Department of Decision Sciences

Prof KM Malan

College of Economic and Management Sciences
School of Economic and Financial Sciences
Department: Decision Sciences
Tel: 012 433 4729


  • BSc (UCT)
  • BSc (Hons) (UCT)
  • MSc (UCT)
  • PhD (UP)

NRF Rating


Currently teaching

  • DSC2604 – Financial Modelling
  • DSC4828 – Applied Data Science
  • DSC4830 – Research Project

Fields of academic interests

Prof Malan’s research interests include automated algorithm selection in optimisation and learning, fitness landscape analysis and the application of computational intelligence techniques to real-world problems.


  • Malan, K.M. (2021). Online Landscape Analysis for Guiding Constraint Handling in Particle Swarm Optimisation, In: Kulkarni, AJ et al. (Eds) Constraint Handling in Metaheuristics and Applications, Chapter 5, Springer, DOI:10.1007/978-981-33-6710-4_5

Journal articles

  • Rodrigues, N.M., Malan, K.M., Ochoa, G., Vanneschi, L. and Silva, S. (2022). Fitness landscape analysis of convolutional neural network architectures for image classification, Information SciencesDOI:10.1016/j.ins.2022.07.040
  • Engelbrecht, A.P., Bosman, P., and Malan, K.M. (2022). The influence of fitness landscape characteristics on particle swarm optimisers, Natural ComputingDOI: 10.1007/s11047-020-09835-x.
  • Ochoa, G., Malan, K.M. and Blum, C. (2021). Search trajectory networks: A tool for analysing and visualising the behaviour of metaheuristics, Applied Soft Computing, 109, DOI:10.1016/j.asoc.2021.107492
  • Malan, K.M. (2021). A Survey of Advances in Landscape Analysis for Optimisation, Algorithms, 14(2), DOI:10.3390/a14020040.
  • Mostert, W., Malan, K.M. and Engelbrecht, A.P. (2021). A Feature Selection Algorithm Performance Metric for Comparative Analysis, Algorithms, 14(3), DOI:10.3390/a14030100.
  • Stapelberg, B. and Malan, K.M. (2020). A survey of benchmarking frameworks for reinforcement learning, South African Computer Journal, 32(2): 258-292, DOI:10.18489/sacj.v32i2.746.
  • Mongwe, W.T. and Malan, K.M. (2020). A Survey of Automated Financial Statement Fraud Detection with Relevance to the South African Context, South African Computer Journal, 32(1): 74-112, DOI:10.18489/sacj.v32i1.777.
  • Malan, K.M. and Moser, I. (2019). Constraint Handling Guided by Landscape Analysis in Combinatorial and Continuous Search Spaces, Evolutionary Computation, 27 (2): 267-289, DOI:10.1162/evco_a_00222.
  • Malan, K.M., Eloff, J.H.P and De Bruin, J.A. (2018). Semi-automated Usability Analysis through Eye Tracking, South African Computer Journal, 30 (1): 66-84, DOI:10.18489/sacj.v30i1.511.

Paper presentations

  • Malan, K.M. and Cleghorn, C.W. (2022) A Continuous Optimisation Benchmark Suite from Neural Network Regression. Parallel Problem Solving from Nature - PPSN XVII, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol 13398,
  • Dixon, M.C., Bosman, A.S. and Malan, K.M. (2021) Hybridised Loss Functions for Improved Neural Network Generalisation, In Proceedings of Pan-African Artificial Intelligence and Smart Systems Conference, Windhoek, Namibia, Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social-Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, 405: 169-181, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-93314-2_11.
  • Moses, J., Malan, K.M. and Bosman, A.S. (2021) Analysing the Loss Landscape Features of Generative Adversarial Networks, In Proceedings of Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference Companion, Online, July 2021, pp 1692-1699, DOI:10.1145/3449726.3463132
  • Mongwe, W.T. and Malan, K.M. (2020). The Efficacy of Financial Ratios for Fraud Detection Using Self Organising Maps. In Proceedings of IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence for Financial Engineering and Economics, pp 1100-1106,
  • Mazibuko, T.C. and Malan, K.M. (2020). Machine Learning for Improved Boiler Control in the Power Generation Industry. In Proceedings of the First Southern African Conference for Artificial Intelligence Research, pp 148-161, SACAIR Online Proceedings.
  • Ochoa, G., Malan, K.M., and Blum, C. (2020). Search Trajectory Networks of Population-based Algorithms in Continuous Spaces. In Applications of Evolutionary Computation, EvoApps 2020, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 12104, pp 70-85,
  • Swanepoel, C.J. and Malan, K.M. (2019). Towards a visual framework for the incorporation of knowledge in the phases of machine learning. In Proceedings of SA Forum for Artificial Intelligence Research, CEUR Workshop Proceedings Volume 2540, Cape Town, South Africa, December 2019, pp 1-11,
  • Malan, K.M. (2019). The travelling thief problem for advancing combinatorial optimisation. In Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Operations Research Society of South Africa (ORSSA 2019), Cape Town, South Africa, September 2019, pp 106-113.
  • Stapelberg, B. and Malan, K.M. (2019). Global structure of policy search spaces for reinforcement learning. In Proceedings of Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference Companion, Prague, Czech Republic, July 2019, pp 1773-1781, DOI:10.1145/3319619.3326843
  • Adair, J., Ochoa, G., and Malan, K.M. (2019). Local Optima Networks for Continuous Fitness Landscapes. In Proceedings of Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference Companion, Prague, Czech Republic, July 2019, pp 1407-1414, DOI:10.1145/3319619.3326852
  • Mostert, W., Malan, K.M., Ochoa, G., and Engelbrecht, A.P. (2019). Insights into the Feature Selection Problem Using Local Optima Networks. In Evolutionary Computation in Combinatorial Optimization, EvoCOP 2019, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 11452, Springer, pp 147-162, DOI:10.1007/978-3-030-16711-0_10.
  • Malan, K.M (2018). Landscape-aware Constraint Handling Applied to Differential Evolution. In Theory and Practice of Natural Computing., TPNC 2018, Fagan D., Martin-Vide C., O'Neill M., Vega-Rodriguez M. (eds) . Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 11324, Springer, pp 176-187, DOI:10.1007/978-3-030-04070-3_14.
  • Mostert, W., Malan, K.M. and Engelbrecht, A.P. (2018). Filter versus Wrapper Feature Selection based on Problem Landscape Features. In Proceedings of Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference Companion, Kyoto, Japan, July 2018, pp 1489-1496, DOI:10.1145/3205651.3208305.
  • Moja, O.O. and Malan, K.M. (2018). Issues and a Proposal for Automated Retirement Portfolio Risk Matching in South Africa. In Proceedings of Information Communication Technology and Society Conference, Durban, South Africa, March 2018, pp 94-100, DOI:10.1109/ICTAS.2018.8368768.

Professional positions, fellowships & awards

  • Editor-in-chief of South African Computer Journal (2022 – present)
  • Associate editor of Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence Journal (2022 – present)
  • UNISA Million Rand Club Award (2020), in recognition of external grant for research funding.
  • UNISA Research and Innovation Award (2019) in recognition of NRF C1 Rating.
  • UNISA College of Economic and Management Sciences, Tuition Award for Excellent Module Design (2018).



Katherine Malan joined the Department of Decision Sciences at UNISA as a senior lecturer in 2016. She received her BSc (Computer Science & Mathematics), BSc Hons (Computer Science) and MSc (Computer Science) from the University of Cape Town and her PhD from the University of Pretoria in 2014. She has over 20 years' lecturing experience in Computer Science at three different South African universities and has co-authored two programming textbooks. She currently holds a National Research Foundation C1 rating for research (2019 - 2024). Her research is in the broad field of computational intelligence for solving complex problems.


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