ESP Biography



LEONID GRINBERG, ESP Teacher




Major: 6-3

College/Employer: MIT

Year of Graduation: 2014

Picture of Leonid Grinberg

Brief Biographical Sketch:

Not Available.



Past Classes

  (Look at the class archive for more.)


You and the Law in Spark! 2012 (Mar. 10, 2012)
The law surrounding children and students is extremely complex and unclear. Come learn about some of the history surrounding children and the law, particularly in the context of public schools. Be prepared to discuss some complex issues.


Procedural, Object-Oriented, Functional, Logical... Pick Your Poison: Programming Paradigms and You in Junction Summer 2010 (Jul. 01 - Aug. 11, 2010)
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.


How the web works (or why it doesn't) in Junction Summer 2010 (Jul. 01 - Aug. 11, 2010)
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.


How the Web Works in Spark! 2010 (Mar. 13, 2010)
Have you ever wondered what really happens 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 going on behind the scenes. Come to this class 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 new technologies that were developed to make this change happen, such as HTTP cookies, JavaScript (and later AJAX), and other "Web 2.0" technologies. We'll also spend a lot of time talking about security of the Web, as well as the development of various server-side technologies like databases and frameworks that were developed to facilitate this shift. (If you don't know what any of the things in this paragraph mean, don't worry! Come to this class and find out!) Note: This class will NOT teach you how to make your own website. We will discuss various languages and technologies that are used in creating websites, but how to actually make them is outside the scope of the class. If you already know how to make a website, you can still gain a lot from coming to this class, and if you don't, taking this class will help a lot if you ever do take a class on web design. After the lecture, I will send out some links to resources you can use to learn more about the subject, and I will include some good resources for learning about web design specifically.


Quines and Other Self-Referential Forms in Spark! 2010 (Mar. 13, 2010)
Imagine a machine that can make an exact replica of itself. Such a self-referencing machine is called a "quine", and it is one of the most beautiful and important concepts in computer science, with applications to a wide variety of fields. Come to this class to learn some of the theory behind quines as well as some of their most important applications. Along the way, we''ll talk about a variety of important mathematical, computational, and philosophical problems having to do with quines.


Operating Systems in Spark! 2010 (Mar. 13, 2010)
A remarkable amount of stuff happens "behind the scenes" when you press Alt+Tab on your computer to switch between your web browser playing a YouTube video and your word processor displaying that English assignment you're procrastinating on. Come to this class to learn about (a small fraction of) them!


Big Numbers in Splash! 2009 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2009)
Have you ever wanted to name a really large, thousand-digit number, and not known how to do it? Come to this class and learn about huge numbers -- numbers that it would take you the age of the universe to write out, numbers that, in some cases, cannot even be calculated by a computer, no matter how powerful. In the process, we will look at various sequences of numbers and learn nice ways of classifying and analyzing them.


Efficiency in Economics in Splash! 2009 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2009)
Why do governments institute taxes? Is the stimulus bill a good idea? How about the healthcare bill? These are all incredibly open-ended questions with many difficult issues that need to be considered. We will look at one particular issue -- the question of economic efficiency, which helps us objectively look at some issues involved, without getting caught up in political ideology. Come and learn what operating systems, water fountains, car companies, and broken windows have in common, and be prepared to discuss some important open-ended issues!


Mao in Spark! Spring 2009 (Mar. 07, 2009)
In this class we will play Mao, a card game about learning rules. In most games, first you learn how to play and then you play. In Mao, you learn the rules by playing! You will be told only a minimal amount of information about the rules of Mao before play begins, and then will be penalized if you break rules. By observing when you (and other players) are penalized, you can figure out how the rules work. When you "win", you get to add a new rule to the game which the other players have to figure out. You can come to as many sections as you like, though the game will start over for each new section.


How the Web Works in Spark! Spring 2009 (Mar. 07, 2009)
Almost everyone (at least who will be at Spark!) has heard of the Web, but many don't understand quite how it works. We will begin by discussing what sets the Web apart from other means of networked data-sharing, and then talk about the actual technology that makes it possible. Note: This is NOT a web design course. Though I will talk about information that is useful to know for a web designer, the purpose will be to discuss the inner workings of the web. As such, you will probably not leave the class knowing how to make your own web site.


Copyright: Laws and Implication in Spark! Spring 2009 (Mar. 07, 2009)
We often hear scare stories about kids who download songs from the Internet and then get sued for millions. Downloading music and other media is considered by many to be equivalent to stealing. But what is it that the kid steals when he downloads a song, and from whom does he steal it? We would like to think that it is the music itself, but the downloaded file just contains a bunch of numbers that the computer uses to make sound. And why is the fine so high? Surely, the song doesn't cost thousands of dollars, especially when a CD with a dozen of them costs just a few bucks. In this class, we will discuss the theory behind copyright laws, and what the court cases and battles that go into them are. We will also discuss some of the interesting implications of these laws (such as the fact that 80-year-old Mickey Mouse cartoons are still under copyright). (Note: This class will be a re-run of the Splash 2008 class. If you took that one, you probably will be bored).


Deviant Perl: Living up to a Reputation in Splash! 2008 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2008)
Perl is a programming language developed by a man named Larry Wall in 1987. Many consider it to be messy and complicated, with programs written in it being unreadable and difficult to maintain. Though the extent to which this is true is a matter of debate, Perl does have a variety of features that, at the very least, make it easier to write strange and cryptic code than in most languages. In this class, we will look at the "dark side of Perl". Using two very cryptic Perl programs, which, though looking completely different, somehow produce essentially the same output, we will investigate some of Perl's more interesting features. Perl's motto is "there's more than one way to do it" and this class will focus on some of the worst.


Copyright: Laws and Implications in Splash! 2008 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2008)
We often hear scare stories about kids who download songs from the Internet and then gets sued for millions. Downloading music and other media is considered by many to be equivalent to stealing. But what is it that the kid steals when he downloads a song, and from whom does he steal it? We would like to think that it is the music itself, but the downloaded file just contains a bunch of numbers that the computer uses to make sound. And why is the fine so high? Surely, the song doesn't cost thousands of dollars, especially when a CD with a dozen of them costs just a few bucks. In this class, we will discuss the theory behind copyright laws, and what the court cases and battles that go into them are. We will also discuss some of the interesting implications of these laws (such as the fact that 80-year-old Mickey Mouse cartoons are still under copyright).


What is a dimension? in Spark! Spring 2008 (Mar. 08, 2008)
We often hear about dimensions. There are 2D and 3D games, 3D movies, and a lot of talk about what is the 4th dimension. But what exactly *is* a dimension? What is the 4th dimension? In this class, we will attempt to define dimensions, and explore some of the interesting things you can do with them. Dimensions are actually a complicated topic, which are used in many levels of advanced mathematics. We will only look at the very basic ideas.