Leiden Center for Natural Computing


The research of LCNC is organized along three main research programs:

  • Molecular Computing (program directors: Prof.dr. G. Rozenberg, Prof.dr. H. Spaink)
  • Evolutionary Algorithms (program director: Prof.dr. Th. Bäck)
  • Neural Networks (program director: Prof.dr. J.N. Kok)

Molecular Computing

The two main research lines within this research program are: models and paradigms for molecular computing, and design of laboratory experiments testing models for molecular computing. The program is multidisciplinary: Leiden Institute for Advanced Computer Science (LIACS), Institute of Molecular Plant Biology of Leiden University (IMP) and the Department of Biophysics participate in it.

Evolutionary Algorithms

The main objective is to investigate efficient algorithms for various types of optimization problems. One of the main research lines is the study of optimization in the presence/absence of various constraints. Evolutionary algorithms used here encompass algorithms based on the biological process of natural selection. Examples of such algorithms are Genetic Algorithms, Evolutionary Strategies, Evolutionary Programming, and Genetic Programming. The program is involved in both foundational research and applications. The main application areas are routing and scheduling, time tabling, financial models, data analysis, and data mining, This program cooperates with the Informatik Center Dortmund, Germany, and with the European Network of Excellence on Evolutionary Computation (EvoNet).

Neural Networks

This program develops and applies novel computational techniques based on neural networks. It focuses on the analysis of large amounts of data (data mining). The main goal is to extract (mostly unexpected) information from the data, which means to classify and clarify the data, as well as to learn from examples and to find models that can be used to make predictions. To facilitate in the achieving of this goal, the foundations of neural networks are studied. This program extensively collaborates with the industry, with academic research groups, and with the Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science (CWI), Amsterdam.