Nelson to present on code modification research

March 22, 2018
Cole Nelson

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – As only a sophomore, University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Cole Nelson has taken on a tough task. With the guidance of his research advisor, Dr. Songqing Yue – an assistant professor of computer science at UW-Platteville – he is exploring compiler theory and code modification. Nelson will share his findings with legislators, state leaders, UW alumni and members of the community at the annual Research in the Rotunda event in Madison, Wisconsin on Wednesday, April 11.

Nelson is working with a high level, specific code modification language called SPOT. One of the strengths of this coding language is its ability to modify multiple functions and files at once, limiting the amount of work a programmer would have to do. SPOT was written for C and C++ code. 

Although the project is not yet finished, Nelson said it’s “to the point where we’re satisfied with it.” In the future, Nelson would like to make the language more specific so programmers can specify exactly what they want to transform. “One of the sacrifices right now is that you can’t be as specific as you want by doing the nitty gritty work,” said Nelson, a native of Oostburg, Wisconsin. 

Nelson’s involvement in this research project began in spring 2017, when Yue asked if any students were interested in working on compiler theory with him. Yue had a startup grant to learn about the project. Once Nelson became more involved in the project, he applied for a grant through UW-Platteville’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. He was accepted and received a summer research grant. For any additional work, Nelson will have to reapply for an extension of this grant.

In addition to presenting his work at Research in the Rotunda, Nelson will also present at a UW System symposium on April 20 at UW-Green Bay. Nelson said he is hoping to gain some constructive criticism and new ideas from these events. He plans to apply the feedback he receives to further improve SPOT.

Written by: Olivia Joehl, Student Writer, Communications, 608-342-1194,


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