Michael Nelson – M.S. in Computer Science
Michael is from Midwest City, Oklahoma. His father is a software engineer and an overall big computer nerd who shared his passion with him really early on. As a child, Michael loved video games and liked to take apart his pokedex. He grew up wanting to break codes for the C.I.A. so he quickly enrolled in basic programming, the only CS class his high school offered. During his sophomore year, Michael was diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation: a problem with his heart valves leaking blood which required an open heart surgery that left him partially paralyzed on the left hand. However, this set back motivated Michael to succeed academically and he graduated valedictorian of Carl Alberts High School, qualifying for Honor Society and participating in Boys’ State. He now describes himself as the luckiest person in the world.
The Nelson family bleeds Crimson and Cream so OU was the obvious choice for Michael who came here as an undergraduate student and is now pursuing his M.S. in Computer Science. Since his beginning in the program, he enjoyed the social aspect of the CS community and immediately felt like he belonged. He’s particularly interested in the theory and network aspects of the discipline. Therefore, it’s not surprising that his favorite class was CS 5813 Formal Languages taught by Dr. Kim that he found challenging but the Presentation format was very appealing. One of the strengths of the program is how it teaches its students how to learn, according to Michael. Moreover, he loves the group projects, students bouncing ideas off of each other and the fact that it helps developing social skills.
Michael is supposed to finish his thesis under the supervision of Dr. Radhakrishnan in May 2015. It involves quad-tree compression on social networks to make access time faster while sacrificing minimal space for speed. He appreciates that Dr. Radhakrishnan is very involved in his research and knows as much as him about it. Michael is also a research assistant for Dr. Radhakrishnan and ODOT. His tasks include working on developing a program with server to store data on for PC and phone app. He enjoys the learning opportunity that working on this under the supervision of CS System Administrator Jonathan Mullen provides.
Sharing his love for Computer Science is very important for Michael and that is why he spends a lot of time volunteering to promote our department and its programs. He finds it important for everyone to learn programming. After finishing his M.S., he will pursue a PhD in Computer Science. Michael would like to have a career in academia so he can share his time between research and teaching. This mix will allow him to constantly learn new things at the same time as he will try to further the knowledge of students. He likes a campus environment and his dream job would be to become the OU CS Director.
Michael’s hobbies include playing video games, socializing and listening to music.