Melanie Mitchell is a professor of computer science at Portland State University. She has worked at the Santa Fe Institute and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Her major work has been in the areas of analogical reasoning, complex systems, genetic algorithms and cellular automata, and her publications in those fields are frequently cited.
She received her PhD in 1990 from the University of Michigan under Douglas Hofstadter and John Holland, for which she developed the Copycat cognitive architecture. She is the author of "Analogy-Making as Perception", essentially a book about Copycat. She has also critiqued Stephen Wolfram's A New Kind of Science and showed that genetic algorithms could find better solutions to the majority problem for one-dimensional cellular automata. She is the author of An Introduction to Genetic Algorithms, a widely known introductory book published by MIT Press in 1996. She is also author of Complexity: A Guided Tour (Oxford University Press, 2009), which won the 2010 Phi Beta Kappa Science Book Award.