College of Agriculture, Engineering
and Science (CAES)

Dr Ovre Agushaka graduated with a PhD in Computer Science.

PhD Study Proposes Algorithms to Solve Real-Life Problems

Dr Ovre Agushaka’s investigation of the influence of several initialisation methods on the performance of population-based metaheuristic optimisers earned him a PhD in Computer Science. He completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria.

Agushaka has nearly two decades’ experience as a computer scientist in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) encompassing optimisation, algorithms complexity and design, and semantic web.

He said that the research and teaching expertise in UKZN’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science and the School’s flexible PhD programme with its student-centred approach and excellent mentoring nurtures academic excellence.

Agushaka’s study proposed three novel nature-inspired metaheuristic algorithms whose performance was significantly improved by the right balance of population size, diversity, and the number of iterations. His findings advance understanding of how an imbalance in initialisation methods can lead to suboptimal solutions for complex optimisation tasks such as constrained engineering design problems.

‘Optimisation occurs in every facet of human endeavour,’ he said. ‘There is a need to find optimal solutions/combinations in fields like Engineering, Medicine, and others. For example, in Medicine an optimal set of features can be selected by my proposed metaheuristics algorithms from many features in omics data. Combined with deep learning algorithms, these features would help discover biomarkers for different diseases like prostate cancer, which would improve patient care.

‘The proposed algorithms were applied in the engineering domain to find the minimum manufacturing cost of different design problems like the welded beam design problem, the compression spring design problem, the pressure vessel design problem, and many more. The results obtained were significantly better than current results.’

Agushaka acknowledged the guidance and mentorship provided by Dr Absalom Ezugwu which led him to publishing 10 research articles in reputable peer-reviewed journals, with two under review.

Ezugwu commented: ‘Dr Agushaka’s completion of his PhD degree in record time, a programme which he started just before lockdown in 2020, is a clear case of hard work paying off. His high impact journal publications speak volumes of his efforts.’

Agushaka has applied for several postdoctoral positions.

Words: Leena Rajpal

Photograph: Supplied