Ignacy Misztal

Date of Birth: April 18, 1955 in Hrubieszow, Poland.

Married with 3 children.

1977-1978, Development engineer in Oy Lohja Ab, Finland.

1979-1981, Graduate assistant at Warsaw Agricultural University, Poland.

1981-1986, Research scientist at Warsaw Agricultural University, Poland.

1986-1988, Research associate at the University of Illinois with Daniel Gianola.

1988-1995, Research data analyst at the University of Illinois for the US Holstein Association, Holstein Professorship.

1996-2000, Associate Professor at University of Georgia, Athens.

2000-present, Full Professor at University of Georgia, Athens.

Dr. Misztal has had a keen interest in the computing aspects of animal breeding research and has worked with supercomputers, parallel processing, and Fortran 90.  His general research goal has been to develop efficient computing algorithms for the problems of prediction and estimation of breeding values.  Since 1985, the animal model was emerging as the model of choice for genetic evaluation systems, and algorithms for solving mixed model equations and estimating genetic parameters were very expensive and usually inadequate for large data sets.  He developed a popular general purpose program (JAA) which used second order Jacobi iteration, required less disk space, and was very simple compared to other algorithms at the time.  From this he developed algorithms for approximating the reliabilities of genetic evaluations.  His experience in Illinois led him to study algorithms for threshold models (for categorical data).  Sparse matrix factorization was applied to DF-REML estimation of variance components which reduced computations by an order of 3 fold.

He presented an invited paper at a symposium on Continuous Genetic Evaluations in which he proposed that genetic evaluations could be updated continuously rather than only twice per year.  However, the real world was not ready for sire proofs to change that frequently.  He developed a multiple trait genetic evaluation system for conformation traits for the Holstein Association.  He also developed methodology for including dominance genetic effects into national genetic evaluations, and showed that ignoring dominance genetic effects could seriously bias the evaluations, particularly of young bull dams.

Dr. Misztal is currently working on mating systems that account for inbreeding and dominance.  He has started a very interesting research program in looking at heat stress in dairy cattle using data from public weather stations and how heat may affect production.  He has started a comparison of different crossbreeding theories to derive exact covariances between purebreds and crossbreds.  Below is a list of software that he has developed and provides free of charge.

1988 - CMMAT, Categorical data analysis using 'linearization' of the threshold model.
1988 - JAA, Iterative solving program for mixed model equations.
1990 - JSPFS, MTD, MTC, a set of multivariate programs for estimation of variance components by REML, using sparse matrix solvers.
1992 - FSPAK, (with M. Perez-Enciso and M. Elzo) implemented sparse matrix inversion for DF-REML.
1998 - SPARSEM, sparse matrix modules written in Fortran 90.
1998 - BLUPF90 and REMLF90, supports multiple traits, random regressions and dominance effects.
1999 - GIBBSF90, BLUP90THR(eshold).
1999 - BLUP90IOD, iteration on data versions of BLUPF90, support up to 100 million equations.

He has given many courses on computing aspects in animal breeding to different institutions around the world including Japan, China, Bolivia, Brazil, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Finland, Poland, Belgium, Argentina, Russia, and several places within the United States.

Dr. Misztal is a very logical and detailed thinker, with a mind like a computer one might say.  His programs are distributed around the world and have contributed to many different research projects.