Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg
He matriculated at Mbilwi Secondary School and completed Sixth Form at St John's College. 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, completed an Advanced Management Program at Columbia University, 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.
Marwala was previously the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Internationalisation as well as the 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 SARChI 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 Ltd.He has served as a Deputy Chair of Limpopo Business Support Agency and on boards of EOH 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 recipient of the Order of Mapungubwe and his doctoral student Fulufhelo Nelwamondo also received this order. He was the first African Engineer to be awarded the President Award by the National Research Foundation of South Africa.
One of the books he co-athored 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 media such as New Scientist, Time Magazine, The Economist, CNN, and Oxford Union. 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's research interests include the theory and application of artificial 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, rational opportunity cost 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 Hurwitz, Marwala was the first researcher to build software agents that are able to bluff on playing a game of poker. Tshilidzi Marwala and Evan Hurwitz in their book applied Lewis turning point theory to study the transition of the economy into automated production and identified an equilibrium point (Lewis turning point) where it does not make economic sense to move human labor to automated machines. Tshilidzi Marwala and Evan Hurwitz in their book observed that the advent of intelligent online buying platforms such as Amazon and technologies such as flexible manufacturing offers the opportunity for individualized supply and demand curves to be produced. They observed that these reduce the degree of arbitrage in the market, permit for individualized pricing for the same product and brings fairness and efficiency into the market. Furthermore, with Evan Hurwitz in their book they observed that decision making and predicting machines that are executed using artificial intelligence and other machine learning techniques reduce the biases and variances of the errors on decision making and thus make decisions in a closer manner to the conclusions of rational expectations theory than human decision makers. Marwala and Bo Xing have also studied the relationship between blockchain and artificial intelligence. Marwala in his response to Bill Gates has also brought to the attention of the difficulty of taxing robots given the fact that a great deal of the devices that we use have robotics features.