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Donald Nelson


(303) 275-4157

Donald Nelson is a visualization rendering engineer contractor working with the Computational Science Center.

His research has focused primarily on algorithms for interaction with dynamical systems including fluid flow, partial differential equations, finite element mechanics for biological tissues and medical devices, and optimization of minimal strain energy in mechanical and biological systems.

Upon completion of his Ph.D., he worked for 6 years at Immersion Medical in scientific visualization, computer aided design, and interactive mechanical systems. He joined Electronic Arts to work on interactive, parallel rendering algorithms in 2006. In 2009 he joined SAIC to work on statistical modeling of oceans for rendering and acoustical interactions on highly parallel high performance computing systems and on GPUs. He joined NREL in 2013 to support the visualization efforts of the Insight Visualization Center within the Computational Science Center.

Research Interests 

  • Scientific visualization
  • Interactive computational dynamics
  • Numerical methods
  • Finite elements
  • Parallel algorithms
  • Mobile platforms


  • 2003 Ph.D., computer science, University of Utah

  • 1995 B.S., mathematics, Carnegie Mellon University