Evripidis Gkanias

I am a PhD student in Bio-robotics, supervised by Prof. Barbara Webb at the Institute for Perception, Action and Behaviour (IPAB), School of Informatics, the University of Edinburgh.

I am interested in neural representations and information theory. I currently try to understand and model the underline mechanism of the mushroom bodies in the insect brain. My main scientific questions are: how do the mushroom bodies embody a reinforcement learning mechanism; how do they create associations among different modalities; and how is this used from other parts of the brain for memory acquisition and retrieval.

My research interests include probabilistic machine learning (and reinforcement learning), neural computation, bioinspired computer vision and multimodal integration.

Experience

Education

2018 - now ⚮ PhD in Bio-robotics, University of Edinburgh.

Subject: Memory acquisition and retrieval in the insect brain. Supervisor: Prof. Barbara Webb

2015 - 2016 ⚮ MSc in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, University of Edinburgh.

Thesis: Robocrab: data-driven adaptation of the evasion behaviour in fiddler crabs. Supervisor: Prof. Barbara Webb
Grade: with Distinction.

2008 - 2013 ⚮ BSc in Computer Science and Information Systems, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Thesis: Deep learning algorithms for multi-label data. Supervisor: Dr. Grigorios Tsoumakas
Grade: First-class honours.

Professional

2017 - 2018 ⚮ Research Associate, Univeristy of Edinburgh.

I was responsible for investigating the information content of polarised light in relation to animal navigation - using machine learning and information theory - before using the outcomes to develop a technical specification / design for manufacture of a novel robot sensor.

This task was part of the Invisible Cues project and it was a joined work of the University of Edinburgh and the University of Sheffield

2016 - 2017 ⚮ Research Assistant, Univeristy of Edinburgh.

I focus on trying to imitate the learning mechanism of the larval Drosophila, which creates associations among odours and tastes. The goal is to create such a mechanism in neural level and put it on a robot platform. The robot will try to find the gustatory source following the gradients of the associated odour.

This task was part of the Minimal project.

2014 - 2015 ⚮ Research Assistant, Centre for Research and Technology - Hellas (CERTH).

My main task was to implement a toolbox, using C# and the WPF subsystem, which could be used to analyse and compare human gestures, tracked using different capturing devices, i.e. Microsoft Kinect, Vicon, WIMUs. I also implemented an extension of it, which was compatible with Unity3D.

This task was part of the ”RePlay” project.

Teaching

2019 - now ⚮ Teaching Supporter, Univeristy of Edinburgh.

I am tutoring, demonstrating and marking for a variety of courses including:

2013 - 2014 ⚮ Community Teaching Assistant, University of Illinois (coursera).

I was responsible for answering students' questions regarding the course material and assignments for the course "Heterogeneous Parallel Programming" conducted by Prof. Wen-mei W. Hwu.

Publications

Journal articles

Schwarz, S., Clement, L., Gkanias, E., & Wystrach, A. (2020). How do backward-walking ants (Cataglyphis velox) cope with navigational uncertainty?. Animal Behaviour, 164, 133-142.
Link

Gkanias, E., Risse, B., Mangan, M., & Webb, B. (2019). From skylight input to behavioural output: a computational model of the insect polarised light compass. PLoS Comput Biol 15(7): e1007123.
Link

Conference proceedings

Stouraitis, T., Gkanias, E., Hemmi, J. M., & Webb, B. (2017, July). Predator Evasion by a Robocrab. In Conference on Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems (pp. 428-439). Springer, Cham.
Link

Theses & Projects

Gkanias, E. (2016). Robocrab: data-driven adaptation of the evasion behaviour in fiddler crabs. Master Thesis, MSc in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, University of Edinburgh.
pdf

Gkanias, E. (2013). Deep learning algorithms for multi-label data. Bachelor Thesis, BSc in Computer Science and Information Systems, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
pdf

Accomplishments

Funding & Awards

2019, June ⚮ The Percy Sladen Memorial Fund Grant.

Source: The Linnean Society.

2018, September ⚮ Robotics and Autonomous Systems Centre for Doctoral Training Studentship.

Source: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

2015, September ⚮ UK/EU Master's Scholarship.

Source: The University of Edinburgh.

Competitions

2016, November ⚮ Winning price for "Artificial Intelligence Driven Bots" challenge (Skype)

Source: Junction Hackathon.

Talks

Gkanias, E., Risse, B., Mangan, M., & Webb, B. (2019, November). From skylight input to behavioural output: a computational model of the insect polarised light compass. In International Navigation Conference, Edinburgh, UK.
slides

Stouraitis, T., Gkanias, E., Hemmi, J. M., & Webb, B. (2017, July). Predator Evasion by a Robocrab. In Conference on Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems, Stanford University, CA.
slides

Posters

Gkanias, E., & Webb, B. (2019, October). Memory acquisition and retrieval in the insect brain. In Edinburgh Centre for Robotics fifth annual conference, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
poster

Gkanias, E., Scaria, A., Vladis, N. A., Risse, B., Mangan, M., & Webb, B. (2019, August). Robustness of a model of the insects' celestial compass in realistic conditions. In International Conference on Invertebrate Vision, Bäckaskog Slott, Sweden.
poster

Gkanias, E., Lagogiannis, K., & Webb, B. (2018, October). Imitating the Drosophila Larval Learning Behaviour on a Robot. In Conference on Behavioral Neurogenetics of Drosophila Larva, the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
poster

Pacella, D., Risse, B., Gkanias, E., Mangan, M., & Webb, B. (2018, July). Neural models of ant navigation in a realistic 3D world. In International Comference of Neuroethology, Brisbane, Australia.
poster

Contact