ESP Biography



BENJAMIN COSMAN, ESP Teacher




Major: CS

College/Employer: UC San Diego

Year of Graduation: G

Picture of Benjamin Cosman

Brief Biographical Sketch:

Not Available.



Past Classes

  (Look at the class archive for more.)


Unrelated Math in Splash Fall 18
For too long have we submitted to the tyranny of unifying themes. How many bears can you run away from forever? How can electrons prove inequalities for us? Why is traffic so bad on your favorite roads? How can physics prove the Pythagorean Theorem? And most importantly, how many of these kinds of things can we answer in under an hour?


The Halting Problem (and other problems computers can NEVER solve) in Splash Fall 18
Some problems aren't just difficult for computers, they're impossible! Starting only with simple assumptions about what computer programs can do, we'll show that you can't reliably detect when a program has an infinite loop. Using that we'll prove Rice's Theorem, a shockingly powerful statement about the impossibility of many problems we might like to solve.


Voting Theory in Splash Fall 18
Regular elections are prone to vote splitting - a candidate that most people hate could win with just 10% of the vote as long as 10 other candidates split the remaining 90%. In this class we will explore alternative voting systems that become possible if voters rank all the candidates instead of just their top choice.


Puzzles! in Splash Fall 18
Learn to solve (and maybe write) puzzles like these: primepuzzles.wordpress.com


Voting Theory in Splash Fall 17
Regular elections are prone to vote splitting - a candidate that most people hate could win with just 10% of the vote as long as 10 other candidates split the remaining 90%. If voters supply a ranking of all the candidates instead of just their top choice, a whole world of better voting systems become possible. In this class we will come up with those systems and discuss their pros and cons.


Puzzle Hunts 101 in Splash Fall 17
Enter a world where a puzzle can be a list of pictures, a gibberish sound file, or just six words. What are the rules? Figure them out!


Unrelated Math in Splash Fall 17
For too long have we submitted to the tyranny of unifying themes. How many bears can you run away from forever? How can electrons prove inequalities for us? Why is traffic so bad on your favorite roads? How can physics prove the Pythagorean Theorem? And most importantly, how many of these kinds of things can we answer in under an hour?


The Halting Problem (and other problems computers can NEVER solve) in Splash Fall 17
Some problems aren't just difficult for computers, they're impossible! Starting only with simple assumptions about what computer programs can do, we'll show that you can't reliably detect when a program has an infinite loop. Using that we'll prove Rice's Theorem, a shockingly powerful statement about the impossibility of many problems we might like to solve.


Nikoli Puzzle Solving 101 in Splash Fall 17
Learn to solve (and maybe write) puzzles like these: primepuzzles.wordpress.com


Voting Theory in Splash Fall 15
Regular elections are prone to vote splitting - a candidate that most people hate could win with just 10% of the vote as long as 10 other candidates split the remaining 90%. If voters supply a ranking of all the candidates instead of just their top choice, a whole world of better voting systems become possible. In this class we will come up with those systems and discuss their pros and cons.


Puzzle Hunts 101 in Splash Fall 15
Enter a world where a puzzle can be a list of pictures, a gibberish sound file, or just six words. What are the rules? Figure them out!


Unrelated Math I in Splash Fall 15
For too long have we submitted to the tyranny of unifying themes. How many bears can you run away from forever? How can electrons prove inequalities for us? Why is traffic so bad on your favorite roads? Are there theorems that are true but can't be proven? How can physics prove the Pythagorean Theorem? And most importantly, how many of these kinds of things can I answer in under an hour?


Unrelated Math II in Splash Fall 15
Same idea as Unrelated Math I (M58) except the topics will be - you guessed it - totally unrelated! So sign up for either or both of these; there will be no overlap between the two.


The Halting Problem (and other problems computers can NEVER solve) in Splash Fall 15
Some problems aren't just difficult for computers, they're impossible! Starting only with simple assumptions about what computer programs can do, we'll show that you can't reliably detect when a program has an infinite loop. Using that we'll prove Rice's Theorem, a shockingly powerful statement about the impossibility of many problems we might like to solve.


Impromptu Speaking in Splash Fall 15
I'm putting you on the spot: everyone who comes to this class will give an impromptu speech! Learn to think on your feet and come up with something coherent to say with little preparation. Get useful tips on how to be a better presenter.


Improv Games in Splash Fall 15
Okay, we're going to take turns writing this class description, each person says one word on their turn: "In every life experience there will be three random lessons: why not write songs parodying all characters, unless one of them ate your shoes." Come unleash the spontaneous, quick-thinking improv artist inside. Gain confidence and problem-solving skills while having a ton of fun!