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Christopher Kanan


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 198-235
Pasadena, CA 91101


(818) 354-5017


(818) 393-5007

Christopher Kanan

Research Technologist


Christopher Kanan is a researcher in JPLs Mobility and Robotic Systems Section. He works on problems in computer vision, with an emphasis in object recognition, object detection, and active vision. Much of his current work is aimed at developing perception systems for autonomous robots.
Dr. Kanan has also done research in machine learning, eye tracking, and theoretical neuroscience.


Ph.D. in Computer Science, 2013, University of California San Diego.
M.S. in Computer Science, 2006, University of Southern California.
B.S. in Philosophy and Computer Science, 2004, Oklahoma State University.

Professional Experience

Research Technologist, JPL, Pasadena, CA, 2014 - Present.
Caltech Postdoctoral Scholar at JPL, California Institute of Technology, 2013 - 2014.
Postdoctoral Scholar, University of California San Diego, 2013.
Research Intern, HRL Laboratories, 2005 - 2007.

Research Interests

Object Recognition
Object Detection
Active Vision
Self-taught Feature Learning
Machine Perception
Eye Movements


  1. C Kanan, "Fine-Grained Object Recognition with Gnostic Fields," Proceedings of the IEEE Winter Applications of Computer Vision Conference (WACV-2014), 01 January 2014.
  2. C Kanan, N Ray, D Bseiso, J Hsiao, GW Cottrell, "Predicting an Observer’s Task Using Multi-Fixation Pattern Analysis," Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Eye Tracking Research and Applications (ETRA-2014), 01 January 2014.
  3. D Khosla, DJ Huber, C Kanan, "A Neuromorphic System for Visual Object Recognition," Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures 8: 33-45, 01 January 2014.
  1. C Kanan, "Active Object Recognition with a Space-Variant Retina," ISRN Machine Vision, 2013:138057. doi:10.1155/2013/138057., 01 January 2013.
  2. C Kanan, "Recognizing Sights, Smells, and Sounds with Gnostic Fields," PLoS ONE: e54088. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054088, 01 January 2013.
  1. E Birmingham, T Meixner, G Iarocci, C Kanan, D Smilek, J Tanaka, "The Moving Window Technique: A Window into Age-Related Changes in Attention to Facial Expressions of Emotion," Child Development, 84: 1407-1424, 01 January 2012.
  2. C Kanan, GW Cottrell, "Color-to-Grayscale: Does the Method Matter in Image Recognition?," PLoS ONE, 7(1): e29740 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029740, 01 January 2012.
  3. D Khosla, C Kanan, D Huber, S Chelian, N Srinivasa, "Visual Attention and Object Recognition System," U.S. Patent No. 8,165,407, 01 January 2012.
  1. C Kanan, GW Cottrell, "Robust Classification of Objects, Faces, and Flowers Using Natural Image Statistics," Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR-2010), 01 January 2010.
  2. C Kanan, A Flores, GW Cottrell, "Color Constancy Algorithms for Object and Face Recognition," Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 6453: 199-210, 01 January 2010.
  1. C Kanan, MH Tong, L Zhang, GW Cottrell, "SUN: Top-down saliency using natural statistics," Visual Cognition, 17: 979-1003, 01 January 2009.