James has a PhD in Operations Research from the University of New South Wales (‘08 Sydney, Australia), where he studied the relationship between adaptation and self-organization in evolutionary algorithms. James also has a BSE from Princeton University (’03).
His current research explores the relationships between robustness, evolvability, and complexity and why these relationships change between engineered and biological systems. Applications of this research have looked at evolvable G:P mappings for evolutionary algorithms applied to dynamic optimization problems, design concepts for developing robust and adaptable transportation vehicle fleets, and design concepts for enhancing reconfiguration flexibility in manufacturing assembly systems. Current theoretical studies are also investigating biologically plausible causes of criticality in gene regulatory networks, specific properties of biological phenotypes that influence ecosystem resilience, and the causes and therapeutic implications of cancer evolution. More details can be found here.
Dr. Whitacre is also the founder of the degeneracy online community.