Christopher Kanan's Home Page

About Me

Click here if you aren't automatically redirected to my new website.

Christopher Kanan I am a Computer Science Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). I study brain-inspired algorithms for machine perception, i.e., I try to make smarter machines by studying how the brain works.

My primary interest is active perception for object recognition, and my doctoral thesis is focused on building computational models of task-driven saccadic decision making during visual search, object recognition, and face identification.

My research fuses findings and methods from computer vision, machine learning, psychology, and theoretical neuroscience. I intend to graduate in 2013. I'm a member of Gary Cottrell's research group.

Outreach & Service

I was General Chair for the 5th Annual inter-Science of Learning Center Conference (iSLC), which was held April 21-23, 2012. The meeting was sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and more than 100 scientists attended.

I am actively involved in the Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center and I served as Chair of the graduate student and postdoc committee from 2009-2012.

While most of my time is spent engaged in research, I also promote diversity in graduate education. I've given talks at the California Forum for Diversity and at several California State Universities to help undergraduates obtain a better idea of how to get into a Ph.D. program and what is expected of them once they are accepted.


I grew up in a tiny town in rural Oklahoma, where I first began to explore artificial intelligence in 1996 by creating "bots" to play online multiplayer computer games in high school. As an undergraduate at Oklahoma State University, I double majored in philosophy and computer science. Subsequently, I earned a M.S. in computer science from the University of Southern California (USC) , with an emphasis in artificial intelligence and neuroscience while working with Michael Arbib, an early pioneer in computational neuroscience and neural networks. I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in computer science at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) .

Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0404
La Jolla, CA 92093-0404

Email: ckanan AT ucsd DOT cs DOT ucsd DOT edu