Kevin G. Kirby
Dean, College of Informatics
Evan and Linsday Stein Professor of Biocomputing
Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, KY 41099
GH 500B - - (859) 572-5666

Detroit. (Photo by K.-P. Zauner)




I earned my PhD in Computer Science from Wayne State University in 1988. My dissertation advisor was Michael Conrad.  My graduate minor was in Physics. 

My doctoral research involved using evolutionary and genetic algorithms to control learning in biomolecular neural nets. My undergraduate degree was in mathematics, with a minor in linguistics.

My early research was in neural networks and genetic/evolutionary algorithms. Typical early papers:
  • K. Kirby and M. Conrad. "Intraneuronal Dynamics as a Substrate For Evolutionary Learning." Physica D, Vol. 22, 150-175 (1986).
  • K. Kirby. "Duality in Sequential Associative Memory: A Simulationist Approach", Proceedings, IEEE International Conference on Systems Engineering, pp. 351-354. (1991).

Those papers touched on continuous computing and knowledge representation in dynamical systems ("Turing's Other Machine"). This led to an interest in natural computability in general, and in particular in biological and quantum computation. Two representative papers:

  • K. Kirby. "Biological Adaptabilities and Quantum Entropies". BioSystems Vol. 64,  pp. 33-41. (2002).
  • K. Kirby. "Hermeneutics and Biomolecular Computation." Optical Memory and Neural Networks, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp.111-117 (1995). 

In addition to this, I have always been interested in pedagogy, trying to construct elementary approaches to advanced and daunting topics. This is the goal of my current book on linear algebra for computer scientists. Two representative papers:

  • K. Kirby. "Of Neurons, Memories, and Rank-One Corrections." College Mathematics Journal Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 2-19 (1997).
  • K. Kirby. "Beyond the Celestial Sphere: Oriented Projective Geometry and Computer Graphics." Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 75 No. 5, pp. 351-366 (2002). 

The first was a tour of the classical art of memory using the Dirac notation (from quantum mechanics), leading in to the mathematics of associative neural networks, and won the George Polya award.

I spent  the 2000-01 academic year on sabbatical in Seoul, Korea.

As dean, I continue to hold the Evan and Lindsay Stein Professorship in Biocomputing. My projects in this regard include ecosystem modeling and applications of information geometry to bioinformatics.



Computer graphics and artificial intelligence are the areas I have specialized in teaching at the upper level at NKU. I also enjoy teaching introductory programming and data structures. I designed and coordinated INF 120 Elementary Programming in "media Python", NKU's first general education course in computing, based on the Georgia Tech model.




From 2008 to 2011 I was Chair of the Computer Science Department and the Principal Investigator on a National Science Foundation CPATH grant, "Informatics at Multiple Scales". See I am currently Dean of the College of Informatics. I served as director of the NKU Computer Science program from 1999 to 2005 (except during my sabbatical year). I was Vice-Chair then Chair of NKU Graduate Council from 2003 to 2005.

I was one of the authors of the proposal for CINSAM (the Center for Integrative Natural Science and Mathematics), which came into existence in 2000. 

My greatest NKU experiences have been as faculty advisor on NKU's Alternative Spring Break, a week-long trip to Mexico involving homestays and volunteer service work in Mexico City and the state of Morelos, in 1999, 2000 , 2003,  2006 and 2008.



George Polya Award, Mathematical Association of America, 1998.

Outstanding Junior Faculty Member Award, NKU College of Arts and Sciences, 1997.


    I am a native of Royal Oak, Michigan. I am married to a writer and part-time instructor (in Computer Science and Korean), and we have one son.