Les Nelson's research is about understanding the technical demands made by changing social practices. Social changes influence individuals, who make demands at the computer interface, which in turn impacts the underlying technical infrastructures these rely on. Current work has involved following this change process as it applies to emerging social media technology. Les joined PARC to study and improve information-sharing and collaboration-support tools used in system engineering practices. His involvement with Xerox goes back to 1995, where his work in human-computer interaction led to two products, 20 patents, and many publications in social computing, mobile computing, and tangible computing. Before that, Les worked for Lockheed's R&D on a variety of projects in systems and software engineering for very large systems, software reengineering, and software reuse. Les began his corporate life with IBM as a software engineer on large-scale, mission-critical, real-time systems.
Les received an M.S. in Computer Science -- focusing on mathematical programming and systems science -- from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Computing from Trinity College. Les was recognized as a Senior Member of the Association of Computing Machinery in 2009.