ESP Biography

HARRISON BROWN, MIT freshman studying Math and CS

Major: Mathematics

College/Employer: Georgia Tech

Year of Graduation: Not available.

Picture of Harrison Brown

Brief Biographical Sketch:

I'm a freshman from Atlanta, GA, planning to declare course 6 or 18c. My interests include: Really bad fiction (of all genres and media), math (duh), programming, cryptography, going on dates with quantum computing textbooks, webcomics, print comics, sci-fi (of all media), indie music, the '90s, and junk food.

Past Classes

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

M2226: The Mathematics of Monsters and Machines in HSSP Spring 2009 (Mar. 14, 2009)
Can you add by dropping marbles through a maze of switches? (watch with the volume off and figure out how it works - /very/ simple, but elegant, no?) That machine clearly only works as directed for some range of numbers. How about if you want to add arbitrarily large numbers with one, finite machine? Can you build such a machine and then tell someone how to drop marbles into it to add their numbers? – NO!! STOP!! I did not ask, ‘how would you’ – I asked CAN you? Sure, you could prove the affirmative by construction, by making a machine which does so (if one can exist) but can you more succinctly, more elegantly, simply prove that such a machine exists? What if one could not exist? How would you go about proving this? If you like looking at machines and figuring out what they do, or constructing machines to solve problems, then you will probably like this class. On the other hand, what this class is /really/ about is 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? How long does it take to solve problems of sufficient complexity? Are there problems that are simply impossible to solve, although they clearly must have an answer? To answer the last question, YES! However, f you are willing to accept this claim without /proof! ‘you CANNOT say something like that without PROOF!’/ you probably can skip this class. But if that kind of claim shakes your world up a bit, come to this class and be shaken!!

M2237: Quantum Computing is Awesome in Spark! Spring 2009 (Mar. 07, 2009)
Ever wanted to factor huge numbers really quickly? (Ever wanted to break the codes used to transmit secure data online?) How about searching a database without looking at each element? What about simulating an entire universe, particle by particle? To do this, you need to harness the power of quantum mechanics and build a quantum computer. We'll discuss the history of quantum computing, what quantum computers can (and can't) do, and the future of quantum.

H2238: Reading Comics in Spark! Spring 2009 (Mar. 07, 2009)
We'll discuss comics from the 1930s to today, with a focus on literary criticism and the "literary" uses of the medium. Authors and artists discussed may include: Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso, Neil Gaiman, Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Tom Siddell, Ryan North, Winsor McCay, Bill Willingham, Dave Sim, Chris Onstad, Alison Bechdel, Rich Burlew.

H1786: Reading Comics in Splash! 2008 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2008)
They say a picture is worth a thousand words; in that case, an issue of Batman should be as long as War and Peace. Come learn about comics, talk about comics, read comics, and just generally be awesome, because hey, comics. Both print comics and webcomics will be covered, from the Silver Age up through today. The focus will be on Western (i.e., U.S. and European) comics.

Introduction to Cryptography in SPLASH (2008)
Ever wanted to send messages in an unbreakable code? How can you send your credit card number securely to someone ...