Originally from Maryland, Wes got his B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland University College. In 2008, Wes came to UMBC and is now a graduate student pursuing his Ph.D. in Computer Science. When he's not studying, Wes likes to watch movies or play board games.
When did you know you wanted to study Computer Science?
I've known I wanted to work in the field of computing since middle school when my family bought our first computer.
Are you part of any labs, clubs or organizations on campus?
I started the Student Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Chapter and still participate. I have been a member of the DIADIC and MAPLE labs and am currently a member of the VANGOGH lab.
What are you researching for your thesis?
I am exploring quality-guided variable-bit-rate texture compression and real-time decompression on graphics hardware.
Are you involved in any other research projects?
I am finishing up work on a grant that developed and adapted 2D and 3D applications for high-quality rendering on tiled head-mounted displays. Prior to this I worked on a project that developed decision support tools to support the Howard County Public School System redistricting process. Before that, I researched distributed data mining techniques for large astronomy datasets.
Have you had any internships?
Thanks to my advisor, Dr. Marc Olano, I spent a summer working in the graphics group at Firaxis Games (the developers of Sid Meier's Civilization series). My internship was an excellent experience in the game development industry.
What is your dream job?
My dream jobs are being a professor of computer science at a research university or working at Pixar. I plan to continue in academia as a tenure-track professor after graduation.
On UMBC and CSEE…
What was your first impression of UMBC?
Having spent several years at a large university, I liked the closeness of UMBC, with all of the buildings together. Although the first time I came to campus for a visit, the power was out and everyone was heading home!
What was your first Computer Science Course?
Here at UMBC it was Research Skills for Computer Science (CMSC 601), Design and Analysis of Algorithms (CMSC 641) and a special topics course on Social Web Technologies taught by Dr. Harry Chen.
What was your favorite Computer Science Course?
Advanced Graphics (CMSC 635) and Graphics for Games (CMSC 691) have been my favorite courses. I also enjoyed Advanced Computer Architecture (CMSC 611) and Introduction to Machine Learning (CMSC 678). I recommend all of those courses, as well as Research Skills.
What do you like about the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (CSEE) Department?
The department is small enough that while here I have been able to meet and interact with most of the faculty. However, the department has enough faculty that there is plenty of research happening and a pretty good selection of courses being offered.
How would you describe the professors in the department?
I have found the professors to be engaging, interested in research as well as teaching, very friendly, and easy to talk with.
What advice would you give to incoming graduate students?
The first year of graduate school can be a big adjustment, don't get discouraged. Attend as many lab meetings (from as many labs) as you can early on. Don't worry about not understanding everything, just by going you will make connections with other students, especially senior graduate students, who are more than willing to answer questions and help you. Also, by visiting multiple labs you will get to see the different research projects happening and hopefully find something that is interesting to you.