ESP Biography

CASEY MCNAMARA, MIT sophomore studying Computer Science

Major: Computer Science

College/Employer: MIT

Year of Graduation: 2013

Picture of Casey McNamara

Brief Biographical Sketch:

I'm from California; my parents are programmers. I spent the summers of 2008 and 2009 at Mathcamp, where I learned untold numbers of silly games, some interesting bits of theoretical computer science and set theory, and the fact that I'm not really into hardcore theoretical math. Physics, on the other hand, is completely awesome. I can easily get sucked into programming stuff for hours on end, and therefore will probably end up in computer science, but not before learning plenty of cool physics.
To waste time, I like reading fantasy and science fiction, playing puzzle-ish computer games, and watching Doctor Who. My current obsession is Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, a 46-chapter piece of Harry Potter fanfiction full of science, brilliance, and sci-fi/fantasy references. In my opinion, it is better than any other fanfiction I've read (which isn't all that much) or the original Harry Potter series (which I read in high school and thought was okay but not exceptional).

Past Classes

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

M3728: Bayesian Inference in Splash! 2010 (Nov. 20 - 21, 2010)
I have one bag containing 800 Skittles and 200 M&Ms, and another bag containing 800 M&Ms and 200 Skittles. I'm offering you your choice of bag, but you can only have one, and I might change my mind if you try to examine them too closely. Certainly you can't just look inside. Ridiculous. Unheard of. You like Skittles, and hate M&Ms. You pick a bag and start taking out pieces of candy from it (you put each piece back in the bag after noticing what kind of candy it is, because you like round numbers). In the first 5 pieces of candy you get, there are 4 Skittles and 1 M&M. Have you chosen the right bag? How sure are you of that? (70%? 80%? 98.5%?) Would you be more or less sure if you took out 4 more pieces of candy and got 2 of each type, for a total of 6 Skittles and 3 M&Ms? With applications ranging across robotics, medical diagnosis, the theoretical basis of science, and intelligent choice of bags of candy, Bayes' Theorem is a very simple and very useful piece of math that tells you how to make the most of the information you have.

C3021: Scheme in Splash! 2009 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2009)
Ever wanted to learn Scheme? Have you heard of functional programming, but never learned any functional languages? Come to our class, and we’ll teach you the basics of Scheme, and how to learn more.