Student Spotlight Archives

Matthew Curry

Matthew Curry’s research includes applying Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) to coding theory, and integrating this into a system that enables highly reliable arrays of disk drives. A Sylacauga native, Matthew received his bachelor’s degree in Fall 2004 and his master’s degree in Spring 2008 in Computer Science from UAB. He decided to continue his graduate career here at UAB and is currently working toward his Ph.D. in Computer Science.
 
He gives credit to Dr. Jeff Gray, his advisor during his undergraduate studies, for being his greatest influence at UAB. He adds, “Dr. Gray was the primary person that convinced me to become a Ph.D. student, and over the years he has helped me develop as a writer, speaker, thinker, and teacher through example and critique.”
 
UAB’s Computer and Information Sciences program was attractive to Matthew because it offered him the opportunity to explore his academic interests. He explains, “The outstanding faculty at UAB CIS fit well with my own interests in computer science. As I had gotten involved with research as an undergraduate, it made sense to continue along the same path with the same people in my graduate career.”
 
Many of the graduate students in our past Spotlights have participated in Graduate Student Research Days (GSRD), an annual competition held by the Graduate School. In 2006, Matthew was awarded second place in his GSRD session for the presentation "Out-of-Core LU Decomposition on Graphics Hardware".
 
When asked about his most rewarding experience at UAB, Matthew gave an interesting answer. He said, “If I had to pick a single experience, my Ph.D. thesis proposal was a highlight of my graduate career.  It was a good opportunity for me to phrase my own thoughts about the research I want to do, and have many great minds in my department come together to discuss them with me, including both professors and graduate students.  Knowing that my research ideas are valid in the eyes of my peers gives me confidence to continue what I'm doing, while also allowing me to gather lots of feedback and alternative viewpoints.”
 
Matthew’s motivation for research comes from an innate curiosity. “Research as a profession is almost entirely self-serving. I am motivated to do research in order to learn more about the problems in which I am interested. While traveling and presenting the work is rewarding, the real joy comes from picking an odd niche corner of a problem space and exploring it to one's heart's content.”
 
After his expected graduation from the doctoral program in Computer Science in 2009, Matthew plans on staying in academe and becoming a professor adding, “There is an appeal to the relative freedom of choice for research directions, and being able to influence students to explore the problems and technologies that fascinate them.”
 
On a final note, Matthew adds the following quote by which he leads his life: "Today is the tomorrow that you were so worried about yesterday. Was it worth it?"

 Matthew’s advice for other graduate students:
“Don't be reluctant to take an extended detour from the ‘regularly scheduled programming’ of your research to explore a different problem. Even if it is totally unrelated to what you do every day, the enrichment from playing around with new things is worth the time.”