From Rosie Supercomputer Super Challenge runner-up to an NVIDIA machine learning engineer in a matter of weeks, Nigel Nelson closed out his senior year with gusto.
Nelson’s Rosie Supercomputer Super Challenge submission was an undergraduate research project with the goal of building a machine learning pipeline that was capable of predicting the presence of prostate cancer using only MRI images. He built from another student’s past work, Alex Ruchti, who worked to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) model that could transfer histology (tissue) cancer annotations over to associated MRI images.
“I researched, trained and evaluated AI models that were trained on these MRI cancer annotations,” said Nelson. “I was able to present a pair of models that were capable, to some degree, of predicting the locations and grades of cancerous regions within MRI images of prostate.”
A few weeks after strutting his AI expertise at the Rosie Supercomputer Super Challenge, Nelson walked the graduation stage and then packed his bags for California to embark on his new journey at NVIDIA as a machine learning engineer on the Holoscan team. Holoscan is an AI platform for medical devices. “I am responsible for training, evaluating and optimizing AI models for the Holoscan SDK. This will largely focus on medical imaging applications.”
Landing a job at NVIDIA straight out of college was a “literal dream come true” for Nelson. “I am extremely passionate about applying AI to the medical domain, so to receive an offer from NVIDIA—the company that is at the heart of all the exciting new innovations in AI—within their medical imaging team is literally a perfect fit and I still can’t believe it’s real. It makes all of the late nights and sacrifices I made at MSOE worth it.”
Access to Rosie the supercomputer and early exposure to AI work in the computer science program set Nelson up for success. “I may be biased, but MSOE’s computer science program is unlike any other undergraduate computer science program I’ve heard of,” said Nelson. Beginning freshman year, Nelson was taught how to train AI computer vision models, something he says is usually reserved for junior or senior year in other computer science programs. “In addition, having access to Rosie allowed me to experiment with state-of-the-art models, something usually only those with advanced degrees are able to do.”
Outside of the classroom, Nelson enjoyed playing on the MSOE hockey team his freshman, sophomore and junior years. Prior to joining MSOE, the Crystal Lake, Illinois-native played hockey on the Springfield Jr. Blues in the North American Hockey League (NAHL).
As Nelson prepares for his next journey, he looks back at his time at MSOE with pride.
“I feel extremely fortunate to have gone to MSOE. Going directly into a machine learning engineer position at a company like NVIDIA is exceedingly rare for an undergraduate, and I have no doubt that I have MSOE to thank.”