Joel Peter William Pitt
PhD, BSc (Hons.)
Joel is a multidisciplinary scientist who has contributed to the fields of bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, and ecology. His Ph.D. (from Lincoln University, New Zealand) involved the development of a spatially explicit stochastic simulation model for investigating large-scale spread of invasive species across real landscapes. Joel obtained his B.Sc. with first class Honours from the University of Canterbury where he majored in computational biology and artificial intelligence. During his study he also facilitated the research of several colleagues by applying artificial neural network categorisation and classification to ecological data, and by developing novel search algorithms for micro-satellite DNA sequences.
In 2008, Joel started contract research and development on the OpenCog open source AGI platform for The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence. He also constructed country-wide ecological simulations for a government research institute in New Zealand.
He is currently the CTO for a profitable startup, Demand Analytics, which provides a global perspective on online commerce.
Years of experience in a variety of programming languages. In order of current familiarity: Python, C++, Java, C, among others. Extremely interested in working with Haskell or Erlang in a commercial context.
Scripting experience to manage and manipulate large amounts of biological and geographic data.
Experience with, and knowledge about, a variety of NoSQL databases. Most familiar with administering and tuning MongoDB, but currently leaning towards Cassandra and Riak for future projects.
Can do attitude – I care about getting things done, I’m the guy that prefers to just do it than talk about doing it.
A quick and independent learner – years of PhD research and solo contracting means I’m used to managing my time without supervision.
Excellent written and personal communication skills for presentations and assisting others in understanding difficult concepts.
2011-current – Chief Technical Officer for Demand Analytics.
2010-2011 – Team lead for research project developing next-generation intelligent video game characters. Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
2010 – Board of directors for Humanity+ (formerly World Transhumanist Association).
2009-2010 – Django development contract for Atomic Droplet.
2009 – Faculty at first International Summer School for AGI at Xiamen University. July 2009.
2008 to 2009 – Contract work for Singularity Institute of Artificial Intelligence on the open-source integrative artificial general intelligence platform, OpenCog).
2008 to present – Contract work for AgResearch New Zealand. Modelling weed spread for the Beating Weeds FRST contract.
2003-2007 – Computational biology consultant – Implementing various automated computer systems to assist researchers at Lincoln University and the University of Canterbury.
2003 – Laboratory Researcher – DNA extraction and sequencing. The University of Canterbury Genetics Laboratory, headed by Neil Gemmell.
2004-2007 – PhD in Ecoinformatics, Lincoln University, New Zealand
2000-2003 – Bachelor of Science (First Class honours) – Major in Computer Science/Molecular Biology, The University of Canterbury, New Zealand.
Highly Commended in RSNZ Emerging Scientist Poster Competition.
Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) Travel Scholarship for the Winter School in Mathematics and Computational Biology.
National Centre for Advanced Bio-protection Technologies PhD studentship.
Open source projects – Joel has worked on a variety of open-source projects beyond OpenCog. These projects include several he initiated (AGISIM, Modular Dispersal in GIS, RepeatFinder), and others that he’s made various contributions to (NATOW, GRASS).
Adopt-a-scientist – Helping Year 10 and 11 school students with research projects. In 2007 Joel mentored a student on creating autonomous lego robots.
DJ – Joel has played at a variety of music festivals and dance parties, as well coordinating club events himself.
List of Publications:
- Pitt, J. P. W. (2008). PhD thesis. Modelling the spread of invasive species across heterogeneous landscapes. Lincoln University.
- Pitt, J. P. W. (2003). Honours thesis. Feature selection applied to classification of cancerous tissue. University of Canterbury.
b) Journal articles:
- Pitt, J. P. W., Kriticos, D., and Dodd, M. (submitted) Limits to simulating the future spread of invasive species: Buddleja davidii in New Zealand. Ecological Modelling.
- Núria Roura-Pascuala et al. (2011) Relative roles of climatic suitability and anthropogenic inﬂuence in determining the pattern of spread in a global invader. PNAS.
- B. Goertzel, J. Pitt, M. Ikle, C. Pennachin, L. Rui (2010) Glocal memory: A critical design principle for artificial brains and minds. Neurocomputing DOI 10.1016/j.neucom.2009.10.033.
- Pitt, J. P. W., S. P. Worner, and A.V. Suarez (2009) Predicting Argentine ant spread over the heterogeneous landscape using a spatially-explicit stochastic model. Ecological Applications Vol. 19, No. 5, pp. 1176-1186
- Pitt, J. P. W., Régnière, J and S. P. Worner (2007). Risk assessment of Gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar (L), in New Zealand based on phenology modelling. Int J Biometeorol 51:295–305. DOI 10.1007/s00484-006-0066-3
- Bagshaw, A., Pitt, J.P.W., Gemmell, N.J. (2008). High frequency of microsatellites in S. cerevisiae meiotic recombination hotspots. BMC Genomics 9:49 doi:10.1186/1471-2164-9-49
- Gevrey, M., S. Worner, N. Kasabov, J. Pitt and J. Giraudel (2006). Estimating risk of events using SOM models: A case study on invasive species establishment. Ecological Modelling, Volume 197(3-4) pp 361-372
- Bagshaw, A., Pitt, J.P.W., Gemmell, N.J. (2006). Association of poly-purine/poly-pyrimidine sequences with meiotic recombination hot spots. BMC Genomics 2006, 7:179, doi:10.1186/1471-2164-7-179
c) Refereed conference proceedings:
- Goertzel, Ben, Hugo de Garis, Cassio Pennachin, Nil Geisweiller, Samir Araujo ,Joel Pitt, Shuo Chen, Ruiting Lian, Min Jiang, Ye Yang, Deheng Huang (2010). OpenCogBot: Achieving Generally Intelligent Virtual Agent Control and Humanoid Robotics via Cognitive Synergy. Proceeedings of ICAI 2010, Beijing.
- Ikle, M., J. Pitt, B. Goertzel, and G. Sellmann (2009) Economic Attention Networks: Associative Memory and Resource Allocation for General Intelligence. Proceedings of AGI-09
- Worner, S. P., Watts, M., Gevrey, M. and Pitt, J. (2005) Neuro-computing methods as aids to assessing the invasion potential of alien insects. Proceedings IX International Congress of Ecology, August 7-12 2005, Montreal, Canada
- Pitt, J. P. W. (2006) Effect of raster resolution on species dispersal simulations in GIS. International Conference for Ecological Modelling, 2006 proceedings.
- Peacock, L., S. Worner, and J. Pitt (2007) The application of artificial neural networks in plant protection. Bulletin OEPP/EPPO Bulletin 37 pp 277-282. Presented at EPPO conference on Computer aids for plant protection, Wageningen, Netherlands, 17-19 October 2006.
- Pitt, J. P. W. and Worner, S. P. (2006) Overview of a large-scale model infrastructure for invasive species dispersal simulation. International Conference for Ecological Modelling, 2006 proceedings.
- Pitt, J. and Worner, S. (2007) Modelling invasive species spread with stochastic, high resolution, spatially explicit dispersal models integrated within GIS. APHIS Science Panel on Pest Risk Mapping, Fort Collins, Colorado, June 5-7 2007.
- Pitt, J. P. W. (2007) Simulating the invasion history of Argentine ant with modular dispersal in GIS. New Zealand Entomological Society Conference 2007.
- Pitt, J. P. W. and Worner, S. (2008) Merging habitat suitability and dispersal to model the spread of an invasive insect over a heterogeneous landscape. New Zealand Entomological Society Conference 2008.
- Worner, S.P., M. J. Watts, J.P.W. Pitt and M. Gevrey (2008). Being prepared: ecological informatics and computational intelligence methods applied to invasive insect risk assessment. International Congress of Entomology July 6-12, 2008.
- Outlook Magazine (2006) “Centre attracts postgraduates from around the world.” Lincoln University, New Zealand.