A little about me

An ex-hooper currently building minds.

Most people call me "T.O." I am a Cognitive Science Fellow and Computer Science PhD student at Northwestern University. I'm interested in minds and creating them. In my limited amount of free time I enjoy sports (played basketball in college) and video games (mostly RPGs). My life goal is to utilize artificial intelligence to create a world in which all people can pursue their passions.


Places I have studied

Sept. 2018
to Present

Northwestern University

M.S. & PhD Computer Science

August 2014
to May 2018

University of Northern Iowa

B.S. Computer Science, B.A. Mathematics, Philosophy Minor

August 2012
to May 2014

Kirkwood Community College

Mechanical Engineering Program


My current work and interests

My main research interests lie at the intersection of artificial intelligence and philosophy. My life consists of challenging the societal norms that exist while building machines that can adhere to them. The irony...

Normative Machines

How do we know it'd be strange to whisper to your teammate during a basketball game? What about bumping your favorite Jay-Z song at a funeral? AI should be dynamic, as we humans are. Just as a child can learn from its experiences, AI should be able to as well. I am currently working on providing machines with this ability to learn and apply norms, both social and moral.

Learning via Natural Language

Language understanding is one thing we humans take for granted. It is quite fascinating that a child knows that it is the spoon in her hand that the parent is referencing when yelling "put that down!". Even more cool is that the little one will likely hesitate the next time they think about using a spoon. I am currently in the midst of creating models of learning via such natural language instructions.

Machine Ethics

I believe superintelligent machines will one day live peacefully amongst humans. Thus, I am currently exploring ways of formally modeling ethics, in hopes to represent a moral code to be used by intelligent systems.

Philosophy of Mind

As an AI researcher, I spend many sleepless nights pondering the nature of the mind, consciousness, and in what way these concepts would change if we were to successfuly build conscious machines. At the moment, I am playing with modeling the strange concepts of knowledge, belief, desire, etc. in formal logics.


My professional background

May 2016
to Present

Freelance Web Development

Somewhere comfortable with mediocre coffee

Design, setup, and develop fully functional and responsive websites for clients. Develop both WordPress and custom sites.

June 2017
to August 2017

Research Intern

Harvard University

Developed a course recommender system using various methods of natural language processing. Developed machine learning classifiers to intelligently gather textual data.

May 2016
to August 2016

Programming Intern

VGM Forbin

Performed HTML5 validation, maintained staging sites, improved functionality of websites in C# and Python Django, involved in website setup and planning.

August 2012
to Sept. 2015

College Basketball

Kirkwood CC & University of Northern Iowa

Starting All-Region point guard at Kirkwood CC. Transferred to UNI and unfortunately, due to reocurring injuries, had to step away from the game after one year.


A few of my creations


A collection of my writings

Favorite Quotes