Career history

Trained in AI

In 2007, Olaf Witkowski received his MSc in Civil Engineering and Artificial Intelligence from the University of Louvain. His MSc thesis used machine learning to decode the language in ancient Inca artifacts, collaborating with the Khipu Research Group at MIT.

Web Entrepreneurship

From 2007 to 2011, he became a Co-Founder and Chief Research Officer at the Web company Commentag LLC. He designed the first semantic search engine for Twitter and launched, later to become He kept working on consulting projects in data mining and deep learning between the UK and Japan until early 2016. From 2007 to 2008, he was also a Lecturer at the Louvain School of Management, and undertook studies in Natural Language Processing.

PhD in Artificial Life

In 2015, he received his PhD in Computer Science, from the University of Tokyo. His doctoral research at the Ikegami Lab, from 2011 to 2015, revealed new dynamics in the emergence of communication as a way to increase collective intelligence in groups of living organisms, employing large distributed simulations, neural networks, game theory and information theory.

Researcher in Collective Intelligence

In 2015, he became a Postdoctoral Researcher at the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of Tokyo.
In 2016, he became an EON Postdoctoral Fellow at the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) at TokyoTech, and a Visiting Member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

He is a Co-Founding Member of YHouse­ Inc. ­— a nonprofit transdisciplinary research institute focused on the study of awareness, artificial intelligence and complex systems.
He was on the Organizing Committee (Program Chair) of the ALIFE 2018 conference in Tokyo. He is also an advisor for ALife Lab, a platform between Artificial Life scientists and those other domains such as art, design and technology.

In 2019, he also became a Director of Scientific Affairs and Chief Scientist at the Cross Research Institute, at XCompass Ltd., which studies the fundamental principles of intelligence across mathematics, artificial intelligence, cognitive sciences and biology.

His current scientific research aims to uncover the fundamental principles of life and intelligence through a formal study of learning and information dynamics, employing artificial life modeling and the language of information theory.