Tell us a little bit about you and your work.

I hold a degree in computer science and a Ph.D. in the theoretical foundations of artificial immune systems from my time at the Technical University of Dortmund, Germany. After a PostDoc year at the University of Warwick and a fellowship at the University of Birmingham, I transferred to Aberystwyth University to become a senior lecturer in computer science. My work here involves teaching various modules related to algorithm design, data structures and artificial intelligence, as well as research on theory and applications of randomised search heuristics, an artificial intelligence method rooted in search, optimisation and algorithmics.

Tell us more about the Evostar event.

Evostar is the leading European Event on BioInspired Computation coordinated by SPECIES, the Society for the Promotion of Evolutionary Computation in Europe and its Surroundings. The Evostar event is held annually across major European destinations since its inauguration in Paris in 1998 and only previously held twice in the UK, the last time being in 2003.

In 2023 the Department of Computer Science at Aberystwyth University was announced as the 2024 host destination of the 27th edition of Evostar from 3-5 April 2024, which consisted of the below sub conferences;

  • EuroGP 27th European Conference on Genetic Programming,
  • EvoApplications 27th European Conference on the Applications of Evolutionary and bio-inspired Computation,
  • EvoCOP 24th European Conference on Evolutionary Computation in Combinatorial Optimisation,
  • EvoMUSART 13th International Conference (and 18th European event) on Evolutionary and Biologically Inspired Music, Sound, Art and Design

In addition the Computational Intelligence in Art and Design Exhibition, based around artworks presented at EvoMUSART over the last twenty years was also included as part of the event and Aberystwyth Arts Centre was chosen as the host to run this in the main foyer between 1-7 April 2024.

The programme at Aberystwyth University included a total 62 full paper and 21 short paper/poster presentations, selected from 184 submissions which underwent a rigorous peer-reviewing process.

There were two keynotes from Prof Jon Timmis, Vice Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, and Prof Sabine Hauert, University of Bristol. 

The conference was elevated further with a special hybrid award session “A coffee with Hod Lipson & Dario Floreano” featuring Julian F. Miller award winners (Prof Hod Lipson, Columbia University, USA, and Prof Dario Floreano, EPFL, Switzerland), which is awarded annually by SPECIES.

Discussions and networking were also considered and we included a student welcome reception, a student workshop, poster session and conference reception, as well as a conference dinner in the Arts Centre Great Hall.

Evostar 2024 conference evening dinner
Evostar 2024 event delegates and speakers in Aberystwyth

Evostar 2024, Aberystwyth 

What support did you have to organise this event and how do you feel the success of the event can be measured ? 

Organising the conference was a true honour and a true team effort. I could not have wished for better support by the university teams and my PhD students involved.

We had originally planned with 120 in-person participants (plus a small number of online attendees), so having more than 150 in-person attendees came as a big but fantastic surprise. Welcoming world-leading researchers from all over the globe including South Africa, Singapore, Taiwan, Canada, Mexico, United States, Australia, New Zealand and 17 European countries to this beautiful part of the world clearly exceeded our expectations.

You champion Wales on a world stage, why is that important to you personally? 

I was thrilled when I was asked to organise the conference, putting Aberystwyth and Wales on the map by hosting Evostar 2024. Highlighting our facilities and research is key to a successful conference, but incorporating Welsh culture and cuisine was equally crucial to me to provide a sense of place and memorable experience. It was amazing to see such an interest in the research area as well as a desire to visit our country and discover our culture, heritage and history."

Dr Zarges  goes on to explain "we offered Welsh-themed menus during the conference reception, dinner, and selected lunches and coffee breaks. The optional social event post-conference featured a brief guided tour of the National Library of Wales, a stroll through the town and along the promenade, taking in Constitution Hill, and concluded with an Aberystwyth tradition to kick the bar railing at the end of the promenade with both feet, which is said to bring luck to anyone who does this, ensured a fun and memorable experience that would encourage attendance at future events and hopefully many repeat leisure visits to Wales."


You can contact Aberystwyth University  by email: 

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