (see Research). In 1999, my research colleague, Prof. Ron Averill, and I founded a spinoff company, Red Cedar Technology) to make our design automation technology available to industry.
My research has also included funded work to develop methods to allow teams of engineering students (and, ultimately, engineers) distributed around the world to collaborate more effectively in solving engineering design problems. For more information on that topic, see International Activities.
I chaired the first evolutionary computation conference held in Russia, "EvCA'96" at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow. I was more recently co-General Chair of the 2009 World Summit on Genetic and Evolutionary Computation, Shanghai, China. For my Intro to Genetic Algorithms tutorial slides, see here.
After chairing the executive committee of the International Society for Genetic and Evolutionary Computation, 2002-2005, I became the founding chair of ACM's Special Interest Group for Genetic and Evolutionary Computation, SIGEVO, in 2005. I continued as a member of that group's Executive Committee through 2021, and now sit on its Advisory Board. In 2023, I (along with the other original ISGEC Fellows) received the SIGEVO Outstanding Contributions Award, at GECCO in Lisbon..
For detailed biographical information, visit the Biographical Info tab, where a 2-page resume and a full CV are available.
E-Mail Address: email@example.com
(My name is sometimes misspelled as Eric Goodman.)