picture of James

Reader in Computational Biology
Computational Biology Group
Department of Computer Science
University of Sheffield
Regent Court / Kroto Research Institute
Twitter: @DrJimminy

I joined the University of Sheffield on October 1st 2010, moving from the Department of Computer Science, University of Bristol. I head the Behavioural and Evolutionary Theory Lab, and am affiliated with the Evolution and Behaviour Research Group in the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences.

selected publications » ResearchGate profile »

Research Interests

Biologically-Inspired Algorithms, Cognitive Behaviour, Decision Theory, Evolutionary Theory, Mathematical Biology, Social Evolution, Social Insect Behaviour

Research Projects

Previous Research Projects:

Academic Service

  • Academic Editor - PLoS ONE - September 2009 - present
  • Associate Editor Frontiers in Behavioral and Evolutionary Ecology - November 2013 - present
  • EPSRC Peer Review College Member - April 2010 to March 2014
  • Proposal Reviewer - BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, NERC, NSF, Royal Society, McDonnell Foundation
  • Paper Reviewer- (invitations from over 20 journals including) American Naturalist, Behavioral Ecology, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Current Biology, Ecology Letters, Journal of Animal Ecology, Journal of Theoretical Biology, Nature Communications, PLoS Computational Biology, PLoS one, Physica A, Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, Science, Theoretical Population Biology, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, ...

Invited Talks at International Meetings and Schools

  • Green Brain: Computational Modelling of the Honeybee Brain. November 18th 2014. Second Workshop on Biological Distributed Algorithms (28th International Symposium on Distributed Computing), Austin TX.
  • From House-Hunting Honeybees to Neural Models and Psychophysics. October 11th 2014. Social Insects as Models for Biological Complexity symposium, 2014 Entomological Society of America Meeting, Portland OR.
  • Green Brain: Computational Modelling of the Honeybee Brain. July 21st 2014. Workshop on Honeybee Neuroscience, McQuarie University, Sydney.
  • Honeybees and Value-Sensitive Decision-Making. May 28th 2014. Fourth International Symposium on Biology of Decision-Making, École Normale Supérieure / Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Épinière, Paris.
  • Green Brain: Computational Modelling of the Honeybee Brain. May 20th 2014. Workshop on Invertebrate Cognition, Queen Mary University London.
  • From House-Hunting Honeybees to Weber's Law and Speed-Accuracy Trade-Offs. April 3rd 2014. Groningen Lecture in Theoretical Biology, University of Groningen.
  • A Mechanism for Value-Sensitive Decision-Making. May 3rd 2013. Decision Making in Nature Workshop, Imperial College London.
  • Cross-Inhibition Improves Activity Selection. December 19th 2012. Modelling Animal Decisions Meeting, Wells.
  • Genetic Relatedness is Essential for the Evolution of Altruism. September 21st 2012. 16th Meeting on Evolutionary Biology, Marseille.
  • Optimality Theory and Voting Processes. June 28th 2012. Interdisciplinary Workshop on Collective Decisions, Paris School of Economics.
  • Optimal Collective Decision-Making in Honeybees: Novel Insights for Psychology and Neuroscience? September 14th 2011. Department of Psychology, Princeton University.
  • Ultimate Causes and the Evolution of Altruism. August 11th 2011. Theory of Cooperation Workshop. Adelboden (University of Bern).
  • Optimal Voting in Groups with Convergent Interests. March 21st 2011. Modelling Complex Adaptive Systems as if they were Voting Processes. AAAI Spring Symposium. Stanford University.
  • Optimality Theory in Collective Behaviour. March 17th 2011. Insect Self-Organization and Swarming Meeting. Mathematical Biosciences Institute, Ohio State University.
  • Ernst Strungmann Forum on Cognitive Search. February 20th-25th 2011. Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies.
  • Colony-Level Cognition: Optimal Decisions, Brains, and Social Insect Colonies. July 29th 2009. 'Swarm Cognition' workshop at CogSci 2009, Amsterdam.
  • Optimal Decision-Making in Brains and Social Insect Colonies. June 20th 2008. Systems Biology of Decision-Making Meeting. Mathematical Biosciences Institute, Ohio State University.
  • Optimal Decision-Making in Brains and Social Insect Colonies. May 20th 2008. Principles of Biological Computation Meeting. Santa Fe Institute.
  • Whys and Wherefores of Computer Modelling in Behavioural Biology. July 10th 2004. Modeling Biology meeting. Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research, Vienna.


  • My Hamilton number is 2 (Marshall, J.A.R. -> Houston, A.I. -> Hamilton, W.D.)
  • My Erdos number is no more than 4 (Marshall, J.A.R. -> Rowe, J.E. -> Dietzfelbinger, M. -> Alon, N. -> Erdős, P.)
  • I received two copies of 'Being or Nothingness' by 'Joe K' (see 'The Psychopath Test' by Jon Ronson)