Nick Roberts PhD Student Department of Computer Sciences
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Advisor: Frederic Sala

Email: nick11roberts [at] cs [dot] wisc [dot] edu
Office: CS Dept. 5384, 1210 W Dayton St, Madison, WI 53706

  • Small Molecule Accurate Recognition Technology (SMART) to Enhance Natural Products Research
    Chen Zhang*, Yerlan Idelbayev*, Nicholas Roberts, Yiwen Tao, Yashwanth Nannapaneni, Brendan M. Duggan, Jie Min, Eugene C. Lin, Erik C. Gerwick, Garrison W. Cottrell, William H. Gerwick.
    Scientific Reports 2017.

    Poster: Small Molecule Accurate Recognition Technology (SMART): A Digital Frontier to Reshape Natural Product Research
    Chen Zhang*, Yerlan Idelbayev*, Nicholas Roberts (presenter), Yiwen Tao, Yashwanth Nannapaneni, Brendan M. Duggan, Jie Min, Eugene C. Lin, Erik C. Gerwick, Garrison W. Cottrell, William H. Gerwick.
    Best Spotlight Presentation Award: Applied Machine Learning Days 2018.

University of Wisconsin–Madison

Ph.D. Computer Science
August 2021 - Present

Carnegie Mellon University

M.S. Machine Learning
August 2019 - May 2021
  • MSML Student Committee Leader

University of California, San Diego

B.S. Computer Science
Mathematics minor
CSE Honors Program
September 2015 - March 2019
Magna Cum Laude
CSE Highest Distinction

Fresno City College

Computer Science
Leon S. Peters Honors Program
August 2013 - May 2015
  • Tutor for CIT 65 (Android Application Development)
  • Mathematics Tutor
  • Computer Science Tutor
  • President/Founder, Google Developer Group Fresno City College
  • Treasurer, Science and Engineering Club

Sala Group

research assistant
  • Research related to Weak Supervision and Automated Machine Learning supervised by Fred Sala.


research assistant
  • Research related to Neural Architecture Search supervised by Ameet Talwalkar

Amazon AI

applied scientist intern
  • Researched and developed methods for hypothesis rescoring in ASR systems using neural language modeling
  • Identified areas for improvement in many existing ASR systems when recognizing rare or zero shot entities
  • Technologies used: Python, PyTorch, RWTH ASR, Kaldi, AWS


ai fellow
machine learner intern
  • Researched various ways in which research from network neuroscience could be applied to deep learning
  • Developed a novel model extraction attack against deep learning models for computer vision using just noise inputs
  • Technologies used: Python, Keras, PyTorch, TensorFlow, MATLAB, AWS

Intuit Futures

software engineering intern
  • Researched and implemented a novel deep learning model for controllable text generation as a service within Intuit
  • Developed a system for proposing alternative candidate sentences for Intuit content writers using deep learning
  • Investigated the use of dynamic topic models for customer support tickets to gain actionable insights over time
  • Technologies used: Python, PyTorch, TensorFlow, Gensim, Keras


applied scientist intern
  • Developed language model to extract NLP features from text data regarding cryptocurrency trading
  • Investigated unsupervised learning techniques for extracting sentiment data in real time from online forums
  • Technologies used: Python, PyTorch

The Cottrell Lab

machine learning researcher
  • Published, Scientific Reports:
    • "Small Molecule Accurate Recognition Technology (SMART) to Enhance Natural Products Research"
  • Presented SMART research at the Applied Machine Learning Days 2018 conference at EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland
    • Won an award for Best Spotlight Presentation
  • Analyzed performance of deep learning system for natural products research with Scripps Institute of Oceanography
  • Explored the effects of artificial experimental noise added to the dataset and showed resistance to gaussian noise
  • Improved quality of image dataset by identifying and handling noisy outliers using principal component analysis
  • Technologies used: Python, Tensorflow, Lasagne, Theano, SciPy


software engineering intern
  • Developed open source Spark-Teradata connector forked from Databricks’ connector for AWS Redshift in Scala
  • Designed and implemented Teradata stored procedures in Java to mimic Redshift’s UNLOAD and COPY using S3
  • Improved training methodology and architecture of deep learning time series model used internally
  • Implemented system for updating the time series dataset and fine tuning the deep learning model
  • Technologies used: Scala, Java, Maven, Teradata SQL, AWS, Tensorflow, Flask

The Comeback Community

volunteer full stack developer
  • Developed site in Go, gohtml, and CSS on Google App Engine
  • Mentored new developers in web development
  • Technologies used: Go, Google App Engine, gohtml, HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript


software engineering intern
  • Developed web crawler to compile needfinding and product data using Scrapy and Selenium
  • Designed and implemented an extensible product search solution designed to handle future user search needs
  • Technologies used: Python, Scrapy, Selenium, Django, MySQL, JavaScript


software engineering intern
  • Implemented new user account, edit profile, and login designs in Objective-C for iOS application
  • Refactored analytics code for gathering statistics on app usage, helping designers make more informed choices
  • Technologies used: Objective-C, Cocoa Touch, Flurry Analytics

I am a Ph.D. student in CS at University of Wisconsin – Madison where I am advised by Fred Sala. Before that, I had the pleasure of working with Ameet Talwalkar and Zack Lipton during my MS at Carnegie Mellon University. As an undergraduate, I was extremely fortunate to work with both Sanjoy Dasgupta and Gary Cottrell at the University of California, San Diego. Before that, I was a community college student at Fresno City College, where I was lucky enough to learn calculus, linear algebra, AND C++ from Greg Jamison.

I am broadly interested in making machine learning more accessible and applicable to new domains. As of recent, I’ve been particularly interested in model selection and automation.

Other interests: caffeine (broadly), photography, pottery.

Extracurricular: I’m an ordained Dudeist priest so I’m pretty sure I can officiate weddings. I’m also the Head Researcher of Margarita Machine Lounge Therapy at Vacation Inc. - I encourage you to check out our selection of luxury sunscreens. My Toyota Prius is unofficially the fastest Prius at Bonneville Speedway.