Tshilidzi Marwala’s biography, net worth, fact, career, awards and life story

IntroSouth African academic administrator
Is Engineer 
From South Africa 
Type Engineering 
Birth 28 July 1971 
Age49 years

Tshilidzi Marwala (OMB) born 28 July 1971 in Venda, Transvaal, South Africa is currently the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Internationalisation at the University of Johannesburg.

Academic career

Marwala was previously a Dean of Engineering at the University of Johannesburg, a Professor of Electrical Engineering, the Carl and Emily Fuchs Chair of Systems and Control Engineering as well as the DST/NRF South Africa Research Chair of Systems Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand. He was the Chair of the Local Loop Unbundling Committee as well as the non-executive director of the State Information Technology Agency (Pty) Ltd. He has served as a Deputy Chair of Limpopo Business Support Agency and on boards of EOH (Pty) Ltd, Denel and City Power Johannesburg. He was a councillor of Statistics South Africa as well as the National Advisory Council on Innovation. He is a trustee of the Bradlow Foundation as well as the Carl and Emily Fuchs Foundation. He is the youngest recipient of the Order of Mapungubwe and was the first African Engineer to be awarded the President Award by the National Research Foundation of South Africa.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (Magna Cum Laude) from Case Western Reserve University, a Master of Engineering from the University of Pretoria, a PhD in Engineering from St John’s College, Cambridge, successfully completed a Program for Leadership Development at Harvard Business School as well as training in accountancy and finance at the National University of Singapore. He was a post-doctoral research associate at the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. He matriculated at Mbilwi Secondary School and completed Sixth Form at St John’s College.

He has supervised 47 masters and 21 PhD students to completion and has published over 300 technical papers and 9 books. One of the books he co-authored on modelling interstate conflict has been translated into Chinese by the National Defense Industry Press. He is a fellow of TWAS, The World Academy of Sciences, Academy of Science of South Africa and African Academy of Sciences as well as a senior member of the IEEE and a distinguished member of the Association for Computing Machinery. His work and opinion have appeared in publications such as New Scientist, Time Magazine and The Economist. In 2016 Tshilidzi Marwala delivered the Bernard Price Memorial Lecture in South Africa. With Stephen Hawking and Guy Laliberté he was a judge of the YouTube Space Lab competition.

Marwala has also contributed to concepts such as the National Democratic Revolution and developmental state.

Original contributions to scientific and industrial research

Marwala’s research interests include the theory and application of computational intelligence to engineering, computer science, finance, economics, social science and medicine. Marwala has made fundamental contributions to engineering science including the development of the concept of pseudo-modal energies, proposing the theory of rational counterfactual thinking, and the theory of flexibly bounded rationality. Marwala was a co-inventor of the innovative methods of radiation imaging and with Megan Jill Russell as well as David Rubin the artificial larynx. Marwala also observed that the applicability of prospect theory depends on how much artificial intelligence is used to make a decision. He also observed that the more artificial intelligence is used for decision making the more efficient the markets become. For example, if all decisions are made by artificially intelligent machines then the markets will be fully rational. Marwala together with Evan Hurwitz proposed that there is less level of information asymmetry between two artificial intelligent agents than between two human agents and that the more artificial intelligence there is in the market the less is the volume of trades in the market. With Evan Hurwitzthey were the first researchers to build software agents that are able to bluff on playing a game of poker.

Visiting Appointments

In year 2006 to 2007 he was a visiting fellow at Harvard University and in the year 2007 to 2008, he was a visiting fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge. In year 2009 he was a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley Center for Studies in Higher Education. He is a Visiting Professor at Nanjing University of Technology as well as a professor extraordinaire at the University of Pretoria. Furthermore, he is a council member of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Silesian University of Technology.


Marwala has received many awards including winning the National Youth Science Olympiad and because of this he attended the 1989 London International Youth Science Forum, the Order of Mapungubwe, Case Western Reserve University Professional Achievement Award, The Champion of Research Capacity Development and Transformation at SA Higher Education Institutions, NSTF Award, Harvard-South Africa Fellowship, TWAS-AAS-Microsoft Award and ACM Distinguished Member Award.


1. David Mark Starfield, David Milton Rubin and Tshilidzi Marwala. Method and Apparatus for Radiation Imaging. IPC8 Class: AG01T100FI USPC Class: 25036302 .

2. David Mark Starfield, David Milton Rubin and Tshilidzi Marwala. Coded Appertures Masks for Ration-Based Medical Imaging. WO 2008/14254

3. Megan J. Russell, David M. Rubin, B. Wigdorowitz and Tshilidzi Marwala. (PCT/IB2009/006125) An artificial larynx.


Sufficiently read but don’t read too much that you have no other avenue of finding the truth than reading.

Predicting the future is nothing more than the rearrangement of information that currently exists.

Knowledge not used is no knowledge at all.

Knowledge becomes education when it is used for the benefit of society.

Seeking the relationship between data and wisdom is in the culture of mathematics.

The most dangerous political movement is the one where the pursuit of power is the end not the means to the end.

The function of a good government is to minimize greed and hardship as well as maximize happiness for all its people.

Originality is the highest form of creativity.

The principal goal of artificial intelligence in economics is to reverse the gains made to economics by behavioral science.


1. Marwala, Tshilidzi (2007). Computational Intelligence for Modelling Complex Systems. Delhi: Research India Publications. ISBN 978-81-904362-1-2. 

2. Marwala, Tshilidzi (2009). Computational Intelligence for Missing Data Imputation, Estimation, and Management: Knowledge Optimization Techniques. Pennsylvania: IGI Global. ISBN 978-1-60566-336-4. 

3. Marwala, Tshilidzi (2010). Finite Element Model Updating Using Computational Intelligence Techniques: Applications to Structural Dynamics. Heidelberg: Springer. ISBN 978-1-84996-322-0. 

4. Marwala, Tshilidzi; Lagazio, Monica (2011). Militarized Conflict Modeling Using Computational Intelligence. Heidelberg: Springer. ISBN 978-0-85729-789-1. 

5. Marwala, Tshilidzi (2012). Condition Monitoring Using Computational Intelligence Methods. Heidelberg: Springer. ISBN 978-1-4471-2380-4. 

6. Marwala, Tshilidzi (2013). Economic Modeling Using Artificial Intelligence Methods. Heidelberg: Springer. ISBN 978-1-84996-323-7. 

7. Marwala, Tshilidzi (2014). Artificial Intelligence Techniques for Rational Decision Making. Heidelberg: Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-11423-1. 

8. Marwala, Tshilidzi (2015). Causality, Correlation, and Artificial Intelligence for Rational Decision Making. Singapore: World Scientific. ISBN 978-9-814-63086-3. 

9. Marwala, Tshilidzi; Boulkaibet, Ilyes; Adhikari, Sondipon (2016). Probabilistic Finite Element Model Updating Using Bayesian Statistics: Applications to Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering. London: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-119-15303-0.