ESP Biography



BENJAMIN CHAN, Senior at MIT




Major: 6

College/Employer: MIT

Year of Graduation: 2017

Picture of Benjamin Chan

Brief Biographical Sketch:

Ben is from San Jose, CA. His notebook is full of doodles on computer science, the brain, and a touch of set theory. He studies primarily computer science, with a touch of cognitive science and mathematics.



Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

X11556: How to Run A Splash in Splash 2017 (Nov. 18 - 19, 2017)
Ever thought about what happens behind-the-scenes when you sign up for Splash classes? Or how all of our teachers and classes fit into MIT's classrooms? Splash takes months to plan, and for good reason. Come learn how we make Splash happen every year!


C11453: 8 Bits Walk Across a Bridge in Spark 2017 (Mar. 11 - 12, 2017)
This is a class on bits, on how we transform everyday messages, images, and web pages into 1s and 0s. We explore how these streams of 1s and 0s are then communicated to other machines, and then decoded to be useful.


C11171: 8 Bits Walk Across a Bridge in Splash 2016 (Nov. 19 - 20, 2016)
This is a class on bits, on how we transform everyday messages, images, and web pages into 1s and 0s. We explore how these streams of 1s and 0s are then communicated to other machines, and then decoded to be useful.


C11172: Random Thoughts in Splash 2016 (Nov. 19 - 20, 2016)
This is an exploratory course on randomness and its implications on human thought. We will have open ended discussions about some very interesting unsolved questions: How do random systems converge into something meaningful? How does the human brain interpret a chaotic universe? Take this course if you have an open mind, and are hoping to share your ideas; this is uncharted territory.


C10466: 8 Bits Walk Across a Bridge in Spark 2016 (Mar. 12 - 13, 2016)
This is a class on bits, on how we transform everyday messages, images, and web pages into 1s and 0s. We explore how these streams of 1s and 0s are then communicated to other machines, and then decoded to be useful.


W10486: Learn to Play Ukulele in Spark 2016 (Mar. 12 - 13, 2016)
Join us in learning to strum on the ukulele to your favorite songs! We have lots of ukuleles for you to try out. For students with little to no experience, or who just want to come and jam.


W9956: Learn the Chinese Yo-Yo! in Splash 2015 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2015)
The Chinese Yo-Yo, also known as Diabolo, has been a popular circus prop for many years. Come learn how to play with this fun toy that also is an important part of Chinese heritage!


X10110: 8 Bits Walk Across a Bridge in Splash 2015 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2015)
X10110 - the number says it all. This is a class on bits, on how we transform everyday messages, images, and web pages into 1s and 0s. We explore how these streams of 1s and 0s are then communicated to other machines, and then decoded to be useful.


S10181: Brains, the Universe, and Chalk! in Splash 2015 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2015)
An introduction to neuroscience, exploring some powerful features of the brain that may lead to intelligence. How do we model the brain? What is intelligence? The second half of the class will introduce you to current research in the field of Artificial Intelligence as we seek answers to these questions. A large number of chalkboards will be involved, for the aesthetically inclined.


M10182: Set Theory: A Framework for Everything in Splash 2015 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2015)
A fast-paced introduction to set theory*. If everything is a set, how do we define the natural numbers? What is addition, multiplication, and exponentiation? What is infinity? We'll try to cover as much as we can. *of the ZFC variant.


W9451: Learn to Play Ukulele in Spark 2015 (Mar. 14 - 15, 2015)
Join us in learning to strum on the ukulele to your favorite songs! We have lots of ukuleles for you to try out. For students with little to no experience, or who just want to come and jam.


P9452: Your Brain & the Universe Both Have Very Much In Common in Spark 2015 (Mar. 14 - 15, 2015)
Explore recent developments in brain science, cool ideas from computer science, and mash them together! See how current computational approaches fail to model the brain, and some crazy new ideas for what comes next. Find out about the parallels between entropy and epilepsy, order and intelligence. One day we will be able to understand how the human brain thinks.


S9129: Emergent Properties of the Brain in Splash 2014 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2014)
Brain science isn't just about studying individual neurons. Come learn about how neurons fire in unison and give rise to greater patterns in thought! Taught in a hands-on format.


S8255: Brains look like the Universe but in Chalk! in Spark 2014 (Mar. 15 - 16, 2014)
Learn what it takes to build an Artificial Intelligence that can ACTUALLY THINK LIKE US. See how current computational approaches fail, and what new research on the brain brings us. Find out about the parallels between entropy and epilepsy, order and intelligence, and how we can write software to take advantage of it. Did you know the length of brain waves is related to how many numbers we can store in our short term memory? Come and find inspiration! Oh, and chalk and chalkboards!!! You'll have the chance to draw BRAINS and the UNIVERSE with chalk! (on a volunteer basis) Let's live-draw the discussion on the board, and have some serious fun. I promise lots of laughter.