Instructors

 

Jacob Steinhardt is a PhD student in machine learning at Stanford University. He has previously done research in mathematics, robotics, and cognitive science, and is currently interested in combining tools from statistics and program analysis to develop principled frameworks for computationally-bounded statistical learning. He received a silver medal at the International Olympiad in Informatics and has been a coach for the USA Computing Olympiad since 2009. He is currently also a scientific advisor for GiveWell. In his free time he likes playing ultimate frisbee and rock-climbing.
yanYan Zhang is an assistant professor in mathematics (specializing in combinatorics) at San Jose State University after receiving his PhD from MIT.He wants to help people become more awesome, in SPARC or elsewhere. He has mentored students at the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (where he represented the U.S. at the International Mathematics Olympiad with a silver medal), RSI, and MIT-PRIMES. He received the Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award from his postdoctoral position at UC Berkeley.
Paul Christiano is a graduate student in computer science at UC Berkeley. His research focuses on algorithms, learning, and coordination, and has been presented at top conferences in computer science. He is most passionate about searching for effective strategies to make people’s lives better, and about reflective decision-making and metacognition as tools in that search. In 2008, he represented the U.S. at the International Mathematics Olympiad.
Andrew Critch received his PhD in mathematics from UC Berkeley, where he specialized in algebraic statistics, and particularly its applications to machine learning and causal inference.
He was awarded a three-year research faculty position at the NSF-sponsored Mathematical Biosciences Institute, but soon after decided to learn about the stock market and began working as an algorithmic trader for Jane Street Capital in New York. He loves thinking about causality, cognitive science, markets, and apparent philosophical paradoxes, and wants to convince you that free will and determinism are compatible. He also likes helping people to understand their goals and adopt new and productive habits.
Qiaochu Yuan is an NSF graduate fellow in mathematics at UC Berkeley and author of the math blog Annoying Precision. His past honors include USAMO Honorable Mention (2006), Intel Science Talent Search Finalist (2008), and Putnam Honorable Mention (2010), and he holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from MIT.
Chelsea Voss studied computer science at MIT, where she will return next year to pursue a master’s degree. She represented the U.S. at the International Biology Olympiad in 2010 and 2011, and at the International Linguistics Olympiad in 2011. She is excited about making the world a better place, sometimes by teaching theoretical computer science, sometimes by designing and programming tools for effective learning.
Michael Webb is a PhD student in Economics at Stanford University. His research focuses on automation and its effects on the economy, the relationship between education and productivity, and causality. He previously served as a correspondent for The Economist, as senior economic aide to a British legislator, and as a research economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies. He holds degrees from Oxford and MIT.
Nisan Stiennon currently works at Google. He taught mathematics at the undergraduate level for five years. He has also taught algebraic topology to high school students and epistemic rationality to mathematicians. He has a B.S. in mathematics and physics from the University of Michigan and a PhD in mathematics from Stanford University.
Kenzi Amodei has worked as a professional stage manager throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds a BA in theatrical stage management from Stanford University and a BS in biology from the University of Oregon.
Michael Smith holds a joint Ph.D. in mathematics and science education from UC San Diego and San Diego State University. He has extensive experience with teaching and curriculum design in academics, martial arts, and now, rationality workshops.
Anna Salamon has previously done machine learning research for NASA and applied mathematics research on the statistics of phage metagenomics. She holds a degree in mathematics from UC Santa Barbara.
Eliezer Yudkowsky has written extensively on human rationality, including most notably a sequence of articles comprising more than one million words worth of expository material on reasoning, heuristics and biases, philosophy of science, and metaethics.