Xuelong Sun enrolled as a PhD Scholar at the University of Lincoln in 2016. In 2017-18 he visited Tsinghua University as part of the STEP2DYNA project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program under the Marie Skolodowska-Curie grant agreement. During this secondment, Xuelong revisited the classical ring attractor model and demonstrated its application of bio-plausible optimal cue integration of directional cues.
Xuelong recently completed a 10 month secondment at the Guangzhou University in China as part of the ULTRACEPT project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program under the Marie Skolodowska-Curie grant agreement. He has been involved in Work Package 1 and 3.
When asked about his experiences Xuelong said:
Solving problems by taking inspiration from animals (so-called bio-inspired solutions) is one of the core ideas of our group-computational intelligence lab (CIL). As for me, insects are my best friend because of their amazing ability to use navigation and efficient collaboration to solve complex problems.
During this ten-month secondment, I continued my previous modeling work of insect navigation systems and have made great progress, by not only reproducing the main observed behavioural data of real insects, but also mapping specific computation to corresponding brain regions of the insects. We are making great contributions to the insect navigation community.
The paper presenting this work has been submited to eLife during the secondment (Dec 2019) and then has been accepted and published- A decentralised neural model explaining optimal integration of navigational strategies in insects. I also attended the online conference- Neuronmatch Conference in March 2020 to present this work.
As part of my researching interests cooperating with fellow ULTRACEPT researcher Tian Liu, we developed a platform called ColCOSՓ for social insects and swarm robotic researching. This platform consists of three parts, the arena (LED screen), the monitoring camera, and the micro-robot. Swarm robotic and social insects related experimental scenarios can be easily and flexibly conducted in this platform. Fellow ULTRACEPT researcher Dr Cheng Hu and I presented the platform physically at Guangdong (Foshan) Doctoral and Postdoctoral Talent Exchange and Technology Project Matchmaking Conference.
Another interesting experiment undertaken during my secondment is that we investigated the performance of LGMD model of collision avoidance in the context of city traffic. The real-world vehicle critical conditions always consist of severe crashes which are impractical to be replicated for experimenting, so we implemented the experiment on ColCOSՓ.
I co-authored a paper presenting the interesting results of this experiments and submitted it to Frontiers in Robotics and AI during the secondment in February 2020.
Besides this, I also attended the Convention on Exchange of Overseas Talent (OCS2020) and interviewed by Guangzhou TV. In the interview, I said that as a PhD that obtained the degree from abroad, what kind of career I want and what kind of support should be provided by the government.
See Xuelong being interviewed at the 1:32 mark:
I had a really great experience with my colleagues during the secondment.
Thank you for the support from the ULTRACEPT project which supported my secondment which benefited me a lot.