## About me
I studied computer science at the [Faculty of Computer Science](https://www.fri.uni-lj.si/en/), [University of Ljubljana](https://www.uni-lj.si/eng/), where I finished the classical 4.5 year programme with a diploma thesis in 2007.
I completed PhD in computer science at the [Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School](http://www.mps.si/splet/index.asp?lang=eng) in 2013. During my PhD studies I held the young researcher position (2007-2013) which was financed by the [Slovenian research agency](http://www.arrs.gov.si/en/mr/).
Since 2011 I am regularly involved as a teaching assistant at the [University of Nova Gorica](http://www.ung.si/en/).
From 2013-2014 I was a teaching assistant at the
[Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Ljubljana](https://www.fmf.uni-lj.si/en/).
Currently, I am a researcher in computer science at the [Department of Knowledge Technologies](http://kt.ijs.si/) at the [Jožef Stefan Institute](http://www.ijs.si/ijsw/JSI).
My research interests are lately focused on:
* robotics ([NAO humanoid robot](#nao-robot)) and artificial consciousness
* data analysis (especially graphs, biological data and text)
* computational creativity
In the past I have worked on several other topics as well: service-oriented technologies and applications, computer and natural language processing methods in systems biology, gene expression analysis, graph drawing, scientific workflow platforms, ontologies for data mining and knowledge discovery.
I have been involved in numerous workshops, conferences, schools, exhibitions and other events (can't remember all of them but they can very likely be found with Google).
* Check out [**Biomine**](http://biomine.ijs.si/), a system for link discovery in biological databases. I continue the development of Biomine which was created by the team lead by [Hannu Toivonen](http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/u/htoivone/) at the University of Helsinki. Biomine is an enormous system (wrote in several programming languages) but well organised and optimised for speed. I wrote a new web front-end and API, added many new functions, fixed plenty of bugs, and moved the system to 64-bit. I also perform regular updates of the databases. Big thanks to Atte, Kimmo, Lauri and Peteri for handing over the code and the knowledge!
* I also developed [**SegMine**](http://segmine.ijs.si/) and [**Orange4WS**](http://orange4ws.ijs.si/) (they are not maintained anymore).
* I contribute regularly to the [**ClowdFlows**](http://clowdflows.org/) platform [repository](http://source.ijs.si/kt/mothra).
* There is a lot of other software pieces I wrote through the years. One of the larger ones was an application for controlling the computer with your voice (very useful for users with motor disabilities). It was built with Microsoft SAPI 5 and it worked really well (better than expensive commercial software).
I am a determined supporter of open source and I do all my work using open source software.
### Invited talks, seminars, awards, etc.
* January 2017: I received the **Prometheus of science** award by the [Slovene Science Foundation](http://www.u-szf.si/zahvalni-dan-szf-donatorjem-sponzorjem-in-komunikatorjem-znanosti/) for "all-round promotion of robotics, especially the NAO humanoid robot among young people". Here is a photo of the event (click to enlarge):
* September 2016: I received a **special MOS recognition award** at the [**49th MOS (International Trade and Business Fair)**](http://www.ce-sejem.si/en/fairs/2016/49th-mos) for my demonstration and presentation of the NAO robot and my robot applications (see below for information about them). Here is a picture from the award ceremony (click to enlarge):
* October 2015: invited talk at the [TTT](http://www.ttt-conference.com/) conference: [**_I, Robot or How NAO Learned to Talk to People_**](http://2015.ttt-conference.com/speakers/vid-podpecan/). The event was recorded and you can watch the complete [video of the presentation](http://video.iolar.com/ttt2015_podpecan_i_robot/) and an [excerpt (interview with NAO featuring the Chatty app)](https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BykRVL4kZ5KlR2ZTaDEyY1Jyb2s/view?usp=sharing).
Here are two photos of the event (click to enlarge):
[![posing with NAO](img/ttt-1-small.jpg)](img/ttt-1.jpg)
[![posing with NAO](img/ttt-2-small.jpg)](img/ttt-2.jpg)
* June 2015: interview, ARS radio (in Slovene): [**_NAO - robot, ki sliši in govori_**](http://ars.rtvslo.si/2015/06/nao-robot-ki-slisi-in-govori/). A follow-up of the JOTA talk.
* May 2015: [JOTA talk](http://www.sdjt.si/wp/dogodki/jota/) (in Slovene): [**_Robot, ki sliši in govori_**](http://www.sdjt.si/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/JOTA-25.5.2015.pdf) (in Slovene). See the videos [here](http://videolectures.net/single_podpecan_robot/).
* February, March 2015: [MySQL workshop](https://www.fmf.uni-lj.si/si/obvestila/32483/) (in Slovene): Introductory 4 hour course to MySQL with hands-on lab exercises at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics. It was very popular and repeated four times. The material (in Slovene) is available [here](http://ropot.ijs.si/mysql/).
## NAO robot
Since our department bought the [NAO robot](https://www.aldebaran.com/en/humanoid-robot/nao-robot) I implemented many interesting and funny robot applications. Many of them are focused on human-robot interaction. Here is a list of some of the events where I exhibited my work with NAO:
* January 2017: **Mr. Cheerful**: A performance of [Mr. Cheerful](http://mrmen.wikia.com/wiki/Mr._Cheerful) (in Slovene) in the [Good Shepherd Kindergarten](http://en.stanislav.si/units/good-shepard-kindergarden/) in Ljubljana. This was a longer performance and besides the play and the pantomime NAO also performed aerobic exercise with the public! Here is a few photos of the event (click to enlarge):
I also got drawings of NAO from the kids! Some of their beautiful creations are here (click to enlarge). If you are wondering why NAO wears a hat - it's because he plays Mr. Cheerful who always wears a hat (read the story to learn why...).
* September 2016: **49th MOS (International Trade and Business Fair)**: I presented and demonstrated the NAO robot and my applications for four consecutive days and received **a special MOS recognition award** for my efforts. Hundreds if not thousands of visitors of all ages visited the stall to play with NAO! Many politicians, directors, headmasters and other big shots came to the stall to see NAO chat and dance. I have demonstrated different NAO aplications:
* **NAO live chat**: a chatbot web applications with NAO answering your questions. Two modes are available, _smartass_ and _knowledge bot_. The first one is a typical ALICE bot whereas the second is a huge source of knowledge facts (but has very little conversational abilities)
* **Chatty**: Chat with NAO directly (uses Google speech recognition)
* **NAO dance**: disco dance, Taichi and Gangnam style
I also explained the basics of NAO programming to anyone who expressed interest in NAO and in programming humanoid robots.
Here are few photos of the event (click to enlarge):
[![posing with NAO](img/posingwithnao-small.jpg)](img/posingwithnao.jpg)
[![politicians and NAO](img/nao-visitors-small.jpg)](img/nao-visitors.jpg)
[![NAO stall sideview](img/naostall-sideview-small.jpg)](img/naostall-sideview.jpg)
* May 2016: **ICCC 2016 video competition**: I submitted a short video clip featuring the WHIMBOT NAO application to the video competition of [The Seventh International conference on computational creativity (ICCC 2016)](http://www.computationalcreativity.net/iccc2016/). It was just a funny demo of my work with NAO in the context of the [EU FP7 WHIM project](http://www.whim-project.eu/). It did not win but I had fun making it all the same. You can see the video [here](https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BykRVL4kZ5KlUWZXeURCU3N1d3M/view?usp=sharing).
* March 2016: **JSI open day**: I demonstrated the NAO robot for visitors of the Institute. A selection of robot applications and some live programming was demonstrated the whole morning at the main entrance of the Institute. I had lots of fun and the visitors were very amused!
* February 2016: **Mr. Cheerful**: Another performance of [Mr. Cheerful](http://mrmen.wikia.com/wiki/Mr._Cheerful) (in Slovene), this time in the [Rožle subsidiary](http://vrtec-jarse.si/index.php/S=0/stran/enote/enota_rozle) of kintergarten [Vrtec Jarše](http://vrtec-jarse.si/index.php/S=0/stran/enote/enota_kekec). NAO also performed a pantomime!
* February 2016: **O barvici, ki je hotela plesati**: I programmed NAO to participate in the play _"O barvici, ki je hotela plesati"_ written by Jasna Knez and performed by [CUDV Draga](http://www.center-db.si/) in the [**3rd theatre festival Tantadruj**](http://www.spanskiborci.si/7/903/tantadruj-festival.html). Here are two pictures of our drama team (click to enlarge):
[![CUDV team picture 1](img/barvica1-small.jpg)](img/barvica1.jpg) [![CUDV team picture 2](img/barvica2-small.jpg)](img/barvica2.jpg)
* November 2015: **Mr. Cheerful**: My girlfriend and I have produced and performed the Roger Hargreaves' play
[**Mr. Cheerful**](http://mrmen.wikia.com/wiki/Mr._Cheerful) (in Slovene) where NAO plays the lead role. It was performed in the
[Kekec subsidiary](http://vrtec-jarse.si/index.php/S=0//stran/enote/enota_kekec) of kindergarten [Vrtec Jarše](http://vrtec-jarse.si/index.php/S=0/stran/enote/enota_kekec). See the video [here](https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BykRVL4kZ5KlMXo1RzRWbndEMFk/view?usp=sharing).
I got a beautiful drawing of NAO as a gift from one of the kids! Click to enlarge: [![NAO is Mr. Cheerful](img/nao-cheerful-small.jpg)](img/nao-cheerful.jpg)
* October 2015: **The future is NAO!** I presented two NAO applications at [ICT 2015](http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/ict2015-innovate-connect-transform-lisbon-20-22-october-2015) in Lisbon. Together with my colleague [Jasmina Smailović](http://kt.ijs.si/jasmina_smailovic/) who draw the pictures I made a [nice flyer](img/the_future_is_nao.png).
I presented two NAO applications:
* **Chatty**: a NAO chat application which uses [AIML](http://www.alicebot.org/aiml.html) and Google speech recognition. Very amusing! :)
See an older video of chatting with NAO [here](http://videolectures.net/single_podpecan_robot/). An updated application was demonstrated at my [invited talk at the TTT conference](#invited-talks-seminars-etc-).
* **WHIMBOT**: a NAO chat application where humans evaluate computer-generated creative ideas
I built a cute little cardboard house for NAO to isolate him from noise to improve speech recognition accuracy. Not also it served this task very well, it was also a great attraction! Our stall, NAO's cardboard home and me typing on my laptop can be seen on this official ICT summing up video. I got 1 second of fame :) Check this [Youtube video](https://www.youtube.com/v/8zpMRil8YpU?start=52) video at 0.52 (in the center of the picture):
[![ICT video screenshot](img/ict-small.jpg)](img/ict.jpg)
* June 2015: The **Robonocchio** play was performed again at [Druga violina](https://www.facebook.com/drugaviolina). Check out the photos [here](https://www.facebook.com/drugaviolina/photos/a.873242442749034.1073741866.367320286674588/873262899413655/?type=3&theater).
* June 2015: My colleagues [Miha Grčar](http://mihagrcar.org/) and [Jasmina Smailović](http://kt.ijs.si/jasmina_smailovic/) and I produced and implemented a modern adaptation of [Pinnochio](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinocchio) called **Robonocchio** (Robostržek in Slovene). Miha wrote the story and played a supporting role, Jasmina did the artwork and I helped with NAO programming. Other people were involved as well, see [Miha's blog](http://blog.pixelpai.com/2015/06/robostrzek.html) for more. Here is a [video](https://youtu.be/_u0uxLy57gI) of the event performed in the kidergarten.
* April 2015: I presented the **WHIMBOT** NAO application at the [_Show, tell, Imagine_ event](http://prosecco-network.eu/sites/default/files/prosecco_show_tell_imagine_flyer_0.pdf) at Queen Mary, University of London. See the flyer of the event [here](http://prosecco-network.eu/sites/default/files/prosecco_show_tell_imagine_flyer_0.pdf). A video was recorded by a TV team but is not available (to my knowledge).
* October 2014: a paper at the [ISOLA 2014 conference](http://www.cs.uni-potsdam.de/isola/isola2014/index.html): [**A visual programming approach to beat-driven humanoid robot dancing**](http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-662-45231-8_34).
I used [aubio](http://aubio.org/) to extract beats and programmed NAO to perform dance gestures according to the beat. Simple but fun! See NAO dancing to the Ottawan's hit _Hands up_ [here](https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BykRVL4kZ5KlcVhSRzd2UnZNekU/view?usp=sharing).
* June 2014: our NAO opens the session on computer-generated poetry at the [ICCC 2014 conference](http://computationalcreativity.net/iccc2014/).
### NAO software
* **nao_gesturesync**: I wrote an animation engine which you can use to make NAO perform his built-in speech gestures for an unsupported language. All you need is an audio file in the unsupported language and a text file which tells when to perform which gesture. [See the project on GitHub](https://github.com/vpodpecan/nao-gesturesync).
If you are interested in my other NAO applications (see above) please write me an email. Many of them require additional software to be installed on NAO so they are not trivial to set up. I decided not to upload them to GitHub as this would mean writing extensive documentation and answering tons of questions.
I have been actively involved in the following projects:
* [PD_manager](http://www.parkinson-manager.eu/): Mhealth platform for Parkinson's Disease management
* [BISON](http://www.bisonet.eu/): Bisociation Networks for Creative Information Discovery
* [ENVISION](http://www.envision-project.eu): ENVIronmental Services Infrastructure with ONtologies
* [MUSE](http://www.muse-project.eu/): Machine Understanding for interactive StorytElling
Courses at the [University of Nova Gorica](http://www.ung.si/en/)
* [Knowledge management](http://ropot.ijs.si/UNG2016)
Courses at the [University of Nova Gorica](http://www.ung.si/en/)
* [Knowledge discovery](http://ropot.ijs.si/UNG2015)
Courses at the [Faculty of Mathematics and Physics](https://www.fmf.uni-lj.si/en/)
* [Introduction to programming](https://www.fmf.uni-lj.si/si/studij-matematike/prakticna-matematika/uvod-v-programiranje/) (mathematics education programme)
* [Computer databases](https://www.fmf.uni-lj.si/si/studij-matematike/prakticna-matematika/podatkovne-baze/) (practical mathematics programme)
* [Introduction to programming](https://www.fmf.uni-lj.si/si/studij-matematike/pedagoska-matematika/uvod-v-programiranje/) (practical mathematics programme)
* [Doing mathematics with a computer](https://www.fmf.uni-lj.si/si/studij-matematike/interdisciplinarni-univerzitetni-studijski-program-racunalnistvo-in-matematika-II/matematika-z-racunalnikom/)(interdisciplinary study of computer science and mathematics)
Courses at the [University of Nova Gorica](http://www.ung.si/en/)
* [Knowledge management](http://ropot.ijs.si/UNG2014)
### 2013 and older
Materials for the courses at [University of Nova Gorica](http://www.ung.si/en/)
* [2013 (Knowledge management)](http://ropot.ijs.si/UNG2013)
* [2012 (Knowledge management)](http://ropot.ijs.si/UNG2012)
* [2011 (Knowledge discovery)](http://ropot.ijs.si/UNG2011)
A complete list of all my publications can be found by searching with my last and first name in the [COBISS search engine](http://splet02.izum.si/cobiss/BibPersonal.jsp?init=t&lang=eng&code=&type=conor).
Here are links to some relevant or interesting pages:
* [Biomine link discovery system](http://biomine.ijs.si/)
* [SegMine methodology](http://segmine.ijs.si/)
* [Orange4WS platform](http://orange4ws.ijs.si/)
* [Slackware Linux](http://www.slackware.com/)
* [Mistika besede](http://www.mistika-besede.si)
* [Projekt Novoveški nagrobnik](http://nagrobnik.net/)