Tanner Finken

PhD Student
Office: GS 756
Interests: Data Visualization, Topology
Advisor: Dr. Josh Levine


I grew up in the small town of Carroll, Iowa. I was a pretty energetic kid, and I was always interested in the latest technology that was coming out, although it was mostly videogames. In elementary school through high school, I was good at math and science. I was told that I had a logical mind, which definitely helped me as I went to a liberal arts college named Central College in Pella, Iowa where I studied Computer Science and Mathematics. I also played tennis there and got to compete at the D3 level. I was drawn to Computer Science because I am fascinated by the way computers work and how tasks can be automated by a programmer.

​​​​​Research Interests

I'm interested in Data Visualization especially how objects are represented in 2D or 3D and the code that allows for the rendering of these objects. Also, I find the algorithms which detect and communicate information/ properties about the object such as a topological skeleton to be interesting because we have such a large amount of information nowadays that efficient algorithms to process them are crucial.

What long-term project do you want to work on?

A long-term project that I would find interesting would be working on  a program that could model any executable, complex program and search for inefficient code or possible vulnerabilities. 

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy the satisfaction of solving a hard problem and seeing that all the hard work has paid off. I also find learning about various topics within computer science to be interesting. 

What are your career goals?

For a career, I would like to work at a large company on projects that interest me and become someone who works directly to improve or produce useful code, which could be a software researcher or software architect. 

​​​​Tell us something interesting about yourself!

I can juggle 3 or 4 tennis balls with a couple of tricks for each.