Junction Summer 2010
Course Catalog


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Arts Humanities
Math & Computer Science Science and Engineering
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Arts

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A3428: Origami Construction Inc. (Day 1)
Difficulty: Easy - This class is meant to be accessible to most students
Teachers: Aviv Ovadya

Building with paper - no cuts, no glue, no sweat. Relaxing as opposed to hardcore. (See 'Crazy Giant Origami' for hardcore)

A3454: Origami Construction Inc. (Day 2)
Difficulty: Easy - This class is meant to be accessible to most students
Teachers: Aviv Ovadya

See "Origami Construction Inc. (Day 1)"

A3452: Origami Construction Inc. (Day 3)
Difficulty: Easy - This class is meant to be accessible to most students
Teachers: Aviv Ovadya

See "Origami Construction Inc. (Day 1)"

A3453: Origami Construction Inc. (Day 4)
Difficulty: Easy - This class is meant to be accessible to most students
Teachers: Aviv Ovadya

See "Origami Construction Inc. (Day 1)"

A3474: Chinese Brush Painting (sumi-e) - Bamboo Forrests and Pandas
Difficulty: Easy - This class is meant to be accessible to most students
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

Beginning with a very short introduction to the culture and tradition behind the art of Chinese brush painting, this class will be an hour of learning the basic techniques of painting layered bamboo forests.


Prerequisites
hands

A3475: Chinese Brush Painting (sumi-e) - Plum Trees and Sparrows
Difficulty: Easy - This class is meant to be accessible to most students
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

This class will cover the basic techniques of painting plum trees and blossoms in the traditional style of brush painting. There will be several brief periods of instruction and a lot of time to just relax and paint.


Prerequisites
hans

A3656: Making PVC Didgeridoos
Teachers: Ben Sena

We will make didgeridoos, out of PVC pipes. Challah.

A3488: Chainmail

Learn to weave chainmail! Useful for anything from bracelets to bracers to full suits of armor. If it worked for the ancient Romans, it can work for you! Learn the basic weave in one session, then come back to build a large project of your design.

A3457: Crazy Giant Origami (Day 1)
Teachers: Aviv Ovadya

Have you ever wanted to fold a sheet of paper so big that your whole family could picnic on top of it?
Then this is the class for you.

I will teach groups of ~four students to fold something awesome from a 9 foot by 9 foot square of paper.
Note that this class will be split up into two days and it may potentially run over time on the second day.


Prerequisites
Origami experience and endurance: You need to know how to fold at least a crane. You need to be familiar with terminology like mountain folds, valley folds, squash folds and sinks (sink folds). You need to be comfortable working on your hands and knees for many hours, with no hope of an end in sight.

A3458: Crazy Giant Origami (Day 2)
Teachers: Aviv Ovadya

See "Crazy Giant Origami (Day 1)"


Prerequisites
You must have attended or be replacing someone from "Crazy Giant Origami (Day 1)".

A3440: Three- and Four-Chord Songs
Difficulty: Easy - This class is meant to be accessible to most students
Teachers: Ben Sena

Come learn how to play a song on the guitar! Never played the guitar before? Don't worry, these are the kind that people play to pretend they can play the guitar.

A3489: Learn to Juggle!

Because you need to be more entertaining.

Learn ball and club juggling, Chinese yo-yo, poi, or whatever else you'd like. If you already know the basics, come and learn more exciting stuff!

A3500: Fashion Design
Teachers: Madeline Lee

You already know how to use a sewing machine: now it's time to put those skills to the test. Join us as we draft ideas and draw sketches for various garments and turn our ideas into reality.


Prerequisites
Ability to use a sewing machine, ability to buy materials for garment on own time/expense.


Humanities

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H3516: Psychology Basics
Teachers: Anita Lin

Why do individuals act differently when in a group or by themselves? What makes a person happy or sad? Explore what makes us think the way we do and why.


Prerequisites
None

H3619: Free Speech in School
Teachers: Erin Harrington

Does the First Amendment protect the freedom of speech for students? Should it? Why does the First Amendment protect some kinds of speech in schools, but not other? And what's the significance of "Bong Hits 4 Jesus"? Come discuss and debate these questions and more!


Prerequisites
Just a willingness to participate.

H3645: Master the Meditations
Teachers: Abiy Tasissa

"I think therefore I am." is the most widely misused and popular phrase. Come and get to know the six meditations and the real meaning beyond this popular quote. You will be surprised. You can boast to friends that you know Descartes six meditations.


Prerequisites
None

H3620: Beyond Busing
Teachers: Erin Harrington

One week before the inauguration of President Obama, Reuters reported that segregation in schools was higher than at any time since the civil rights movement. Understand why this has happened, and how we can fix the problem, are difficult but important questions. We'll try to find some answers by talking about the civil rights movement, important court cases, and the economics of education.


Prerequisites
None.

H3648: Introduction to Phenomenology
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Abiy Tasissa

This is a tough philosophy but with very powerful consequences. We will take a sip of it. Get ready to immerse yourself in a world of phenomenon.


Prerequisites
Minimum philosophy. All students in introduction to existentialism are welcome.

H3623: Introduction to Chinese Sounds and Tones
Teachers: Andrew Whitaker

There may be tens of thousands of Chinese characters, but every possible syllable that exists in the Chinese language can be written easily on a normal 8.5"x11" sheet of paper with size 10 font.

Impossible, you say? Attend this seminar to learn about a tonal language and see some humorous misunderstandings that can come out of mispronouncing Chinese words.




Prerequisites
None

H3431: Concealing a Lack of In-Depth Understanding Through The Use of Verbose, Obfuscating, Vapid and/or Redundant Language
Teachers: Amber Bennoui

Learn how to stretch out writing assignments…eloquently!

H3646: Problem of Induction
Teachers: Abiy Tasissa

Will the sun rise tomorrow? What makes you think that when you drop an object, it falls straight down. Whatever your answer, come and get a Taste of some Humean Skepticism. It seems like a common sense but I promise it is going to make you think and wonder.


Prerequisites
None

H3636: Biomedical Ethics
Teachers: Joseph Harari

We will discuss major ethical questions faced in the medical field. Such topics to be discussed will be abortion, euthanasia, contraception, assisted suicide, and organ donation.

H3652: Pascal's wager
Teachers: Abiy Tasissa

Why should I believe in God? In this seminar we will go through Pascal's wager and see what answer he provides us. Believers and Atheists welcome!!

H3451: How to Question Everything and Argue with Everybody (series of 4 classes)
Teachers: Amber Bennoui

In this course, I'll teach you how to think logically, spot mistakes, formulate opinions and change those opinions in the event of new information. This should allow you to rationally carry on (and win) a debate or argument about any issue while avoiding common fallacies.


Prerequisites
You must be comfortable with speaking in front of your peers. The art of debating requires both your brain and voice!

H3625: Chinese Characters
Teachers: Andrew Whitaker

How does a Chinese dictionary work if there's no alphabetical order? Is there such thing as cursive writing in Chinese? Is a Chinese word the same thing as a Chinese character?

The Chinese writing system traces its origins back thousands of years. Come satisfy your curiosity and test your memory with this introduction to Chinese characters.



H3641: Language and Linguistics
Teachers: Andrew Spieker

Suppose you planned a vacation in Italy, starting at the base of the boot--each week, you travel 150 miles up the boot until you reach the top. Because you have strong value for culture and language, you try to learn as much of the native language as you can when you're at any given place.

By the end of your vacation you will be speaking a vastly different language than you were when you started--but science has shown that you are very unlikely to be aware of this change. Why does that happen?

Language is a science. That's right. We will look at particular parameters of language including sound, sentence structure, word structure, word meaning, and pragmatics.


Prerequisites
None

H3621: How Many Votes?
Teachers: Erin Harrington

In elementary school, we all learned the Founding Fathers' battle cry "No taxation without representation". But the real relationships between representation and elections, between elections and money, aren't all that simple. For example, California, with almost 37 million residents, has equal voice in the Senate with Wyoming, which has only 500,000 residents. We'll talk about whether this system of representation makes sense, argue if money is speech, debate the relevance of the electoral college in today's world, and more.

H3420: Literary Theory
Teachers: Melissa Ko

(to be filled in)


Prerequisites
the more experience with literary analysis, linguistics, or psychology the better

H3435: Reading Poetry: Love and Conflict
Teachers: Melissa Ko

(to be filled in)



Prerequisites
able to handle mature content and willing to discuss with the class

H3436: Reading Poetry: Hope and Disillusionment
Teachers: Melissa Ko

(to be filled in)



Prerequisites
able to handle mature content and willing to discuss with the class


Math & Computer Science

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M3441: Calculus Refresher
Teachers: Andrew Spieker

Mainly for students who are enrolled in the multivariable concentration course.

This will cover basics of differential and integral calculus, and will serve as a refresher of single-variable calculus.

We will spend time both rebuilding calculus intuition and refreshing formulas. There will be many examples given and worked out, plus supplemental review sheets and helpful formula sheets.

You may find this helpful


Prerequisites
Precalculus; although if you are in my multivariable calculus course, you should have taken single variable calculus or its equivalent.

M3491: Beginner's Cryptography!
Teachers: Amber Bennoui

1205011814 081523 2015 051403150405 011404 040503150405 1305191901070519!

(Learn how to encode and decode messages!)

M3442: Procedural, Object-Oriented, Functional, Logical... Pick Your Poison: Programming Paradigms and You
Teachers: Leonid Grinberg

Every few years, the technology industry picks up a new buzzword, calling it "revolutionary" and the "future of computer science". Colleges teach them, people proudly list them on their résumés, and before long, they are forgotten, and replaced with something new.

But what *are* these buzzwords? What does "structural" or "object-oriented" programming mean? And what about those really weird ones, like "functional" and "logical"? In this talk, we'll look at the various programming paradigms that have cropped up over the years. We'll discuss how they were developed, how they are used, and how they compare. Along the way, we'll talk about programming in general, and what its purpose, history, and place in computing really are.


Prerequisites
No programming background is required.

M3631: Practical Calculus I
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Ky-Anh Tran

Did you always want to learn calculus, but never had the time to? Or, do you want to refresh some of you calculus knowledge, to prep for a class like Hardcore Mechanics or Multivariate Calculus?

If so, this class is for you! Practical Calculus I &II form ultra-fast paced, problem-solving oriented calculus sequence, with emphasis on teaching you how to DO calculus. No delta epsilon nonsense, or long-winded proofs here. We will use mainly intuitive understanding powerful analogies to "prove" the theorems. We will cover in the 1st seminar:
- Differentiation, product/quotient rules, chain rule

We will cover in the 2nd seminar:
-Integration, change of variables, Taylor Expansions

If you did not have exposure to calculus before, it is highly advised that you go to Andrew Spieker Calculus Seminars too, to gain some previous exposure, since this class will be extremely fast paced.


Prerequisites
Either some acquaintance with concepts in calculus (through calculus AB for example), or Precalculus and willingess to be blown away.

M3444: How the web works (or why it doesn't)
Teachers: Leonid Grinberg

Have you ever wondered what really happens "behind the scenes" of the Web, say between the time you click “post” on your Facebook status, and when it appears in real-time on all your friends’ news feeds? It turns out there's quite a lot.

Come to this talk to find out the inner workings of the Web. We’ll start off by discussing the very early roots of the Web, and its evolution from a simple document-sharing platform to the rich-media application platform that it is today. Along the way, we’ll talk about all the fun hacks and tricks that had to be developed to make the change happen.


Prerequisites
If you have used the Web (as probably all of you do everyday), you should be fine.

M3449: Streaming Algorithms
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Paul Christiano

Imagine you have one normal-sized sheet of scratch paper to write on and a list of a million numbers. You read the list, making notes on your scratch paper as you go. Afterwards, someone asks "How many times did 1134547 appear in that list?" You look at your scratch paper and respond, "Between 15000 and 16000 times," and you are right. How can this be possible? You have kept track approximately of millions of things while only writing down thousands of digits.

Programs which try to extract conclusions from huge quantities of data on the internet find themselves in scaled-up versions of this same situation. The volume of data being continually presented swamps the available memory, requiring new algorithmic ideas. We will discuss some of the problems and solutions in this field.




Prerequisites
Mathematical maturity is essential, and familiarity with either some programming language or general algorithmic ideas would be very useful.

M3423: Introduction to Game Theory
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Anthony Fowler

This course will provide a basic introduction to game theory which can be used to study any strategic situation. We will discuss applications to elections, candidate platforms, public policy, sports, and business.

M3505: Finding Things Quickly
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Paul Christiano

Being able to put stuff away somewhere you can find it is important. When you are storing a billion things, it gets even more important. Many modern computer programs need to solve this problem frequently. We will discuss one way, called hashing, to arrange data in a computer (or not in a computer, if for some reason you need to store huge amounts of data by hand) so that you can find it again extremely quickly.

We will cover universal hash families, FKS hashing, and cuckoo hashing.


Prerequisites
Familiarity with probability is essential and some exposure to modular arithmetic would be helpful.

M3632: Practical calculus II
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Ky-Anh Tran

Did you always want to learn calculus, but never had the time to? Or, do you want to refresh some of you calculus knowledge, to prep for a class like Hardcore Mechanics or Multivariate Calculus?

If so, this class is for you! Practical Calculus I &II form ultra-fast paced, problem-solving oriented calculus sequence, with emphasis on teaching you how to DO calculus. No delta epsilon nonsense, or long-winded proofs here. We will use mainly intuitive understanding powerful analogies to "prove" the theorems. We will cover in the 1st seminar:
- Differentiation, product/quotient rules, chain rule

We will cover in the 2nd seminar:
-Integration, change of variables, Taylor Expansions

If you did not have exposure to calculus before, it is highly advised that you go to Andrew Spieker Calculus Seminars too, to gain some previous


Prerequisites
Previous acquaintance with concepts of calculus (Andrew spieker Calculus Refresher or Calculus AB), or willingness to be blown away.

M3460: Introduction to Programming in Python - Day 1

An introduction to programming in python for those who have not programmed before.
---
In this section I explain how to get yourself set up with python and how to write mathematical functions.
More importantly, I'll explain just what this "Programming" thing is
and some ways about how you should think about learning it


M3507: Life as an Algorithms Problem
Teachers: Paul Christiano

Thinking about sophisticated algorithm using everyday reasoning is hard. Thinking about algorithms using algorithmic reasoning is easy.

Thinking about the world using everyday reasoning can get hard. Clearly, the solution is to think about the world using algorithmic reasoning.

We will discuss some of the approximations and assumptions which are second nature to computer scientists but may seem strange to normal humans, including asymptotic analysis, amortization, and adversarial design.

M3462: Introduction to Programming in Python - Day 2

An introduction to programming in python for those who have not programmed before.
---
In this section I explain how to manipulate collections of things.


Prerequisites
Introduction to Programming in Python - Day 3

M3443: Complex Variables
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Andrew Spieker

In this seminar, we cover the basics of functions involving complex numbers!

Topics include Euler's formula, Taylor series in complex variables, and applications to fluid flow and electrostatics.


Prerequisites
Just single-variable calculus. I'll explain any multivariable calculus you use.

M3495: Introduction to Programming in Python - Day 3
Teachers: Andrew Farrell

An introduction to programming in python for those who have not programmed before.
---
In this section I'll show you python's datatypes: all the neat ways
python has of holding and talking about multiple things at the same
time.



Prerequisites
Introduction to Programming in Python - Day 2

M3521: Artificial Intelligence: Building the Next Best Cookie Recipe
Teachers: Robert McQueen

Students will grasp a basic understanding of current AI techniques and will apply what they learn to train a computer to build the ultimate cookie recipe. Students will supervise the choice of training cookie recipe samples to develop their own delicious cookie recipe. Students will also learn about the science behind baking: baking soda vs. baking powder, protein development, oven heat transfer, and more. The instructors will bring in cookies to the class based on the current AI-developed cookie recipe to compile feedback for the AI learning program. No actual baking will happen in class.


Prerequisites
Interest in Artificial Intelligence Familiarity with some programming language

M3421: Probability and Statistics in the Real World
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Anthony Fowler

This seminar will provide an introduction to probability, statistics, and random processes. We will then apply these concepts to test hypotheses in the real world.

Are there expert stock-pickers? Do athletes choke in high-pressure situations? Does momentum help candidates in Presidential primary elections? Is there really a placebo effect?

M3432: How To Write Proofs
Teachers: Amber Bennoui

To truly understand math, one has to know how to write proofs. Surprisingly, few are taught how to do so in school. Using maximum ridiculosity, we'll go into detail regarding how to read and write them!


Prerequisites
You must be comfortable with speaking in front of your peers. The art of debating requires both your brain and voice!

M3447: Proofs, Games and Debates: Complexity & Interaction I
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Paul Christiano

If I want to prove something to you, I can try to write down a mathematical proof to convince you. Often, though, we care about claims that don't have simple proofs. For example, if I wanted to prove that white always wins in chess, I might need quintillions of pages to enumerate every possible line of play for black.

An important idea in modern computer science is to study interactive proof systems: protocols that powerful provers can use to quickly prove a claim which would otherwise take impractically long. We will discuss a number of such systems, culminating in one powerful enough to simulate an exponentially long mathematical proof.

Most of the systems we discuss won't themselves be practically useful, but they are theoretically interesting and have practically important consequences.


Prerequisites
It would be helpful to have a thorough understanding of polynomials, familiarity with modular arithmetic, and an intuitive grasp of what it means to be "efficient" (perhaps familiarity with some programming language, or openness to new ideas). A significant level of mathematical maturity is also expected, although hopefully the basic outline of things will be clear even without much mathematical experience.

M3463: Introduction to Programming in Python - Day 4

An introduction to programming in python for those who have not programmed before.
---
In this section I explain how to compose functions, call functions from other functions... and just what is this "function" thing anyway?


Prerequisites
Introduction to Programming in Python - Day 3

M3492: Introduction to Programming in Python - Day 5
Teachers: Andrew Farrell

An introduction to programming in python for those who have not programmed before.
---
In this section I explain writing how functions are just another data type that can be passed around and returned by other functions.



Prerequisites
Introduction to Programming in Python - Day 4

M3506: Arguments, Knowledge, and Simulation: Complexity & Interaction II
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Paul Christiano

If I want to prove something to you, I can try to write down a mathematical proof to convince you. Often, though, we care about claims that don't have simple proofs. For example, if I wanted to prove that white always wins in chess, I might need quintillions of pages to enumerate every possible line of play for black.

An important idea in modern computer science is to study interactive proof systems: protocols that powerful provers can use to quickly prove a claim which would otherwise take impractically long. We will discuss a number of such systems, culminating in one powerful enough to simulate an exponentially long mathematical proof.

Most of the systems we discuss won't themselves be practically useful, but they are theoretically interesting and have practically important consequences.

M3643: Stokes' Theorem
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Andrew Spieker

Have you ever wondered if there was a more general fundamental theorem of calculus? As a matter of fact…there is. It’s called Stokes’ Theorem, and it applies to functions that take in several variables, spit out several variables, and sit in several dimensional space. Woah! Don’t try to visualize it. But come to this class to learn the general fundamental theorem of calculus, and see the craziest math you’ve ever seen before in your life!


Prerequisites
Knowledge of single-variable calculus is assumed, and knowledge of multivariable calculus can be helpful.

M3450: How to Sell Stuff Rationally (To Rational People)
Teachers: Paul Christiano

Suppose I have several million dollars of precious artwork to sell, and a thousand collectors are interested. The collectors may behave in complicated ways--they will value different pieces of artwork differently, they may be interested only in buying several pieces as a group, and of course they may try to collude and game the system. How can I conduct an auction so that everyone is happy, I make a lot of money, and no one can game the system?

I will present a number of results (some recent and some very old) concerning this and related problems in the field of mechanism design. We will discuss a variety of problems in designing auctions, elections, and efficiently allocating public goods. Some of the ideas are simple--you have probably encountered a few in your daily life--and some are rather complex and surprising.


Prerequisites
This class has no prerequisites, but the later parts may be confusing to students who have not encountered formal arguments before.

M3470: Fractals and Fractal Dimension (FC part 1)
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

Math through a kaleidoscope: http://www.fractal-recursions.com/
Beautiful, no?
This class will dive headfirst into the key concepts of Fractals including Symmetry, Expressible Infinity, and Chaos. Specifically, we will take an in depth look at the Sierpinski Triangle (briefly covering the difference between fractal dimension and topological dimension), the Lorenz Water Wheel (illustrating the ideas of the Butterfly Effect and Strange Attractors), and the well-known Mandelbrot Set. If you want to see mathematics from a completely alien perspective, this class is for you.


Prerequisites
This is part 1 of a four part class series - Fringes of Chaos, Fractals, Chaos, and Entropy. It is not a necessary prerequisite for the three other classes, but it will help, especially if you're less familiar with the mathematics involved.

M3476: Beyond Computation (TCS part 1)
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

This class is on the mathematical treatment of ALL machines, ALL languages, ALL algorithms. Exactly what abilities – finitely many states? finite memory? infinite memory? non-determinism? – are necessary to solve problems? What sets of abilities are equivalent? And are there problems that are simply impossible to solve, although they clearly must have an answer - YES! and in this class, I will prove why!





Prerequisites
Extremely fast paced, but starting from truth tables and binary. I intend the class to be an awe inspiring introduction to the field of Theoretical Computer Science (TCS – my major!)

M3477: Pvs.NP, NP complete, and the Turing test: Literacy in TCS research (TCS part 2)
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

In this class, I will introduce enough of the modern concepts and terminology to cover current TCS research topics like Pvs.NP and Building a “Turing Complete” Computer or AI

Why should you care? --
If P=NP almost all forms of computational security are a joke and any computational pattern can be modeled quickly to arbitrary precision. In other words, science, math, and physics are SOLVED.


Prerequisites
part 1 of the TCS series will be useful if not necessary to understand this class

M3494: Introduction to Programming in Python - Day 8
Teachers: Andrew Farrell

An introduction to programming in python for those who have not programmed before.
---
In this section, we'll look at some code we've written for a chatbot and
talk about how to read, copy, reuse, and modify other people's code.


M3455: Metacircular Scheming (Day 1, Lecture )
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Aviv Ovadya

An impractical introduction to Scheme, a ridiculously flexible and powerful programming language. I will teach how to implement Scheme in Scheme, while learning Scheme.


Prerequisites
This class is meant for people who don’t know Scheme (or other Lisp variants). However, you should have some minimum programming experience - you should know how to use if statements, functions and recursion.

M3496: Introduction to Programming in Python - Day 9
Teachers: Andrew Farrell

An introduction to programming in python for those who have not programmed before.
---
In this section, we'll talk about what we thing are the most useful
things that python does for you that you can just use. We'll also start
talking about projects



Prerequisites
Introduction to Programming in Python - Day 8

M3456: Metacircular Scheming (Day 2, Lecture, Exploration )
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Aviv Ovadya

See "Metacircular Scheming"
After the lecture I will guide you through using Dr. Scheme and the online XTutor to explore the language.


Prerequisites
You must have attended "Metacircular Scheming"

M3497: Introduction to Programming in Python - Day 10
Teachers: Andrew Farrell

An introduction to programming in python for those who have not programmed before.
---
In this section, we will walk around and help you as you work on your projects.


Prerequisites
Introduction to Programming in Python - Day 9

M3465: Unix is your friend (Or, how I stopped worrying and learned to love the command line)
Teachers: Andrew Farrell

Linux and Mac OS are both based on Unix and we'll show you a bit about how they are structured, how to start using the command line, how to configure things, and how to write short scripts to automate things you do all the time.

M3639: Stochastic Processes
Teachers: Andrew Spieker

A stochastic process is a fancy way of saying a random process. Supposed a rat is trapped in a maze with three doors, one of which is an exit that takes two minutes to get out of, and the other two of which are three and four minute detours, respectively, which lead back to where the rat started. How long can we expect the rat to be in the maze before he exits if he immediately selects a door upon returning to the maze and selects each door with the same probability? You’ll be able to answer this question on the first day of the class!


Prerequisites
Algebra I, II, and precalculus is assumed.

M3437: How to See Maths
Teachers: Ben Sena

Some qualitative visual-spatial understandings graphical proofs of concepts, mostly including those related to algebra, trigonometry, and calculus, that would otherwise just be uninspiring arrangements of symbols on pressed tree pulp. Whether you have an especially spatial-temporal mind or not you may find this class inspiring.

M3466: Introduction to Programming in Python - Day 6
Teachers: Andrew Farrell

An introduction to programming in python for those who have not programmed before.
---
In this section I'll show you how to create your own datatypes for
handling things as simple as fractions, to dynamic web pages.


M3468: Sequences
Teachers: Robert Assaly

What comes after 1, 1, 4, 10, 28, 76,? If you enjoy puzzles like this one, then this seminar is for you. They are not just fun; they do lead to procedures for solving many math problems. We shall talk especially about the Fibonacci sequence and the Golden Ratio.


Prerequisites
A knowledge of the axioms of algebra and how to apply them.

M3471: Chaos and Strange attractors (FC part 3)
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

Banned to the backs of math textbooks as the “monsters” of mathematics, chaotic dynamics has become a frontier of physics. This class will rigorously cover the nature of chaotic dynamics and strange attractors including the well know logistic growth orbit diagram and the Lorenz attractor.
“People were talking about the end of physics. Relativity and quantum looked as if they were going to clear out the whole problem between them. A theory of everything. But they only explained the very big and the very small. The universe, the elementary particles. The ordinary-sized stuff which is our lives, the things people write poetry about – clouds – daffodils – waterfalls – and what happens in a cup of coffee when the cream goes in – these things are full of mystery, as mysterious to us as the heavens were to the Greeks…"



Prerequisites
This class will be very fast paced and very heavy in mathematics. As far as formal prerequisites, however, just be able to graph a function.

M3472: Fractals and Fractal Dimension (FC part 2)
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

This class is a continuation of the material in Fractals and Fractal Dimension.

M3473: Chaos + Information Theory -> Entropy (not the stupid version) (FC part 4)
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

In school, you may have been taught the stupid definition of Entopy: "an increase in the 'disorder' of a system." Why is this definition stupid - because your teachers will never properly explain the difference between an "ordered" state and a "disordered" state (just because having all the marbles on the right side of the container is easy to explain, doesn't make it any less likely or any less 'ordered' than any other explicitly defined state. High school thermodynamics gets it wrong, very wrong. But, if you understand Chaos (FC part 3) and Information theory (this class) you can understand Entropy! And it is beautiful! and it is meaningful! and it is AWESOME!!!


Prerequisites
this class will be fast and intense and will use math and concepts from FC part 3.

M3480: Surreal Numbers (the biggest set of numbers you've ever heard of)
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

You know what integers are. And there are even more rational numbers. And there are uncountably many real numbers, both rational and irrational. And there are many sizes of infinity - ordinals (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordinal_number). And there are infinitesimals, numbers so small that they are smaller than any real number. And all of these numbers are Surreal numbers.

In this class, we will discuss ways of constructing number systems (like set theory, to construct the integers and Dedekind cuts to construct the real numbers) and we will use combinatorial games as a partial method for constructing/illustrating the surreal numbers.


Prerequisites
This will be an intense, theoretical math class. Knowing some proof-terminology ("for every" "there exists" "proof by contradiction") and some set theory terminology ("cardinality" "subset" "is an element of...") would be a plus. But there aren't any formal, necessary prerequisites.

M3481: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GRAPH THEORY!!!
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

This class will be outside and we'll write with sidewalk chalk on the side of buildings to prove and/or discuss 5 key theorems in Graph Theory.

5 - The Clique on 5 verticies (K5) is non planar
4 - The four color theorem
3 - The 3 houses, three utilities problem
2 - Euler's Formula V-E+F=2 for all planar graphs
1 - V-E=1 iff a graph is a tree

M3493: Introduction to Programming in Python - Day 7
Teachers: Andrew Farrell

An introduction to programming in python for those who have not programmed before.
---
We'll talk more about defining your own datatypes and a little bit about
how to structure a program so you can think about it more easily.



Prerequisites
Introduction to Programming in Python - Day 6

M3640: Real Numbers
Teachers: Andrew Spieker

So a rational number is, as you may want to think of it, a number that can be written as a ratio of two whole numbers. In a hand-waving kind of way, your teacher will say “well, a real number is just a number that is either rational or irrational.” How do you know irrational numbers exist? This definition of a real number simply will not do. In this class we will rigorously construct the real numbers from the rationals. Construct meaning “define” in a way that tells us out to find real numbers.


Prerequisites
Algebra I and II, and possibly Precalculus. Calculus may help, but might not be necessary for motivated students.

M3642: Receiver-Operator Characteristics
Teachers: Andrew Spieker

Someone shows you a large box, and says to you, “this box contains a dog or a cat. I’m not going to tell you which it contains, but I will give you the following information: how much it sleeps on average per day, and its ratio of fur volume to body weight.” How can you tell which of these pieces of information is more likely to give you correct information about which animal is in the box? Come to this class and find out! Receiver-operator characteristics are used to determine how sensitive (good at correctly identifying truth as truth) and specific (correctly identifying fallacy as fallacy) a particular test is, and thus is an indication of whether or not that test can adequately distinguish between two populations on a global and individual level.


Prerequisites
Algebra I

M3655: Hacking Computer Games: Using TSearch
Teachers: Ben Sena

In this class we will learn how to hack computer video games using a common tool, tsearch, which scans a computers active memory for certain values (and has some other built-in functions as well). We will also look at some of the capabilities of other popular memory-searching tools, like ArtMoney and CheatEngine. If we have time we may also talk about using Windows Packet Editor (WPE) and other fun tools.


Prerequisites
A laptop is encouraged but not required. Windows users will find this class most relevant.


Science and Engineering

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S3422: Natural Experiments
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Anthony Fowler

In this class, we will explore questions that are difficult to answer through traditional scientific experiments. We will try to find natural experiments in the real world to address these questions for which a controlled experiment would be unethical, impractical, or impossible.

Some examples: Do police reduce crime? Does education increase income? Do TV ads help political candidates? Does good parenting matter?

S3637: Organic and Synthetic Chemistry Made Easy
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Joseph Harari

Students will learn the basic language of organic chemistry and explore how relevant the topic is in our everyday lives. Fundamental chemical reactions will be discussed and applied to better understand synthesis of organic molecules.


Prerequisites
AP or Honors Chemistry

S3647: Fast Reactors
Teachers: Abiy Tasissa

An overview of the nuclear industry and the science beyond innovative reactor engineering


Prerequisites
none

S3630: Material Science
Teachers: Metodi Zlatinov

Ever wonder why some materials are stronger than others? What is the magic behind making a samurai sward? Even questions as “simple” as “why things bend” or “how things break” need a little more explaining if you really think about it. So come learn about the microscopic world of…well, everything around you.


Prerequisites
Some high school physics

S3469: Maxwell's Equations
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

These four equations describe one of the most universal and elegant relations in physics. They are Maxwell’s equations, unifying all observations of relativity, electricity, and magnetism. Don’t let the notation scare you off – this class has no prerequisites (as in, just be able to graph a function), but we will rigorously derive Maxwell’s explanation of electromagnetic phenomena (including light, electricity, magnets, …). “Derive” with the catch that, as I don’t believe in writing long equations on the board, everything in this class will be presented as a series of intuitive /and/ rigorous deductions, preserving concepts rather than constants.
We will begin with only two observations. First, the relativistic nature of light: you can’t catch up to a light beam – it will always move away from you at speed c. Second, our observations of the force between two charges described by q_1*q_2/r^2: q_1 and q_2 being the magnitude of the two charges, and r being the distance between them. From these two observations, we will DERIVE the explanation of everything else. Aka, the world will unfold before you and it will be beautiful.



Prerequisites
All this said, and there being no “hidden prerequisites,” the world will need to unfold before you /very/ quickly. I basically just claimed that I would introduce all of single-variable calculus and about half of multivariable calculus in the first hour of class – which I believe is an attainable goal – but this class will be rigorous, will be extremely intense, and will require the full class block.

S3627: Energy Conversion and the Environment: Fossil Fuel Power Plants
Teachers: Metodi Zlatinov

In 2008, total worldwide energy consumption was 474 exajoules (474000000000000000000 jouls) with 80 to 90 percent derived from the combustion of fossil fuels. But how does a lump of coal or barrel of oil get turned into this magical energy we are so addicted to? In this seminar we will start with an introduction on how we use energy, some facts about fossil fuels, and the constraints of the environment. We will then learn about how different power plants work, and what power plants will look like (most likely) in the future.


Prerequisites
None

S3657: Brains 101
Teachers: Abby Noyce

Intro to nervous system signals, anatomy, and some systems neuroscience.


Prerequisites
A high-school bio class.

S3628: Energy Conversion and the Environment: Unconventional and Renewable Energy
Teachers: Metodi Zlatinov

This second part of the “Energy Conversion and the Environment” series will deal with renewable sources of energy, such as wind, hydro, solar and geothermal, and biofuels, as well as some unconventional types of energy, such as fuel cells. We will cover the basics of each of these technologies, and I will attempt to put the challenges and benefits of these “clean” energy sources in a realistic light.


Prerequisites
None

S3626: Current Issues on the Electric Grid
Teachers: Andrew Whitaker

Have you seen any advertisements for the Smart Grid? Ever wonder why anyone would pay for that ad when it's not really selling anything?

Climate change and energy security worries are pushing us to consider fundamental changes to the way the electric grid is operated. At this seminar, learn the basics of the way the grid operates now, see what could change soon, and who might make money in the process. Topics will include long distance transmission lines, smart meters, demand response, and phasor measurement units.

S3658: Perception - Vision (the early stages)
Teachers: Abby Noyce

Light, eyes, retinas.

S3515: Animal Behavior
Teachers: Anita Lin

Ever wonder why animals behave a certain way? Learn ethology, the study of animal behavior! Through exploring certain animals and their behavior, learn why animals behave a certain way.


Prerequisites
None

S3633: Special Relativity I
Teachers: Ky-Anh Tran

If I move .99c past you, and you move .99 c past a point, what is my relative speed to that point?

In the 2 relativity seminar classes, we will explore the mysteries of special relativity, deriving the whole theory from scratch. We will cover:

- Seminar I: Derivation of Lorentz Transformation and its consequences, relativistic kinematics, Minkowski spacetime diagrams, paradoxes

- Seminar II: Geometric interpretation of Special Relativity, relativistic dynamics, 4-vectors and more...


Prerequisites
-knowledge of precalculus (vectors, algebraic manipulations) -bonuses: would be helpful to knowledge some matrix multiplication and basic high school physics (kinematics)

S3659: Perception - Vision (the later stages)
Teachers: Abby Noyce

From "pixels" to objects - how we identify things in our environments.


Prerequisites
Brains 101 or another neuro class

S3634: Special Relativity II
Teachers: Ky-Anh Tran

If I move .99c past you, and you move .99 c past a point, what is my relative speed to that point?

In the 2 relativity seminar classes, we will explore the mysteries of special relativity, deriving the whole theory from scratch. We will cover:

- Seminar I: Derivation of Lorentz Transformation and its consequences, relativistic kinematics, Minkowski spacetime diagrams, paradoxes

- Seminar II: Geometric interpretation of Special Relativity, relativistic dynamics, 4-vectors and more...


Prerequisites
Precalculus (algebraic manipulations, vectors and velocity) bonus: knowledge of basic high school physics and/or matrix multiplication is helpful

S3644: Time Travel!
Teachers: Chris Kennedy

Wormholes, cosmic strings, the Casimir effect, and other ways to go back in time without violating any laws of physics. Maybe.


Prerequisites
Special relativity.

S3660: Perception - Audition
Teachers: Abby Noyce

Ears, eardrums, identifying sounds, making sense of a soundscape.


Prerequisites
Brains 101 or another neuro class

S3545: Case studies of neurological and psychiatric disesases
Teachers: Anita Lin

By looking through case studies from The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Dr. Oliver Sacks and other sources, we will explore neurological and psychiatric diseases and the physiological reason behind them.

S3629: Jet Engines
Teachers: Metodi Zlatinov

If you want to get a lot of power from a small machine, you need a jet engine. The more general term for these machines is “gas turbine”, they come in a few variations – turbojet, turboprop, turbofan and turboshaft. These amazing machines run at incredible shaft speeds and operate at temperatures well above the melting temperature of any known super-alloys. How do they do it? This class will pop the hood and take into the guts of a gas turbine to show you how it all works.


Prerequisites
Some high school physics

S3649: Chemical Sensors
Teachers: Chris Kennedy

Detect TNT! And nerve gas!

S3661: Neuropsychology of memory (part 1 of 2)
Teachers: Abby Noyce

What is memory? How might it work? How does information go "into" memory, and how do we get it back "out"? We'll also talk about fMRI and other imaging techniques.


Prerequisites
Brains 101 or another neuro class

S3638: Molecular Gastronomy: The Science of Food
Teachers: Joseph Harari

This is an exciting class that will introduce students to the little-known world of food chemistry. Students will learn the basic science behind certain principles and chemical agents, and then witness a demonstration of interesting techniques used by food scientists worldwide.


Prerequisites
None.

S3654: Dynamics of Plumes
Teachers: Abiy Tasissa

Chimney smokes, BP oil spill and even cough have a very interesting fluid property. In this seminar we will cover the basics and do some calculations to answer some of the interesting questions that arise when studying such phenomena.


Prerequisites
Some physics familiarity at the level of basic mechanics but motivated students are always welcome.

S3662: Neuropsychology of memory (part 2 of 2)
Teachers: Abby Noyce

What is memory? How might it work? How does information go "into" memory, and how do we get it back "out"? We'll also talk about fMRI and other imaging techniques.


Prerequisites
Brains 101 or another neuro class; part 1 of neuropsych of memory

S3429: The Science Behind Trebuchets (series of 4 classes))
Teachers: Amber Bennoui

Used since the Middle Ages, trebuchets wreaked havoc for centuries in Europe. Adherence to the laws of physics allowed for a powerful weapon capable of destroying the most stable of structures. After examining the fine science behind them, a design competition will be launched in which you get to compete with your classmates. May the best trebuchet win!


Prerequisites
While an extensive knowledge of physics isn't required, it would help with understanding the concepts discussed.

S3439: Lightning Crystals! Building Piezoelectric Sensors
Teachers: Ben Sena

Come learn how piezoelectric crystals and ceramics and transduce mechanical and electrical energy, and then listen to them in action and manipulate them yourselves.

S3478: Keeping the Earth From Going ‘Foom’
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

Every second, the sun radiates, in addition to light, more than a million tons of protons and elections. If the earth didn’t have some protection, we might look a lot like Mars. However, the earth has a magnetic field (a force field!) that protects us from this ‘solar wind.’ This field exists because of four beautiful relations called Maxwell’s equations. In this class, we will discuss how Maxwell’s Equations explain these phenomena. We will also make magnets out of electricity, nails, wire, and math.

This class is intended as a Lab for students who just completed “Maxwell’s Equations” in the previous hour, but it is open to anyone who wants to build a solenoid and see some beautiful calculus and multivariable calculus applied to physics.

S3498: Secret of Life: DNA
Teachers: Melissa Ko

(to be filled in)


Prerequisites
some familiarity with basic biology and chemistry

S3499: Secret of Life: Proteins
Teachers: Melissa Ko

(to be filled in)


Prerequisites
some familiarity with basic biology and chemistry


Miscellaneous

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X3459: Introduction to Zombie Defense
Teachers: Andrew Farrell

The zombie apocalypse may be just around the corner, do you want to be fresh meat, or a prepared member of the Zombie Defense Initiative, ready for anything? Join us as we talk about the possible causes of a zombie apocalypse, proper preparation, and handy tactics for dealing with those shambling (or running) hordes of flesh-eaters!

X3650: Psychopaths and Law
Teachers: Abiy Tasissa

Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer and Pedro Lopez. These are serial killers that shook a nation. Why did they do such a thing? We will take different sides and explore the psychology of such people. How is the law supposed to treat them? It is going to be a hot debate and as always the purpose is to keep the mind in gear.


Prerequisites
none

X3425: Why We Vote?
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Anthony Fowler

It is not in the interest of any individual to vote since the probability of influencing an election outcome is so small. We will discuss several explanations for the prevalence of voting and test what kinds of forces influence voter turnout. Do religion, education, wealth, or community involvement effect voter turnout in a causal way?


Prerequisites
Taking my "Natural Experiments" and/or "Intro to Game Theory" seminars beforehand will be helpful but not necessary in enjoying this class.

X3624: How to Run for Fun, Fitness, or Speed
Difficulty: Easy - This class is meant to be accessible to most students
Teachers: Andrew Whitaker

How about a run today?

When I ask a new friend this question, I never quite know what to expect. Will they casually agree and ask what time? Shake their head with a pained expression? Or laugh outright and tell me I'm a comedian?

Some people run for fun, some for fitness, and some for speed. Today I run for all three reasons, but this wasn't always the case. At this seminar, find out how I went from a reluctant jogger to qualifying for the Boston marathon and get specific tips about going for your first run or improving your time from the 5k to the marathon.


Prerequisites
None

X3525: How Not To Be Awkward
Difficulty: Easy - This class is meant to be accessible to most students
Teachers: Amber Bennoui

In this class, we'll play out awkward scenarios and come up with solutions to get out of them. Things that will be discussed: what to do with your hands while talking, how to take a compliment, conversation topics to avoid...and whatever your zany minds can come up with (yes, we are aware that the sentence was ended with a preposition...otherwise, the sentence structure would have been awkward).


Prerequisites
You must be comfortable with interacting with your peers.

X3445: Behavioral Economics

In this seminar, we will explore a field of economics that incorporates psychology to describe human behavior. We will study concepts including bounded rationality, bounded self-interest, and utility maximization, and we will use these concepts to investigate diverse phenomena such as personal saving, impulsivity, and investment portfolio choice.


Prerequisites
While this course has no formal prerequisites, a familiarity with introductory economics may enhance one's understanding of the material.

X3501: How to be a Dungeon Master
Teachers: Madeline Lee

So you've played D&D and you think you know the mechanics of the game pretty well. Take your D&D skills to the next level by learning how to become a Dungeon Master! We'll go through how to design a plot, a map, a monster and an NPC while creating a world that your PCs can thoroughly get themselves immersed in.


Prerequisites
Knowledge of and experience playing Dungeons & Dragons.

X3433: A History of Punk
Teachers: Amber Bennoui

Why are those kids wearing studded jackets and sporting hair of neon hues? What's that noise to which they're enthusiastically listening and why are they flailing? While I can't promise the entire history of the punk subculture, I will explain how the style came to be, how the music developed and how other subcultures were influenced by it.


Prerequisites
Tolerance for relatively intrusive music.

X3502: Strategy Card Games and Board Games
Teachers: Madeline Lee

Forget luck! We'll take a look at tuning up your strategies with classics like Monopoly and learn about the new wave of Euro-style games such as Settlers of Catan. We can't guarantee a win every time you play, but we’ll definitely improve your chances.

X3651: Write a Runaround!
Teachers: Chris Kennedy

Like Mystery Hunt, only smaller. Much smaller. And shorter. And easier. But more fun, because you get to write it!

X3446: The Financial Crisis and Its Economic Effects

In this seminar, we will explore some of the factors that contributed to the financial crisis, including the housing bubble, subprime mortgages, investment banking practices, and the role of the government. Then, we will study the domestic and international macroeconomic effects of this crisis.

X3653: Mystery Hunt!
Teachers: Chris Kennedy

Take the 40-hour marathon of MIT Mystery Hunt, then subtract all the puzzles and distill it down to the purest rush of adrenaline and competition there is: the runaround!

X3424: Predicting Elections
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Anthony Fowler

This course will provide an introduction to statistical regression which we will use to predict election outcomes. We will discuss reasons that opinion polls are unreliable, and discover that events during a campaign are not as important as typically thought.

X3427: Economics and Public Policy
Difficulty: Hard - This class may be exceptionally difficult
Teachers: Anthony Fowler

When will the private market succeed and when will it be inefficient or unjust? We will discuss externalities, market inefficiencies, and inequalities. When governments should intervene in the economy? Examples will come from American public policy including sin taxes, social insurance programs, minimum wage, and the debate over publicly provided health insurance.

X3503: Dungeons & Dragons
Teachers: Madeline Lee

The hit class from Junction 2009 is back! And it's bigger, badder and uglier than before! Join us as we take you into the depths of the ocean, jungle and city and fight zombies/orcs/vampires/giraffes in an epic battle to save the world. As you enter into a fantasy campaign with other students in the course, you will be encouraged to let your imagination, creativity, and acting skills really bring your character to life. This is the perfect course to let your imagination run wild, because in Dungeons & Dragons, anything is possible.

X3664: Improv, Comedy, and Saying Yes
Teachers: Adi Kamdar

This is an interactive seminar where we'll go through fundamentals of improvisational theater and comedy. We'll run warmups, play games, and perform scenes. Students will definitely leave with more confidence, have a lot of fun, and be willing to say "yes"! Trust me. It'll be a good time :)


Prerequisites
Nah.

X3430: Social Engineering
Teachers: Amber Bennoui

The art of deception is difficult to master but worth learning. Each year, countless people fall prey to the cunning ways of social engineers who continue to successfully extract confidential information out of unsuspecting victims. This class will outline some of the techniques used with emphasis on spotting and preventing malicious information gathering.

X3438: Let's Sushi
Teachers: Ben Sena

Want to make your own sushi? Come learn to sushi, with and without sashimi (raw fish).

X3479: Defining Life Mathematically (and Conway's Game of Life)
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

What is fire? Is it alive? How about a growing crystal? Or a virus? Or Clouds? Or a computer?
Surly the phenomena of life are interesting and distinct enough to warrant a definition answering the above questions, but can you think of one? I find textbooks and Wikipedia even lacking in this regard – as, at the least, ‘life’ seems to have little to do with ‘having cells.’ But what else is completely unique to everything that we think of as alive?

Please play around with this before class:
http://www.bitstorm.org/gameoflife/
and this: http://psych.hanover.edu/JavaTest/Play/Life.html
for the rules and theory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conways_Game_of_Life - and we’ll discuss this a lot more in class