My name is Emmanouil Vasileios Vlatakis Gkaragkounis. I am a PhD student in Theoritical Computer Science at Columbia University, where my advisors are Prof. Rocco Servedio, Michalis Yannakakis and Alex Andoni. Previously, I received a Bachelor & M.Sc. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from one of Greece's "Grand Schools", in ECE Department of National Technical University of Athens. Finally, during my high school studies, I was awarded the Bronze Medal in the International Fundamental Aerospace Contest, organized by NASA. My general research interests are Computational & Machine Learning Theory, Randomized & MCMC Algorithms, and Metric Embeddings & Cognitive Algebras. Currently, my study also focuses on designing cognitive solution concepts in Natural Language Processing tasks. I am also a member of Cretan American Association, where I teach folklore Cretan dance and Byzantine music.
The tales I was raised on are a bit different from those that most children have heard. Mine were stories of a young Cretan boy, son of a poor carpenter, who was accepted by the greatest Technical University in Greece to become an engineer. It was the story of my uncle. He was the first to introduce me to computer science, giving me his first ATARI computer to teach me programming. Growing up in a family of teachers, I have learned to appreciate knowledge and its power to change the world. My teenage love in sciences motivated me towards engineering studies and the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) was the obvious choice. Now, my undergraduate experience has motivated me to pursue PhD. Studies in Computer Science in a top quality university with a long term goal to contribute to the field as a researcher.
September 2016 - Present
I am currently a PhD student in Computer Science at Columbia University in New York working with Prof. Rocco Servedio, Alex Andoni, Mihail Yannakakis. My main areas of study are Learning Theory, Property Testing and, more generally, randomized algorithms. However, I do also have a strong interest in online and approximation Algorithms, as well as stochastic processes.
September 2010 - July 2016
Completing the 5 year Diploma in ECE with an expected GPA 9.8/10 (1% of my class) and with a number of distinctions, including a yearly scholarship by the State's Scholarships Foundation and two NTUA prizes for excelling in mathematics, I believe I have built a strong background on computer science, mathematics and control theory.I was also involved in advanced graduate study groups where I gave lectures in Information Theory, Algorithmic Mechanism Design and Learning Theory. With the encouragement of my supervisor Professor Dimitris Fotakis, I studied Computational Statistical Learning over the last two years. The elections seem to be an ideal noisy sample space to apply these new sparsification learning techniques in order to reveal the underlying "ground truths". We were able to generalize existing results about Kemeny rule's sample effciency without the constraint of the common parametrization in Mallow's Model over the electorate.
May 2013 - June 2014
I was blessed when my teachers at school introduced me to the beauty of cracking hard mathematical challenges. They urged me to participate in National Mathematics and Physics Olympiads, where I was fortunate to earn awards. During my senior years in high school because of my insatiable curiosity to discover how such different disciplines could be interconnected, I participated in the 2008 NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Competition in the technical area of Supersonic Aircraft Design, earning the Bronze Medal.
February 2015 - Present
The purpose of this joint work in the field of machine learning and more specifically on manifold representations with Professor Alexandros Potamianos and PhD candidate Georgia Athanassopoulou is to design efficient cognitively- motivated algorithms, that radically depart from the unified metric space assumption (aka the real-world bias) but respect macroscopic cognitive principles such as low dimensionality and hierarchy. Even though our motivation lies in computational linguistics, we believe that the proposed framework should be of independent interest. Instead of adding constraints as training tricks to regularize task-specific objective functions assuming a priori good geometric conditions like metric subadditivity, we introduce general heuristics applicable even to semimetric or premetric spaces.
May 2014 - May 2015
In collaboration with Professor Michalis Loulakis, I undertake the full organization and supervision of the laboratory session in Stochastic Processes, where students are introduced to MCMC techniques. After his proposal and a fruitful TAship, I had the opportunity to participate in the writing process of the first greek academic e-book of Discrete-time Stochastic Processes and Markov Chains by constructing parallely a converter Latex to EPUB3 Protocol.
I was happy, I knew that. While experiencing happiness, we have difficulty in being conscious of it. Only when the happiness is past and we look back on it do we suddenly realize - sometimes with astonishment - how happy we had been.
Performance of NTUA Greek Traditional Dance Club 2015
Performance of NTUA Greek Traditional Dance Club 2012
If Alma in Greek means Jump in Spanish means Soul
Men's martial dance that is danced in the region of Anogia, with special characteristics the hopping steps and the strong taps of the feet in the ground. It seems that it springs from an ancient dance of the Kourites. The hands of dancers are hold from the palms crosswise and form a dance of twelve steps (six steps forward, six steps backwards). It is attributed with a lyre and a lute.
Faith is to believe what you can not see.
The reward of this faith is to see what you believe
If you deconstruct Greece, you will in the end see an olive tree, a grapevine, and a boat remain. That is, with as much, you reconstruct her. Odysseas Elytis
Ποτέ του να μην λισμονά κανείς τους τόπους που τ'ορίζα
Δεν έχει αξία το δεντρό άμα δεν έχει ρίζα.
Do not forget the places, the country that define you
The unrooted tree is always nugatory.
GrandFather: Emmanouil Vlatakis
Uncle: Yannis Vlatakis
Me: Emmanouil Vasileios Vlatakis Gkaragkounis
We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds.
I had to grow old my boy to learn what happiness really is. Turns out happiness is a pair of hands, two hands. Those that will hug you, hold you, get you to sleep, take care of you, cook for you, caress you and at the end close your eyes. Too many hands will just stunt you. A waste of time. You’ll witness this as you grow older.
An old small cretan poem/song recorded with an old cretan friend A byzantine psalm recorded in the church of Cappadocian Fathers/Three Hierarchs in National Technical University of Athens
Ellinon Patrioton 23,Kareas
Zip Code: 16233 GR