ESP Biography

ANDY TOCKMAN, MIT freshman studying math/CS/linguistics

Major: 18

College/Employer: MIT

Year of Graduation: 2023

Picture of Andy Tockman

Brief Biographical Sketch:

i like puzzles and stuff

Past Classes

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

M14093: Competition Math for Middle School in HSSP Summer 2020 (Jul. 11, 2020)
Ever wonder how many different rectangles can be formed by tracing the lines of a standard chessboard? Or the fastest way to find if a number is a perfect square and/or a perfect number? Are you interested in challenging math not typically taught in the standard classroom? Based on J.Batterson's book, Competition Math for Middle School, this class covers various types of problems seen in math competitions such as MATHCOUNTS and AMC contests. Despite the name, this class is for both middle school and high school students interested in taking a deeper dive into math. From Algebra to Counting to Probability to Number Theory to Geometry, we will go through the major topics found in national math competitions and many good, hard math problems.

X13387: Puzzles Within Puzzles: Crosswords with a Twist in Splash 2019 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2019)
Cryptic crosswords are a kind of puzzle where each clue has both a standard definition and a "wordplay", which hints at the answer in various puzzle-y ways. Here's a very simple example: "Circle back to reservoir (4)" clues POOL, because "loop" (circle) backwards is a reservoir. Come learn how to solve them, and then solve them! If you already have experience with cryptics, you may be bored.

X13388: Explosions on a Chessboard in Splash 2019 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2019)
Atomic chess is a chess variant where every time a capture occurs, all pieces (except pawns) in a 1-square radius explode. Come learn how to play it, and then play it! We'll spend most of the time playing games with each other, although we'll cover basic openings, tactics, and endgames for a few minutes first (there are a few things that can catch you off guard if you don't know them).

C13389: "Weird" Programming Languages, and Weird Programming Languages in Splash 2019 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2019)
If you've learned programming in the past year or so, chances are you know languages like Python, Java, or C. Even though they might look different, they all have essentially the same core philosophy. There's a lot more variety in programming languages than you might think! For part of class, we'll cover languages with various different paradigms than the ones you might be familiar with, such as functional languages, Lisps, APLs, and assembly languages. Then, we'll take a look at some truly "weird" languages, also known as esoteric programming languages, or esolangs. These are as varied as languages that only use 8 characters, two-dimensional languages, languages designed specifically to write code as short as possible, and much more.

M13390: Complex Analysis (and a theorem that seems too good to be true) in Splash 2019 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2019)
You may have heard of complex numbers before, but first we'll go over some history and how complex derivatives, integrals, and series work so that you can get a better understanding of them. Then, we'll talk about a theorem that makes complex integration seem ridiculously easy and makes you wonder if it can even be that simple. (We'll also see how you can apply it to evaluate real integrals that you probably wouldn't be able to compute otherwise.) We may take a brief excursion into the Mandelbrot set if there's time.

C13391: Code Golf: How to Write Bad Code in Splash 2019 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2019)
Tired of writing readable, efficient, well-commented code all the time? Try code golf! The goal is to solve a certain task in as few key"strokes" as possible, resulting in creative solutions where code that takes a thousand times as long is perfectly acceptable if it saves even a single character. We'll mostly be golfing solutions to a few problems in your language of choice, working together to try to get down to the shortest possible solution in each language. Computers will be provided.

L13392: Toki Pona: The Language of Good in Splash 2019 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2019)
Come learn toki pona, a constructed language with only 120 words! Complex ideas are expressed by combining basic concepts (for example, "alcohol" is "telo nasa", or "silly water"). Since there's only 120 words to know of, it's possibly the easiest language to learn! For part of class, I'll go over the word list and the (very minimal) grammar; then, we can either translate things into toki pona together or try to have conversations in it. (If you're not good at memorization, don't worry! Printed word lists will be provided.)