Chrystopher L. Nehaniv

Chrystopher L. Nehaniv
Professor and Associate Director, Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation (WICI)
Location: E7 6322
Phone: 519-888-4567 x40168


Chrystopher Nehaniv is a full professor in the departments of Systems Design Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo (since August 2018). He is a Mathematician, Computer Scientist, Complex Adaptive Systems Researcher. He is also affiliated with the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom, where he served as Director of the Centre for Computer Science & Informatics Research prior to coming to Canada, leading research in the Algorithms, Adaptive Systems, and Wolfson Royal Society Biocomputation Research Groups there as Professor of Mathematical and Evolutionary Computer Sciences. Previously, he held positions as full professor at the University of Aizu in Japan, and visiting professor in Mathematics at Ibaraki National University, Japan, and at the Institute for Mathematics & Informatics at the University of Debrecen in Hungary, as well as post-doctoral research fellow and lecturer in Mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is founder of the Waterloo Algebraic Intelligence & Computation Laboratory (WAICL), and with Prof. Kerstin Dautenhahn, a co-founder of the University of Waterloo's Social and Intelligent Robotics Research Laboratory (SIRRL). Professor Nehaniv is also a member of the Waterloo AI Institute and the steering committee of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation (WICI). He serves as Associate Editor for the journals BioSystems, IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems, Interaction Studies, and Complexity, and previously as Topic Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems for the topics of AI Robotics and Human-Machine/Robot Interaction, and has served on the IEEE Task Force for Artificial Life and Complex Adaptive Systems since its founding in 2003, as Chair (2012-2018), Vice Chair (2018-), and on the IEEE Cognitive and Developmental Systems Technical Committee (2019-) of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society.


SYDE 710 - Topics in Mathematics: Algebraic Structure of Discrete Dynamical Systems (Winter 2019, Winter 2020, Winter 2022, Winter 2023)

SYDE/ECE 750: Artificial Life: Biology & Computation (Spring 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022)

SYDE/ECE 750: Artificial Life: Embodied Intelligence (Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Winter 2021, Winter 2022)

SYDE 113: Matrices and Linear Systems / Fundamental Engineering Mathematics (Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022)

ECE 108: Discrete Mathematics & Logic 1 (Winter 2021)

Research Interests

  • Algebraic Methods in Algorithms & Applications
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Artificial Life & Complex Adaptive Systems
  • Algebra & Discrete-Event Dynamical Systems:
  • Automata, Permutation Groups, Transformation Semigroups, Interaction Machines, Models of Time
  • Systems Biology & Neuroscience: Mathematical & Computational Methods
  • Gene-Regulatory Networks & Differentiated Multicellularity
  • Interactive Systems Design
  • Cognitive Architectures for AI Robotics
  • Enactive Experiential & Temporally Extended Intelligence
  • Evolvability
  • Cognitive\/Social\/ Skill & Linguistic Development in Animals & Artifacts
  • Dynamic Networks
  • Whole-Part Relations\/Natural Subsystems
  • Global Hierarchical Coordinate Systems for Understanding\/Prediction\/Manipulation in STEM


  • 1992, Doctorate Mathematics, University of California, Berkeley, USA
  • 1987, Bachelor of Science (BSc) Mathematics (with studies in Psychology, Biology, Linguistics, Computer Science), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA


  • ECE 108 - Discrete Mathematics and Logic 1
    • Taught in 2021
  • ECE 750 - Special Topics in Computer Software
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
  • NE 112 - Linear Algebra for Nanotechnology Engineers
    • Taught in 2023
  • SYDE 113 - Elementary Engineering Mathematics
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023
  • SYDE 599 - Special Topics in Systems Design Engineering
    • Taught in 2021

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Shah J., Ayub A., Nehaniv C.L., and Dautenhahn K., Where is My Phone? Towards Developing an Episodic Memory Model for Companion Robots to Track Users' Salient Objects, ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, 621-624, Canada, 2023.
  • Aliasghari P., Ghafurian M., Nehaniv C.L., and Dautenhahn K., How Do We Perceive Our Trainee Robots? Exploring the Impact of Robot Errors and Appearance When Performing Domestic Physical Tas, ACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction, Volume 12, Canada, 2023.
  • Ayub A., Nehaniv C.L., and Dautenhahn K., Don't Forget to Buy Milk: Contextually Aware Grocery Reminder Household Robot, 2022 IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning, ICDL 2022, 299-306, Canada, 2022.
  • Aliasghari P., Ghafurian M., Nehaniv C.L., and Dautenhahn K., Kinesthetic Teaching of a Robot over Multiple Sessions: Impacts on Speed and Success, Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), Volume 127, 160-170, Canada, 2022.
  • Fan K., Jouaiti M., Dautenhahn K., and Nehaniv C.L., Fuzzy Object Ambiguity Determination and Human Attention Assessment for Domestic Service Robots, 2022 9th International Conference on Soft Computing and Machine Intelligence, ISCMI 2022, 140-145, Canada, 2022.
  • Antonova E., Holding M., Suen H.C., Sumich A., Maex R., and Nehaniv C., EEG microstates: Functional significance and short-term test-retest reliability, Neuroimage: Reports, Volume 2, United Kingdom, 2022.
  • Aliasghari P., Ghafurian M., Nehaniv C.L., and Dautenhahn K., Efects of gaze and arm motion kinesics on a humanoid's perceived confidence, eagerness to learn, and atention to the task in a t, ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, 197-206, Canada, 2021.
  • Aliasghari P., Ghafurian M., Nehaniv C.L., and Dautenhahn K., Effect of domestic trainee robots' errors on human teachers' trust, 2021 30th IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication, RO-MAN 2021, 81-88, Canada, 2021.
  • Shannon P.D., Nehaniv C.L., and Phon-Amnuaisuk S., Cartpole Problem with PDL and GP Using Multi-objective Fitness Functions Differing in a Priori Knowledge, Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), Volume 127, 106-117, United Kingdom, 2021.
  • Jentsch P.C., and Nehaniv C.L., Exploring Tetris as a Transformation Semigroup, Springer Proceedings in Mathematics and Statistics, Volume 127, 71-80, Canada, 2021.

Graduate studies