ESP Biography



BENJAMIN COSMAN, UCSD PhD student studying Computer Science




Major: Computer Science

College/Employer: UCSD

Year of Graduation: G

Picture of Benjamin Cosman

Brief Biographical Sketch:

I'm a 3rd year PhD student in the CS department; I was at Caltech for undergrad. I love teaching, especially to Splash students who come to learn for the fun of it! I've taught at 8 Splash programs at 7 different universities, and founded Splash @ UCSD in 2016.



Past Classes

  (Look at the class archive for more.)


Voting Theory in Splash Spring 2018
In the voting system you're used to ("Plurality"), we ignore a lot of useful information by only asking voters to pick their favorite candidate. This leads to problems like 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 compare the other voting systems that become possible if voters supply their full preferences instead of just their favorite.


Analyzing Programs is Not Possible! (or is it?) in Splash Spring 2018
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.


Unrelated Math in Splash Spring 2018
3-5 mini-classes with no unifying theme. Sample topics include: - How many bears can you run away from forever? - Why is traffic so bad on your favorite roads? - How can physics prove the Pythagorean Theorem?


Puzzles! in Splash Spring 2018
Learn to solve (and maybe write) puzzles like these: primepuzzles.wordpress.com


Voting Theory 101 in Splash Spring 2017
We ignore useful information by only asking voters to pick their favorite candidate. This leads to problems like 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 compare the other voting systems that become possible if voters supply their full preferences instead of just their favorite.


The Halting Problem, and other problems computers can NEVER solve in Splash Spring 2017
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.


Unrelated Math in Splash Spring 2017
3-5 mini-classes with no unifying theme. Possible topics include: - 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?


Voting Theory 101 in Splash Spring 2016
In the voting system you're used to ("Plurality"), we ignore a lot of useful information by only asking voters to pick their favorite candidate. This leads to problems like 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 compare the other voting systems that become possible if voters supply their full preferences instead of just their favorite.


Puzzle Hunts 101 in Splash Spring 2016
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 Spring 2016
3-5 mini-lectures with no unifying theme. Possible questions include: - 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?


Unrelated Math II in Splash Spring 2016
Same idea as Unrelated Math I (M44) 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 Spring 2016
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.