Meet Computer Science Professor Dr. Christian Roberson

Sep 7, 2016

by Dr. Christian Roberson
Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Hi there! My name is Dr. Christian Roberson and I am the newest member of the Computer Science faculty at Florida Southern. I’m excited to be returning to Florida and joining the faculty here. 

I lived in Gainesville for 18 years, attending University of Florida for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. For the last nine years I have been a member of the Computer Science and Technology Department at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. During my time I served as the coach of the department’s programming team, advisor to the Technology Development Club, and spent my last four years as the chair of the department.

This fall, in addition to teaching a section of Introduction to Computer Science with Dr. Mathias, I’ll be teaching a course on Mobile Apps, and a course titled Computer Organization and Architecture. I think all three courses should be a great deal of fun.

In the Mobile Apps course we’ll be learning the fundamentals of developing applications for Android devices, and students will get the chance to build a fully-functional application for use on Android phones. Unlike traditional computers and laptops, mobile devices have much greater limitations on resources like memory, space, and battery life. We’ll be learning techniques to deal with creating applications that will run effectively in this type of environment.

“College is about so much more than just classes, exams, and grades, and creating opportunities for students to socialize is important for helping to develop that sense of belonging.”
Dr. Christian Roberson

In computer organization we’ll take a closer look at the fundamental building blocks that make up the components inside computers. This will include learning about the circuits and digital logic gates that perform all the calculations and store all the information used to run computer’s software. We’ll also be taking a look at assembly language, a low-level programming language used to provide instructions run by the CPU.

My current research focus is on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and their applications. In particular, I am interested in looking at using AI and ML programming language to solve complex problems. These problems are quite diverse and could include areas like improving product recommendations (like Netflix or Amazon), developing AI players to perfect various games, or even identifying interesting patterns or characteristics of information.

Lately AI has seen some interesting developments, including the stunning victory in a Go game match of AlphaGo over champion Lee Sedol on a full-sized board in March. I am hoping to get students involved in some of my research this coming year.

Perhaps the thing I am most looking forward to is getting involved in the department and starting to build the sense of community between the students and faculty that is such an important part of a student’s college experience. College is about so much more than just classes, exams, and grades, and creating opportunities for students to hang out and socialize with other students and faculty is important for helping to develop that sense of belonging.

I am planning on continuing a tradition one of my colleagues started at Plymouth State by hosting a weekly board gaming lunch in the department’s new collaborative space. I have all sorts of weird and interesting games and everyone will be welcome to play or just hang out and chat. Whether it’s department bowling night, hosting a local programming competition, watching cheesy computer science movies, or even wandering around campus playing Pokémon Go (Valor Rules!), sign me up.

So far everyone has been very gracious and welcoming, especially in dealing with the many questions I have as I learn my way around the college. It’s going to be a great academic year and I’m ready to continue my career here at Florida Southern.