Ernesto Costa is Full Professor at the Department of Informatics Engineering of the University of Coimbra, where he concluded its B.Sc. in 1976. He was co-founder and first elected President of the Department, between March 1997 and 1999 and Head of The Scientific Board between 2006 and 2008. He received a 3rd Cycle Thesis in Computing Science from the University Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris, France) in 1981 and got a Ph.D. in Electronic Engineering (area of Computing Science) from the University of Coimbra (Coimbra, Portugal) in 1985.

His main research interests are in the areas of Evolutionary Computation,Artificial Life, Complex Systems, Machine Learning, Cognition and Computational Biology. He was co-founder of the Centre for Informatics and Systems of the University of Coimbra (CISUC), and its President between May 1998 and June 2000. He was also the founder of the Artificial Intelligence Group which he led until 2003, when he founded the new Evolutionary and Complex Systems group within CISUC.

 He participated in several projects, got several best paper awards. He  was the recipient of the 2009 EvoStar Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Evolutionary Computation. He   organized several international scientific events and had published over 200 papers in books, journals and proceedings of conferences. Currently he is member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Complexica. Between 2012 and 2018 he was a member of the General Council (Conselho Geral) of the University of Coimbra, a governing board of the university. Currently, he his member of the Scientific Board of Instituto de Investigação Interdisciplinar of the University of Coimbra.