Lee Altenberg , Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Information and Computer Sciences, University of Hawai`i at Manoa
Graduate Faculty, Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology Specialization, University of Hawai`i at Manoa
Associate Editor, BioSystems: Journal of Biological and Information Processing Sciences (Elsevier)
Editorial Board, Genetic Programming and Evolvable Machines (Springer)
Editorial Board, Artificial Life (MIT Press)
Research Scholar, Ronin Institute

Phone: +1-650-557-3309
E-mail: altenber@hawaii.edu
Web Home Page: http://dynamics.org/Altenberg/


My research investigates the theoretical foundations of evolutionary dynamics, evolutionary computation, and their related mathematics. My focus is on higher order phenomena — the evolution of evolvability, robustness, modularity, phase transitions, genetic systems, and the genotype-phenotype map. In pursuit of these areas I have contributed to the spectral theory of linear operators. My work employs mathematical and numerical analysis, and computational experiments.

Research Interests



Research and Teaching Positions

Research Publications

Google Scholar Data (as of December 2017): 3639 citations, H-index 16, i10-index 21.

  1. Ram, Y., Altenberg, L., Liberman, U, and Feldman, M.W. 2018. Generation of Variation and a Modified Mean Fitness Principle: Necessity is the Mother of Genetic Invention. Theoretical Population Biology, in press.

  2. Altenberg, L. 2017. Genetic Information, Mutation Rates, and the Lore of the Error Threshold. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BICOB 2017), Eds. O. Eulenstein and Q. Ding and H. Al-Mubaid, pp. 223-230.

  3. Altenberg, L., Liberman, U., and Feldman, M.W. 2017. Unified Reduction Principle for the Evolution of Mutation, Migration, and Recombination. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, pp. E2392-E2400, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1619655114.

  4. Altenberg, L. 2017. Probing the Axioms of Evolutionary Algorithm Design: Commentary on “On the mapping of genotype to phenotype in evolutionary algorithms” by Peter A. Whigham, Grant Dick, and James Maclaurin. Genetic Programming and Evolvable Machines doi:10.1007/s10710-017-9288-x.

  5. Altenberg, L. 2016. Norm Statement Considered Harmful: Comment on “Evolution of Unconditional Dispersal in Periodic Environments.” Journal of Biological Dynamics 10 (1): 342-346.

  6. Altenberg, L. 2016. Evolutionary Computation. In the Elsevier Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Biology (2):40-47.

  7. * Altenberg, L. 2015. Fundamental Properties of the Evolution of Mutational Robustness. http://arxiv.org/abs/1508.07866 .

  8. Altenberg, L. 2015. Statistical Problems in a Paper on Variation In Cancer Risk Among Tissues, and New Discoveries. http://arxiv.org/abs/1501.04605 .

  9. Altenberg, L. 2014. Evolvability and Robustness in Artificial Evolving Systems: Three Perturbations. Genetic Programming and Evolvable Machines 15(3): 275-280.

  10. Altenberg, L. 2014. Mathematics Awaits: Commentary on “Genetic Programming and Emergence” by Wolfgang Banzhaf. Genetic Programming and Evolvable Machines 15(1): 87-89.

  11. Altenberg, L. 2013. Implications of the Reduction Principle for Cosmological Natural Selection. http://arxiv.org/abs/1302.1293.

  12. Altenberg, L. 2013. On the Ordering of Spectral Radius Product r(A) r(AD) Versus r(A2D) and Related Applications. SIAM Journal on Matrix Analysis and Applications 34(3): 978-998.

  13. Altenberg, L. 2013. A Sharpened Condition for Strict Log-Convexity of the Spectral Radius via the Bipartite Graph. Linear Algebra and Its Applications 438: 3702-3718.

  14. Altenberg, L. 2012. Social Insight Rings True 125 Years On. Nature 490 (7421): 487. Correspondence regarding Rand et al. (2012).

  15. Altenberg, L. 2012. The Principle of Partial Control in Reaction-Diffusion Models for the Evolution of Dispersal. To appear.

  16. ** Altenberg, L. 2012. Resolvent Positive Linear Operators Exhibit the Reduction Phenomenon. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 109 (10): 3705-3710.

  17. * Altenberg, L. 2012. The Evolution of Dispersal in Random Environments and the Principle of Partial Control. Ecological Monographs 82(3): 297-333.

  18. * Altenberg, L. 2011. An Evolutionary Reduction Principle for Mutation Rates at Multiple Loci. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology 73: 1227-1270.

  19. Altenberg, L. 2010. Karlin Theory On Growth and Mixing Extended to Linear Differential Equations. Presented at the 16th International Linear Algebra Society Conference, Pisa. On arXiv.org.

  20. Altenberg, L. 2010. Proof of the Feldman-Karlin Conjecture on the Maximum Number of Equilibria in an Evolutionary System. Theoretical Population Biology 77: 263-269.

  21. Altenberg, L. 2009. The Evolutionary Reduction Principle for Linear Variation in Genetic Transmission. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology 71 (5): 1264-1284.

  22. * Altenberg, L. 2007. Remnant Wiliwili forest Habitat at Wailea 670, Maui, Hawai`i.

  23. * Altenberg, L. 2005. Evolvability Suppression to Stabilize Far-Sighted Adaptations. Artificial Life 11 (4): 427-443.

  24. * Altenberg, L. 2005. Modularity in Evolution: Some Low-Level Questions. Pages 99-128 in Modularity: Understanding the Development and Evolution of Complex Natural Systems, Diego Rasskin-Gutman and Werner Callebaut, editors. MIT Press, ISBN 0262033267.

  25. Altenberg, L. 2004. Open Problems in the Spectral Analysis of Evolutionary Dynamics. Pages 73-99 in Frontiers of Evolutionary Computation, ed. Anil Menon, Genetic Algorithms And Evolutionary Computation Series Vol. 11, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, ISBN 1402075243.

  26. Shpak, M, P. Stadler, G. P. Wagner, and L. Altenberg. 2004. Simon-Ando Decomposability and Fitness Landscapes. Theory in Biosciences 123: 139-180.

  27. Altenberg, L. 2000. Evolvability Checkpoints Against Evolutionary Pathologies. Invited paper for the Evolvability Workshop at the Artificial Life 7 Conference, Portland Oregon.

  28. Altenberg, L. 1997. Fitness Distance Correlation Analysis: An Instructive Counterexample. Pages 57-64 in Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Genetic Algorithms, ed. T. Baeck. Morgan Kaufmann, San Mateo.

  29. Altenberg, L. 1997. NK Fitness Landscapes. In Handbook of Evolutionary Computation, ed. T. Back, D. Fogel, and Z. Michalewicz. Institute of Physics Press.

  30. * Wagner, G. P. and L. Altenberg. 1996. Complex adaptations and the evolution of evolvability. Evolution 50 (3): 967-976.

  31. Altenberg, L. 1995. The Schema Theorem and Price's Theorem. In Foundations of Genetic Algorithms 3, ed. Darrell Whitley and Michael Vose. Morgan Kaufmann, San Francisco, pp. 23-49.

  32. ** Altenberg, L. 1995. Genome growth and the evolution of the genotype-phenotype map. In Evolution and Biocomputation: Computational Models of Evolution, ed. Wolfgang Banzhaf and Frank H. Eeckman. Lecture Notes in Computer Science vol. 899. Springer-Verlag, pp. 205-259.

  33. Altenberg, L. 1994. Evolving better representations through selective genome growth. Proceedings of the IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence, pp. 182-187.

  34. Altenberg, L. 1994. Emergent phenomena in genetic programming. In Proceedings of the Third Annual Conference on Evolutionary Programming, ed. Anthony V. Sebald and Lawrence J. Fogel. World Scientific, pp. 233-241.

  35. Altenberg, L. 1994. The evolution of evolvability in genetic programming. Chapter 3 in Advances in Genetic Programming, ed. Kenneth Kinnear. MIT Press, pp. 47-74.

  36. Altenberg, L. 1991. Chaos from Linear Frequency-Dependent Selection. American Naturalist 138: 51-68.

  37. Altenberg, L. 1990. An End to Capitalism: Leland Stanford's Forgotten Vision. Sandstone and Tile 14 (1): 8-20, Winter 1990, Stanford Historical Society, Stanford, CA.

  38. Altenberg, L. 1988. “Maternal Terminology”. Scientific Correspondence, Nature 331: 309 (28 January 1988). Cited by Haggard, B. Nature 333: 215 (19 May 1988). [36.28]

  39. * Altenberg, L. and M. W. Feldman. 1987. Selection, Generalized Transmission, and the Evolution of Modifier Genes. I. The Reduction Principle. Genetics 117: 559-572.

  40. Holsinger, K., M. W. Feldman, and L. Altenberg. 1986. Selection for Increased Mutation Rates with Fertility Differences Between Matings. Genetics 112: 909-922.

  41. Altenberg, L. and D. Brutlag. 1986. Selection for Modularity in the Genome . (Cited in: Doolittle, W.F. 1987. The Origin and Function of Intervening Sequences in DNA: A Review. American Naturalist 130: 915-928; and Doolittle, W.F. 1987. What Introns Have to Tell Us: Hierarchy in Genome Evolution. Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol 52: 907-913. )

  42. Altenberg, L. 1985. Knowledge Representation in the Genome: New Genes, Exons, and Pleiotropy. Abstract, Genetics 110: supplement, s41.

  43. Mueller, L. and L. Altenberg. 1985. Statistical inference on Measures of Niche Overlap. Ecology 66: 1204-1210.

  44. * Altenberg, L. 1984. A Generalization of Theory on the Evolution of Modifier Genes. Ph.D. Dissertation, Stanford University. University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor.
* indicates publications I judge to be my most significant

Published Photographs

  1. Of Samuel Karlin at Feldmania, 2007. p. 142 in Manuel de Leon Rodriguez and Agata A. Timon of Fundacion Espanola Para la Ciencia y la Tecnologia, 2014. Unidad didactica: Matematicas del Planeta Tierra.

  2. Of a Wiliwili tree, Erythrina sandwichensis. In Kepler, A. K. 2017. Fishing Canoes of the Tropical Pacific: Then and Now. In press.

Environmental and Public Interest Publications

  1. Altenberg, L. 2009. VIEWPOINT: EIS notice eliminates vital part of Condition 27 in rezoning approval. The Maui News, April 5, 2009.

  2. Maui County Council, 2008. Language establishing a 130 acre conservation easement to protect native Hawaiian dry forest in Condition #27 of Ordinance #3554: A Bill for an Ordinance to Repeal Ordinance No. 2171 (1992) and to Establish Kihei-Makena Project District 9 (Wailea 670) Zoning (Conditional Zoning), for Approximately 670 Acres Situated at Paeahu, Palauea, Keahou, Maui, Hawaii.

  3. Altenberg, L. 2008. VIEWPOINT: There is a problem when a developer writes own conservation condition. The Maui News, February 9, 2008.

  4. Altenberg, L. 2008. The Remnant Wiliwili Forest at Wailea 670. Haleakala Times, February 26, 2008.

  5. Gillette, H. 2004. “With a Computer and Shovel,” Lee Altenberg featured in “Environmental Heroes”, pp. 52-53 in Maui No Ka Oi 7 (4): 52-55.

  6. Biology 290 Working Group. 2004. Draft Invasive Species Treatment Ordinance for Maui County.

  7. Altenberg, L. 2002. Democracy denied: the barriers to citizen use of the ballot initiative on Maui. An Analysis of Maui County Charter Commission Proposal Fourteen: Reduce the signature requirements for Initiative and Recall.

  8. Altenberg, L. The Upcountry Town Center: Reject and Resubmit. Haleakala Times, May 15, 2002.

  9. Altenberg, L., M. Maberry, S. Sutrov. 2001. Draft Outdoor Lighting Standards Ordinance for Maui County.

  10. Altenberg, L. 2000. Can Single Dimpled Chads Reflect Voter Intent?. See “Researcher at UH solves dimpled chad dilemma”, Honolulu Star Bulletin, December 4, 2000.

  11. Altenberg, L. 1999. Retrofitting Maui's Street Lights with Fully Shielded Luminaires. Report to the Subdivision Standards Committee, Maui County, January 8, 1999.

  12. Altenberg, L. 1997. Maui's Central Valley was forest, not ‘desert’. The Maui News, January, 1997.

  13. Altenberg, L. 1991. The Ecological Living Group. Threshold 4 (2): 21-22. The network newsletter of the Student Environmental Action Coalition.

  14. Altenberg, L. 1991. Show Some Class, Build a Green House, contributed sections in the Student Environmental Action Coalition, ed., The Student Environmental Action Guide. The Earth-Works Group, Berkeley, CA.

  15. Altenberg, L. 1991. The Student-run Course. Threshold 4 (1): 21-23. The network newsletter of the Student Environmental Action Coalition.

  16. Altenberg, L. 1990. Catalyst: National Student Environmental Conference, The Prism 1 (8): 1, December, 1990. Chapel Hill, NC.

  17. Altenberg, L. 1990. Green Cities Conference Held, The Prism 1 (2), June 1990. Chapel Hill, NC.

  18. Altenberg, L. 1990. Student Co-ops and Ecocity Action. In C. Canfield, ed., Ecocity Conference 1990: Report of the First International Ecocity Conference, pp. 77-78. Urban Ecology, Berkeley, CA.

  19. Altenberg, L. 1990. Earth Day Blues. The Missing Link 7 (5): 5, April 1990. Duke University.

  20. Altenberg, L. 1990. The Robber Baron and the Co-op Movement: Leland Stanford's Forgotten Vision, Worker Co-op (Toronto) 10 (1): 18-22.

  21. Altenberg, L. 1990. Member Financing of PIFC: The Essence of Economic Democracy. Grains of Thought, Summer 1990, p. 6. Durham, NC.

  22. Altenberg, L. 1988. Students Take Over Dormitories.The Missing Link, Duke University.

  23. Altenberg, L. 1983. From the Bedroom to the Bomb: An Interview with Paul Ehrlich, Stanford Daily, April 1, 1983.

Graduate Thesis Committee Service

Admissions Committee Service

National Science Foundation Service

Recent Journal and Conference Reviewer Service

Invited Talks


Editorial Service

Service on Program Committees

Environmental Activities


Programming Languages

Membership in Associations

Leadership Experience